By Kyle Bennett
We've been without the National Lacrosse League since March 12 when COVID-19 stalled and ultimately ended the season before a champion could be crowned. Wednesday afternoon gave us the answer to the burning question that everyone has been asking for. The National Lacrosse League's 35th season is on schedule to begin April 9-11 for Face-Off Weekend.
PLPA President and Calgary Roughnecks star Zach Currier feels confident in the plan that the league has in place for 2021.
"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,” said Currier, “it is reflective of what can be done with great communication and trust, and we cannot wait to get back to playing.”
Under the current plan, teams would report to individual training camps, where in the past we have seen joint camps based off regional locations. Training camps would be part virtual and part in-person, which was the case for the NFL (the most recent league to return to play under COVID-19 protocols) in mid-March and all teams returning to game action 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.
“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.”
We're getting closer to the medicine game making its return to the floor and that is something we can all be thankful for.