Colorado Mammoth open season Saturday against expansion San Diego

The Colorado Mammoth open the 2018-2019 season at Pepsi Center for their 17th season in the NLL against the expansion San Diego Seals on Saturday. The Mammoth will kick off the new season with a donation drive for the local organization “A Precious Child” in the form of their second-annual teddy bear toss.

Fans will get the opportunity to get into the season of giving, tossing their teddy bears (received at the game) onto the turf after the first Mammoth goal of the second quarter. The Mammoth are hoping to donate 4,000 bears to A Precious Child; a local organization that assists children and families facing difficult life challenges such as abuse and neglect, crisis situations and poverty.

The Mammoth will open their season with four straight home games spanning from Saturday to January 20th. The rare string of straight home games is due to the CBA delay in the off season that cancelled the first two games of the year which were later re-scheduled to set up the four straight home games for Colorado.

The ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ is just one of the several theme nights the Mammoth hold for their fans. Fans can expect a ‘game celebration’ night on January 6th to celebrate the growth of Lacrosse in Colorado, 80’s Rock Night on January 12th, Kids’ day out on January 20th and an indoor beach party on February 16th.

The Mammoth will also continue some traditional theme nights from previous years that highlight the 2018-2019 schedule that include “Colorado Night” on March 9th, where the Mammoth wear unique Colorado themed jerseys. Military Appreciation night on March 23rd, honor the area’s unsung heroes, and Lacrosse Out Cancer night where thousands of dollars are raised to fight the deadly disease.

Colorado looks to bring back a championship to Denver. It’s been a 12 years since their last championship appearance, losing in the division semi-final in seven of the last eight years. Under the guidance of head coach Pat Coyle — who also now serves as interim general manager after Dan Carey left the position — Colorado will need strong goal-tending to win this year.

Last season, Mammoth MVP and starting goalie Dillon Ward had the third-best save percentage in the league among starting goaltenders (0.781%), while besting his own single-season franchise record for saves in a season (645) and allowing the second-fewest goals against in the NLL (11 goals against per game).

Colorado’s 21-man active roster for 2018-2019 features standout scorer Ryan Benesch, fan-favorite Jeremy Noble, transition player of the year last season Joey Cupido and rookie midfielder Julian Garritano.

Colorado also hopes to continue their stellar penalty kill from last year after Robert Hope led the Mammoth defense to the best penalty killing record (55.4%) in the league.

New playoff format:

New for the NLL season, eight of the eleven teams will now earn a playoff berth after a re-structure to accommodate the new expansion franchises, balancing out the playoffs. The East and West Division winners will be seeded No. 1 within their respective divisions and play the No. 4 seed, while the No 2. and No. 3 seeds play each other in the first round. The highest seed hosts round 1. A one game series between the winners of Round 1, hosted by the highest remaining seed.

NLL Finals: East vs. West Division winners face-off in a best of three series. The highest remaining seed will host games one and three, if necessary, then a champion is crowned.

Pepsi Center doors open early at 5:30pm on Saturday and to celebrate their 2018-19 opening night, the Mammoth invite fans to enjoy happy hour prices on concessions, which will apply at select concession stands on first, club and third level from 5:30-6:30 pm.

2018-2019 season for the NLL also welcome two expansion franchises in Philadelphia and the Mammoth’s competition on Saturday, the San Diego Seals. Game time at Pepsi Center is set for 7pm.