Lacrosse Editorial – Paul Rabil Retires

With the announcement of the retirement of player, and co-founder of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Paul Rabil, I thought this week I would look back at his career playing the Creator’s game.

College:

Attending John’s Hopkins University, Rabil played for the Blue Jays, winning the 2005 & 2007 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships.  Paul was also a third team All-American in 2005, and a first team All-American 2006-2008.  Rabil played in 62 games, scoring 112 goals with 67 assists during his college career.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL):

Drafted first overall by the Boston Cannons, Rabil had a stellar career winning two MLL Steinfield Cup championships during his career.  In 2011, Rabil was named the MLL MVP and MLL Offensive Player of the Year for the second time.  By 2014 Paul was named to his seventh consecutive All-Star team, and Sixth consecutive First All-Pro team.

National Lacrosse League (NLL):

While Paul was making a name for himself in the MLL in the summer months, he was also making a big splash in the NLL during the winter.  Drafted second overall in the 2008 entry draft, Paul was part of the Washington Stealth team that won the Champions Cup in 2010, scoring two big goals in that game helping to secure the victory over the Toronto Rock.

In 2012 after being traded to Edmonton Rabil refused to report, sitting out the rest of the season.  Next he was moved to Rochester before the next season, and did not report to their training camp either. Paul was packaged in a deal with the Philadelphia Wings which brought the Dawson brothers to Rochester, indirectly helping the Knighthawks winning championships the next three years consecutively. 

Playing one more year in Philadelphia, Rabil concentrated solely on field lacrosse after the 2013 season.

Premier Lacrosse League (PLL):

Paul Rabil and his brother Mike, founded the PLL with investors which included The Chernin Group, The Raine Group, and Joe Tsai (Owner of the San Diego Seals of the NLL, Brooklyn Nets of the NBA, Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL, and co-founder and executive vice chair of Alibaba).

The PLL Blueprint:

The league, not having home towns, travelled each week to a different city, giving fans a chance to see all their favorite players in the same place over a single weekend.  Being able to see Tom Schreiber, Lyle Thompson, Jeff Teat, Blaze Riordan, Randy Staats, Trevor Baptiste, as well as Rabil himself, etc., all in the same place over the same weekend was a definite marketing plus.

Rabil, who also has his own line of lacrosse equipment, was one of the few lacrosse players able to make a full time living from the sport.  He campaigned for higher wages, stock options, and health benefits for players to try and make the game their full-time jobs as well.

When the PLL launched in 2019, the average player salary was $35,000 ($27,000 more than the average in the MLL the previous year), as well as year round health benefits, and stock options.

The league’s inaugural season debuted June 1, 2019. 

The MLL/PLL Merger:

 Initial terms of the merger were released on the morning of December 16, 2020. Major League Lacrosse (MLL) and PLL agreed to unite under the “Premier Lacrosse League” name and logo, operating as a tour-based model with no home cities.  The PLL did agree to put more MLL cities on its tour schedule during the 2021 season, helping soften the blow to fans in former MLL cities.

The future for Paul Rabil:

Despite retiring as a player, the PLL said in a statement that Rabil will continue to build the league as one of its co-founders.

Paul will also be working on a number of lacrosse-related initiatives, including Goals for Greatness, where he is looking to resource lacrosse goals in all 50 states, beginning in 2022, and recurring each year thereafter. He is additionally planning to support an effort to see lacrosse included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Although we won’t be watching his moves on the field anymore, we will be watching his moves in boardrooms, helping to grow the game for players and fans alike for years to come.

Good luck in all your future endeavors, Paul!

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