Due to the ongoing impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) in Ontario and the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) in British Columbia, in consultation with Lacrosse Canada, have made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel both their 2021 seasons and the Mann Cup national senior men’s box lacrosse championship. It’s the second consecutive year the pandemic has forced cancellation of both league play and the national championship.
Both leagues had high hopes for 2021 and had planned to delay the start of regular season play, which was to have kicked off at the beginning of July; revised schedules were drafted as the two commissioners planned the Mann Cup series, which was to be held in September in Ontario. Their focus was to ensure the greatest calibre of box lacrosse in the world would be played when it was safe for players, staff, volunteers and fans.
But MSL commissioner Doug Luey and WLA commissioner Paul Dal Monte, in consultation with Lacrosse Canada and while considering directions from government and public health authorities, have now concluded that it would not be possible or responsible to play lacrosse in this year.
According to MSL’s Luey, a number of factors went into the decision to cancel, including: • government restrictions on large gatherings such as sporting events and concerts; • government guidelines that call for limiting all non-essential travel; • and the serious 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,” said Luey. “This decision to cancel was not taken lightly and is a reflection of the gravity of situation the world, including the world of sports, currently faces.”
“Doug and I have been in regular contact over the past several months, and having to cancel the Mann Cup for a second consecutive year is very disappointing to both of us. However, it is undoubtedly the right decision, said WLA’s Dal Monte.
“The decision to cancel the Mann Cup this season was made with the support of the MSL and WLA,” said Shawn Williams, Lacrosse Canada President. “Lacrosse Canada has had to make the difficult decision to cancel most of our National Championships for a second year in a row. We encourage our lacrosse community to stay safe and focused on brighter days ahead.”
“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.
Since the modern era of the Mann Cup began in 1926, this will be just the second time the trophy will not be awarded to the best Senior A lacrosse club in Canada. The Mann Cup series is held each September, with the WLA and MSL champions facing off in a best-of-seven competition (for more Mann Cup information, see attached backgrounder).
In the most recent Mann Cup, in 2019, the Peterborough (Ont.) Lakers won the national title— their third straight — four games to one over the host Victoria Shamrocks in B.C.’s provincial capital.
-Major Series Lacrosse