Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) in Ontario and the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) in B.C. have both cancelled their 2020 seasons due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Both lacrosse leagues made the joint announcement on Tuesday afternoon. As a result of the leagues’ season being cancelled, the Mann Cup national championship, which pits the league winners against each other, has also been cancelled.
Since the modern era of the Mann Cup began in 1926, this will be the first time the trophy will not be awarded to the best senior A lacrosse club in Canada.
Box lacrosse play was expected to kick off later this month. The leagues say revised schedules were drafted with hopes of the Mann Cup championship being played in Ontario in September.
However, MSL commissioner Doug Luey and WLA commissioner Paul Dal Monte, in consultation with the Canadian Lacrosse Association and government and health authorities, concluded it would “not be possible or responsible” to play their box lacrosse seasons in 2020.
“As disappointing as it is cancelling the 2020 Mann Cup, without question, it is the absolute correct decision,” stated Luey.
Added Dal Monte: “While we know this is a huge disappointment for everyone involved in lacrosse — in particular, all of the players, coaches and fans — our primary responsibility is the health and safety of the competitors, volunteers and thousands of fans who will attend and contribute to the success of the Mann Cup.
“This unprecedented cancellation reflects the gravity of situation the world currently faces.”
Luey says factors that went into the MSL’s decision to cancel the season included restrictions on large gatherings, government guidelines for limiting all non-essential travel and the economic impacts on the league’s many business partners who support the league’s teams.
“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 said.
In 2019, the Peterborough Lakers won the Mann Cup — their third straight — four games to one over the Victoria Shamrocks in B.C.’s capital.