Nationals Lacrosse Team Kicks off Inaugural Season

Eric RosenhekContributor IMay 15, 2009

6 Jul 2001:  Gary Gait #1 and Casey Powell #22 of the Long Island Lizards are on the field during the Major League Lacrosse game against the Boston Cannons at Cawley Field in Hudson, Massachusetts.  The Lizards defeated the Cannons 11-10.Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw  /Allsport

The Toronto Nationals will begin their first ever Major League Lacrosse season tonight when they face the Washington Bayhawks in Annapolis, Maryland.

Formerly the Rochester Rattlers, the Nationals are technically the defending MLL champions after beating the Denver Outlaws in last year's final.

This will mark the first time the MLL will expand outside its U.S. boarders. Toronto appears to be the ideal location for expansion, given the success the city has had with the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League. However, it will be interesting to see if the Nationals will be able to successfully compete for attention in a city saturated with many professional teams and sporting events. 

Led by head coach Dave Huntley, the Nationals feature a roster that includes Colin Doyle, the 2005 NLL MVP and former member of the Rock, and Gary Gait (pictured above, wearing No. 1), viewed by many as the greatest lacrosse player of all time.

The Nationals' home opener will take place on May 22 at BMO Field against the Chicago Machine. Game time is 7:30pm.