Any hopes of playing out the remainder to the 2020 Arena Lacrosse League season disappeared when league president Paul St. John made the difficult decision to cancel.
Late last season, with playoffs right around the corner, St. John officially suspended the season due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the plan was to continue where they left off in the fall. Now, officials announced they were officially pulling the plug on finishing off the 2020 campaign.
“It’s been a long seven and a half months since we shut down the season in March,” St. John said in a statement posted to the ALL website. “We had so much optimism that with only a couple weeks left in the regular season and two weekends of playoffs that COVID-19 would have subsided and we could have returned to finish the year. As we all know that has just not happened and with a second wave currently hitting record numbers here in Ontario, we don’t know when full contact leagues like the ALL and other sports can return to play.”
St. John emphasized how the health and safety of the players, coaches, staff, officials, volunteers and fans are most important. The Six Nations Snipers got off to a rough start as they lost their first six games before successfully turning things around with five straight wins which had them tied for fourth spot with the defending ALL men’s champions, St. Catharines Shockwave.
“They held out hope al long as they could to finish up and have a champion,” Six Nations Snipers coach Darcy Powless said. “We as a team and community are disappointed. We were on a good run and moving up quickly in the standings and rankings.”
Powless, went on to add, “We were set for a showdown with number one Steelhawks when the season was cancelled. That was going to be a great game to see.”
The focus is now on the 2021 season as the league is keeping tabs on the recommendations of the Ontario Government and Municipalities on their Return To Play policies.
“Without clearance from the Ontario Government and its Municipalities that it is safe to resume full contact sports, we will also have to delay the start of the 2021 season,” St. John said. “Once we have clearance to Return to Play, we will update our players, officials and our great group of volunteers when we can play a season that is safe to everyone involved, hopefully that will be sometime in the new year but we just don’t know when.”
For now, all the players, management and fans can do is wait until they get the necessary green light to begin. Meanwhile, over in the women’s Division, the Lady Snipers and Lady Shockwave found themselves tied for first place with a 6-2 record when play was stopped in March.