BOSTON (April 18, 2018) - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) and the Atlanta Blaze announced today an agreement to sell ownership of the Blaze franchise to Andre Gudger, Founder and CEO of the technology investment company, Eccalon.
“We are thrilled to have an entrepreneur as accomplished as Andre as a new owner in MLL,” said Alexander Brown, MLL Commissioner. “He combines an extremely successful technology background with a passion for our sport and a genuine commitment to the Atlanta community that will only help to advance our league and the game of lacrosse.”
Prior to founding Eccalon, Gudger served under President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2017 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy and the Director of the Office of Small Business Programs.
Gudger was also Founder and CEO of Solvern Innovations, a cybersecurity firm that provided communication and technology services to the Department of Defense. He also previously worked with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Union Bank of Switzerland and AT&T.
Gudger credited his eldest daughter Jenesis for providing the impetus to becoming an active participant in the world of lacrosse.
“My motivation is simply based on the love that my daughter showed for the game. I wanted to get more involved so that I can help bring this sport to the world,” said Gudger, a graduate of the University of Maryland – Baltimore County and Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.
“Based on the conversations I have had with front office personnel and the coaching staff during the past few months, I am certain that the Blaze have all of the right guys in those key positions,” Gudger said. “They have put together one heck of a roster and we will continue to build on that. I have been proud of what I have witnessed at training camp and look forward to the 2018 season.”
The Blaze have played two seasons in MLL since Atlanta was granted an expansion team in August 2015. They have called Fifth Third Bank Stadium, on the campus of Kennesaw State University, their home stadium since the franchise’s inception. Atlanta went 4-10 in its inaugural season and followed that with a 6-8 record in 2017.
“This represents a defining moment in the history of the Atlanta Blaze. Passionate ownership is integral for a franchise to be successful and Andre is committed to making the Blaze an elite MLL team,” said Team President Jim Pfeifer. “We have discussed working in concert with the entire Atlanta community to provide opportunities to grow the game across a wider demographic sphere, and I could not be more excited.”