The National Lacrosse League today announced that the league is targeting to start their 35th season the weekend of April 9 to 11 in 2021. The focus of the league and NLL teams is to work with health authorities and local jurisdictions to develop health and safety protocols for the players and fans at their games. A detailed schedule will follow at an appropriate time.
“We have been continuously working with our teams, Players’ Association, arenas, and health and government officials to prepare to play our 35th season. An April start date will give us sufficient time to have our protocols in place for players, coaches, staff as well as fans,” NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said.
“We are working with all teams to provide the safest environment and an acceptable level of fans in the stands. We understand that current circumstances will dictate whether this plan is achievable, and we will be prepared to remain flexible and pivot as needed. We want to thank all our players, fans and partners who have supported our efforts to stay connected and engaged during this prolonged offseason and are looking forward to returning to play in April.”
Under the current plan, teams would report to individual training camps – some virtual and some in-person – under strict guidelines in mid-March, with all teams beginning game play in April. The league is in the process of continuing to build out several scenarios which factor in current and longer-term restrictions in municipalities in both the United States and Canada with regard to immigration and facility use. The NLL’s plans will remain fluid with options for best case scenarios for teams, officials, players, fans and coaches as April approaches.
When asked by NLL host Devan Kaney about potential conflicts with the professional field lacrosse leagues, Sakiewicz reassured fans that the league is committed to minimizing as much conflicts as possible.
“We’ll do our best to devise a schedule that minimizes conflict… I’ve spoken to Paul Rabil, the founder of the PLL and Sandy Brown, the commissioner of the MLL… we are committed to being collaborative and cooperative with all the stakeholders in lacrosse.”
“The NLL has put together an excellent plan for our upcoming 35th season. We look forward to working together on behalf of all the players in our membership to get our 35th season underway,” Zach Currier, President, PLPA, said. “It is reflective of what can be done with great communication and trust, and we cannot wait to get back to playing.”