NLL Cancels 2021 Season Plans Citing 'Logistical Challenges'

PHOTO BY BILL WIPPERT / NLL


Randall Williams of Sportico reports that the National Lacrosse League will not move forward with its plan to start the 2021 season in April. Instead, the league will shift its focus to the fall, a time when the league would normally be gearing up for a new season.

Pro Lacrosse Talk’s Hutton Jackson tweeted Tuesday evening that he heard the NLL would cancel its season.

Logistical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic factored into the decision. Per Williams:

“On Friday the Canadian government released heightened COVID-19 restrictions. The rules included having all international flights being required to land at four specific Canadian airports. Travelers entering the country by air must present a negative COVID-19 test within three days of arrival and self-isolate at a government-sponsored hotel.

“The announcement disappointed Nick Sakiewicz, the NLL commissioner, though he wasn’t surprised.”

The NLL reportedly considered a bubble season, but that presented yet another laundry list of challenges.

No date has been announced for the start of the next NLL season.







Update

The NLL issued an official press release announcing the cancellation of the abbreviated 2021 season and its renewed focus on a traditional 2021-22 season. The press release appears below.

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced that plans for an abbreviated season this spring have been cancelled due to uncertainties arising from the ongoing Pandemic. The league, with the full support of the NLL Board of Governors, will now move to start 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,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “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.”

“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,” said Zach Currier, PLPA President.

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. Additionally, exciting franchise announcements are coming very soon, as well as other initiatives that were being planned for the shortened 2021 season.

Details will be coming as they are finalized.

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