After the 2020 season was cancelled because of the pandemic, hopes were high the Langley Thunder Senior A box lacrosse team would be back in action this year.
In February, the team laid the groundwork for a return to play at the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) draft, adding nine new players.
On Tuesday, the WLA and Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) in Ontario announced there will be no 2021 season and no Mann Cup.
Ken Buchan, president and governor of the Thunder, said it had to be done.
“While we are disappointed the season has been cancelled, we understand the health and safety of everyone comes first,” Buchan said.
“We look forward to building towards the 2022 season and playing the game we love.”
WLA commissioner Paul Dal Monte cited a number of factors in the decision to cancel, including statements by B.C.’s provincial health officer that it was unlikely restrictions on large indoor public gatherings will be lifted this summer; and the fact indoor adult sporting activities are currently limited to a maximum of two participants.
As well, Dal Monte referred to provincial guidelines against non-essential travel that would make it difficult for players to travel to their summer clubs, as well as a reduced number of BC Ferries sailings.
“While we know this is a huge disappointment for everyone involved in lacrosse — in particular, our players, coaches and dedicated fans — we are committed to doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and our primary responsibility is the health and safety of the competitors, volunteers and thousands of spectators who would contribute to the success of the Mann Cup,” said Dal Monte.
“This decision to cancel was not taken lightly and is a reflection of the gravity of situation the world, including the world of sports, currently faces.”
Shawn Williams, Lacrosse Canada President Shawn Williams called it a “difficult” decision.
Both leagues had had planned to delay the start of regular season play this year until the beginning of July.
Since the Mann Cup began in 1926, this will be just the second time the trophy has not been awarded to the best Senior A lacrosse club in Canada.
The Mann Cup series is held each September, with the WLA and MSL champions facing off in a best-of-seven competition.
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