The NLL announced today that plans for an abbreviated season this spring have been cancelled due to uncertainties arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The league will now focus on planning a traditional season in the fall of this year.
“We have gone through many scenarios, including playing a bubble season in Canada in April, but the logistical challenges, including the recently announced tighter travel and quarantine restrictions across the Canadian border have required us to pivot. We have decided to focus on playing a full season in our markets, starting in the fall of this year,” NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said.
“While many of the factors we can control were moving along well, those outside of our control, especially pertaining to obtaining government approval as far in advance as we would have needed, are no longer feasible. All the efforts and innovations we were planning will now go towards a full season starting this fall and into next year. We thank our players, teams and Board of Governors, whose thoughts in this process were invaluable, and we now set our sights on getting lined up for a full NLL season starting in the fall. We also thank our fans for sticking with us – we will be back, and it will be even more exciting than ever before.”
The news follows Lacrosse Playground editor-in-chief Hutton Jackson’s report that the NLL wasn’t able to get full approval for a planned quarantine tournament.
The league was planning an abbreviated tournament at the First Ontario Center. However, due to the Canadian government’s heightened COVID-19 restrictions and the league featuring players traveling from both the United States and Canada, the border regulations and quarantine protocols proved to be too difficult.
“We appreciate the league’s extensive efforts to provide us the opportunity to play an abbreviated 2021 season in a safe and controlled environment throughout the changing landscape during this pandemic. While we are disappointed that it will not be possible to play this spring, we are even more excited and passionate about having a full 2021-22 season and are eager to get back on the floor this fall,” PLPA President and Calgary Roughnecks transition player Zach Currier said.
While the exact start date of a full season will be announced at a later date, which will include the debut of Panther City Lacrosse Club in Fort Worth, the NLL is planning to start in the fall playing a complete season into the spring of 2022. The league also stated that franchise announcements are coming soon, which means an announcement regarding the 15th NLL franchise, which is rumored to be based in Las Vegas, will likely be announced in the coming months.