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COVID-19: For second year, MSL and WLA cancel box lacrosse seasons, Mann Cup championship

The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted both Major Series Lacrosse in Ontario and the Western Lacrosse Association in British Columbia to cancel their respective seasons for the second-straight year.

That also means the cancellation of the Mann Cup, the national senior men’s box lacrosse championship that pits the winners of both leagues in a best-of-seven championship. The championship began in 1926 and marks just the second time it has been cancelled after the cancellation in 2020.

Read more: National Lacrosse League scraps 2020-21 season, pivots to new season this fall

The announcement was jointly made by the leagues on Tuesday morning in consultation with Lacrosse Canada. MSL commissioner Doug Luey and WLA commissioner Paul Dal Monte said that based on directions from government and public health authorities, it was concluded that it would not be possible or responsible to play this year.

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Among the factors in the decision are current restrictions on large gatherings, limits on non-essential travel and the economic impacts on MSL’s many business partners whose support its member clubs rely on for operations.

“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 COVID19, 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,” Luey said.

“This decision to cancel was not taken lightly and is a reflection of the gravity of the situation the world, including the world of sports, currently faces.”

Dal Monte said having to cancel the Mann Cup for a second consecutive year is “very disappointing” for all involved.

“However, it is undoubtedly the right decision,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Peterborough Lakers’ lacrosse season cancelled for second straight year due to COVID-19 pandemic' Peterborough Lakers’ lacrosse season cancelled for second straight year due to COVID-19 pandemic
Peterborough Lakers’ lacrosse season cancelled for second straight year due to COVID-19 pandemic – May 18, 2021

Lacrosse Canada president Shawn Williams says it supports the decision by both leagues.

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“Lacrosse Canada has had to make the difficult decision to cancel most of our national championships for a second year in a row,” he said. “We encourage our lacrosse community to stay safe and focused on brighter days ahead.”

Both leagues noted plans were to start their respective seasons in July with plans for the Mann Cup championship to be held in September in Ontario.

“We look forward to welcoming back lacrosse fans to the 2022 Mann Cup, which will be hosted in the East by the MSL champions,” Luey said.

The Century 21 Peterborough Lakers won the most recent Mann Cup in 2019, beating the Victoria Shamrocks four games to one.

The MSL also has teams in Brampton, Brooklin, Cobourg, Oakville and Six Nations. The WLA also includes teams in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo and New Westminster.

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