The Western Lacrosse Association has announced a schedule for the coming year, beginning the action in late June.
The season has been shortened from 18 to 12 games for 2021, and that is probably a best-case scenario, said Maple Ridge Burrards GM Lance Andre. Under existing provincial health orders that ban all adult sports, the schedule could not go ahead, he acknowledges.
The itinerary would see teams play 12 games in five weeks in a condensed schedule, followed by playoffs in August. Plans are being reviewed on an ongoing basis in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and nation-wide vaccine rollout, the WLA and its Ontario counterpart, Major Series Lacrosse (MSL), are tentatively planning to hold the 2021 Mann Cup national championship in Ontario starting Sept. 10.
“It keeps us relevant, and it’s something to look forward to,” said Andre of the schedule, which was released Wednesday. “A lot of people have been looking, and they want to see lacrosse.”
The Burrards players are eager to get back in the game too.
“Guys are phoning and asking what’s happening. They want to get going,” said Andre.
The Burrards are scheduled to open the season on Vancouver Island on June 15 against the Nanaimo Timbermen.
Their home opener is scheduled for June 29 when they would host the Timbermen at Cam Neely Arena.
A complete version of the schedule is available at wlalacrosse.com
There are still many questions to be answered, such as whether there would be fans allowed, and even whether they will be able to play games, Andre acknowledged.
“This is our Plan A, and we do have a Plan B and C,” he said.
Each team will be dealing with roster issues. For example, Burrards all-world sniper Ben McIntosh lives in Philadelphia, and will likely be out due to travel restrictions. Similarly, the availability of players based in eastern Canada remains to be seen.
“The health and safety of all participants in the B.C. lacrosse community is of the utmost importance to the WLA and we will be carefully following all applicable public health orders and best practices as we move toward the 2021 season,” said WLA commissioner Paul Dal Monte.
The season would open June 23 at the Langley Events Centre with the Thunder hosting the visiting Coquitlam Adanacs. That game – the first WLA regular season tilt since July 27, 2019 – will begin an almost uninterrupted 39 days of Senior A box lacrosse.
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