Vincent Macauley’s side will now be known as the London Lions, and be based at Crystal Palace for the 2012/13 season with the intention of permanently moving to the Olympic handball arena (the Copper Box) for the 2013/14 season.
“Lions chief executive Vince Macaulay said he was devastated by having to leave Milton Keynes after 15 years because he could not find a place for the club to play.
However, with a move to the stunning 6,000 capacity Copper Box – which has been the home of the Olympic handball competition – now confirmed, Lions can finally look forward to an optimistic future.
Lions’ days in Milton Keynes were seemingly numbered after the club was forced to leave Bletchley Leisure Centre, with the hope of one day playing in the arena next to stadium:mk.
Short spells playing at Middleton Hall and a converted warehouse in Winterhill only proved to be a temporary fix, and with the arena now no longer an option, and no other permanent base in the city available, Macaulay has been left with no other choice but to seek a home elsewhere.
With the Olympics still ongoing and the new BBL season just over six weeks away, Lions will not be able to move into the Copper Box until next year.
That move will come in time for the start of the 2013/14 BBL season, so in the meantime Lions will play their home games – the first against league champions Newcastle Eagles on September 23 – at the Crystal Palace National Indoor Arena in south London.”
The announcement means that London will now have two professional teams next season, after the East London Royals franchise was approved in June.
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