Langley Thunder fans won’t get a chance to see newly-acquired star goalie Frank Scigliano in action this year, the result of a Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) decision to cancel the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with it, the Mann Cup national lacrosse championship .
The cancellation was announced Tuesday, May 19th by both the WLA in B.C. and Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) in Ontario, who issued a statement saying the leagues have “made the difficult and disappointing decision” to cancel both their seasons and the Mann cup.
Initially, both leagues planned to delay the beginning of their 2020 regular season play, which was to have kicked off in late May; revised schedules were drafted as the two league commissioners worked towards the planning of the Mann Cup series, which was to be held in September in Ontario.
However, WLA commissioner Paul Dal Monte said they have come to see it “would not be possible or responsible to play box lacrosse in 2020.’
Dal Monte cited statements by B.C.’s provincial health officer that a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people would be unlikely to be lifted this summer, and provincial guidelines about eliminating all non-essential travel that would make it difficult for players to travel, and reduced BC Ferries sailings that would have impaired teams’ abilities to travel between the mainland and Vancouver Island.
MSL’s Doug Luey said “as disappointing as it is, cancelling the 2020 Mann Cup, without question, is the absolute correct decision.
“We look forward to welcoming back lacrosse fans to the 2021 Mann Cup, which will be hosted in the East by the MSL champions,” Luey added.
It marks the first time the championship has been cancelled since the modern era of the Mann Cup began in 1926.
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In February, the Langley team announced they had drafted Scigliano, the league’s reigning top goalie in a series of trades in advance of the 2020 season.
Scigliano was named WLA Goalie of the Year, while playing with the Maple Ridge Burrards.
The five-year vet (who also played for England at the 2019 World Lacrosse Indoor World Championship at Langley Events Centre) posted career-best stats this past summer with a 5.16 goals against average and an .883 save percentage in 13 games.
The Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) is an amateur league of seven men’s Senior A box lacrosse sanctioned by the Canadian Lacrosse Association.
Each year, the playoff teams battle for the right to compete against the Major Series Lacrosse champion (Ontario) for the Mann Cup every September.
The championship is hosted alternately between Ontario (MSL) and British Columbia (WLA) every year.