The Original National Lacrosse League (NLL) Retro Game (1974)

A big thank you to “GetBenched” on YouTube for the video, and following detailed description…

This is the 6th and final game of the 1974 NLL Championship Series, the Nations Cup Finals between the Griffins and the Wings! The Griffins would play a stellar defensive game and hold off the Wings to win Rochester’s first pro lacrosse championship. Unfortunately due to poor attendance, this would be the last Griffins game ever played. Gene Hart mentions multiple times during the broadcast that the attendance for the 3 games in Rochester put together couldn’t match any one finals game played in Philadelphia. A stark contrast to the 8-10,000 per game crowds that the Knighthawks have enjoyed for much of their history since returning to pro lax in the mid 90s.

For the Wings, they would continue to be the NLL’s standard bearer at the box office in 1975 averaging between 7-12,000 per game in spite of the league falling apart around them. This was a glorious time for indoor sports in Philadelphia as the Flyers were coming off their second straight Stanley Cup during the Broad Street Bullies era.To say the Wings benefited greatly from this is a massive understatement, considering the fact that Philadelphia didn’t have a rich lacrosse background previously.

While the Wings only played one more season, (as the league itself folded after the 1975 season.) this team still holds a special place in the hearts of Philadelphia sports fans which carried over to the current incarnations of the Wings.

On the field, it would be 15 years before the Wings would get this close to a championship again as they missed the playoffs in 1975 (the original NLL’s final season).

The revived Wings teams share no history with the original team other than former Wings’ star John Grant returning for the new Wings first season in 1987.

Things to watch for in this game:

The NLL played 3 periods rather than 4 quarters. This was done to further entice NHL fans in US cities to buy into the idea of the NLL was “the NHL for the summer”.

The Griffins’ home floor is concrete. Only the Wings played on “turf board”, (a wooden floor with artificial turf on top which is standard today) back then. In fact, there were a number of experimental surfaces used in the original NLL as I’ll cover in future videos.

Doug Favell (the Flyers’ backup goalie at the time) backed up Wayne Platt for the Wings in this game as well.

And last but not least, Gene Hart, the longtime voice of the Flyers is the play by play man for the Wings in this contest. (As he was throughout the 70s Wings history).

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this game in it’s entirety.



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