Originally conceived by hockey owners as a means to fill their arenas in the summer months, the league was not very successful, with only Philadelphia and Montreal drawing sizeable crowds. The league folded in 1976 after the demise of several franchises and the inability of the Montreal franchise to play home games in 1976 because of the Summer Olympics.
Like the modern NLL, the league was dominated by Canadian players—approximately 60% of the league's players were from Canada.
Besides featuring NHL players such as Rick Dudley (Rochester) and Doug Favell (Philadelphia), the league also included Bruce Arena (Montreal)—who went on to greater fame as a United States soccer coach.
The type of play during this short-early lived era of the NLL was a faster paced game, played more like an NHL style as opposed to the basketball style of the current league. Equipment differences include no face guards and wooden sticks. The 1976 season was cancelled due to three of the six teams going bankrupt and the Montreal team having to go two months without a home game because the 1976 Olympics would be using the Montreal Forum for boxing. After the 1975 season, there would not be another professional lacrosse league in North America until the birth of the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League in January 1987.