National Lacrosse League cancels remainder of season due to COVID-19

Nick Sakiewicz, commissioner of the National Lacrosse League, in 2018. (Aly Thomson/CP)

The National Lacrosse League has cancelled the remainder of the regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however it is still examining ways for post-season games to be played.

Play was suspended on March 12 with six of the league’s 22 weeks yet to be played and the regular season originally scheduled to end the week of April 20. All teams were scheduled to play 18 games but no teams played more than 14 before the season was suspended.

“With three weekends left in the regular season and the uncertainty about resumption during that time, we decided it is in the best interests of our players, coaches, staff, partners and fans to remove any uncertainty. Our goal is to find the best, and safest, solution for resumption of play, but what that looks like, and when that occurs, cannot be determined today,” NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said in a statement. “Our primary focus is the long term health of all involved in the sport of lacrosse from a personal and a business standpoint, and we are consulting with our board, medical and municipal authorities, as well as leadership in other organizations across sports and entertainment, to determine when we will be able to effectively move forward.

“Whenever that is, we have plans in place that continue to evolve, and we will be ready to restart the process correctly and effectively.”

The NLL expanded from 11 to 13 teams this season and announced a new playoff format last September. The new format would have seen eight teams make the playoffs, including the top two teams in each division plus two wild cards.

“We continue to be in regular contact with the NLL and support their recent decision to halt the regular season, while continuing to figure out what a next step looks like,” Professional Lacrosse Players’ Association president Peter Schmitz said in a statement. “Our primary focus remains the health and safety of our members and their input will be the deciding factor.

“We recognize the challenges that are presented with the unpredictability of the circumstances in which we find ourselves and will consider all options as presented by Nick and the NLL Leadership. We remain positive and optimistic for a return to the floor in the appropriate timeframe.”

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