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Why Lawler Basketball Matters

Nicholas Bonazoli

Staff Writer

During Merrimack’s transition from a Division 2 school to a Division 1, Lawler has respectfully made a home for Merrimack’s talented basketball team. This year the Warriors have made the top seed for basketball in the Northeast Conference as well as being a well-deserved household name for fans of college basketball. Over the past couple of years, the Merrimack Basketball team has been transitioning from Hammel Court to Lawler has been the most unique and exciting transition as fan service and a colorful experience. 

Lawler opened in 1972 with recent renovations being completed in 2012. Lawler was home to both the Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams and was the most unique hockey venue due to being the smallest rink in Hockey East and having the most comfortable seating sections in college sports. Even when near Boston with major Division 1 schools nearby like UMass Lowell and Boston College, Lawler can attract those who love college hockey. On November 19, 2021, Merrimack Basketball played its first game in Lawler against Lehigh beating them 55-45.

Recently, with Merrimack’s stunning victory in the NEC Championship game, Merrimack has become a topic of discussion for the NCAA’s transition-suspension rule where they can not compete in non-conference playoff games. While Merrimack beat Fairleigh Dickinson 67-66, the Merrimack Warriors had what it takes to become a March Madness team but unfortunately, FDU automatically advanced into the playoffs. While garnering national attention on ESPN winning the NEC, Merrimack’s Lawler arena looked as eye-grabbing on television as it does in person. For the foreseeable future, Merrimack still has the tools and the recognition to be a fantastic team and make a March Madness appearance as well. 

For the sake of Lawler, it has upgraded from just an ice hockey rink to a full-on fan experience as the jumbotron projects fantastic imagery of references to popular media and Merrimack culture. The blue and yellow lights shine bright in the darkness and the music gives people goosebumps when watching a game. Not many small Division 1 schools typically receive this treatment of a welcoming and thrilling environment as Lawler brings to the table. Recently, with many athletic accomplishments and nationwide recognition, Basketball in Lawler should receive as much attention as Hockey should in terms of fan service and a fun and unique place to play for basketball and rival teams to come in the future.

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