The commissioner of the Western Lacrosse Association says he’s troubled at the thought his league could lose its 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Paul Dal Monte said the league’s executive and governors are doing everything they can to ensure that doesn’t happen, even as the uncertainty about when restrictions on public gatherings could be lifted continues.
At the very least, the coming season – which has already been postponed from its scheduled May 21 start – is unlikely to look like any other normal campaign.
Dal Monte said the league has a contingency to play a schedule as short as 12 games. But any decision on how to proceed relies on continuing direction from health authorities, as well as the Canadian Lacrosse Association.
Dal Monte added he’s also in regular communication with his counterpart at Major Series Lacrosse in Ontario, which is supposed to be hosting the Mann Cup national championship in September.
“We stay on top of things,” Dal Monte said. “We understand the pain points and challenges.”
One of those pain points is the financial viability of the league and its seven teams, including the Coquitlam Adanacs, Burnaby Lakers and New Westminster Salmonbellies.
Dal Monte said the niche nature of lacrosse means teams rely on sponsors and partnerships rather than gate receipts to cover expenses, and with so many businesses suffering because of the pandemic, those dollars may be hard to come by this summer.
“At this stage, it creates a significant obstacle for us and many of our teams,” he said, adding without the certainty of a schedule, it’s difficult for teams to even begin having a conversation with potential sponsors.
Dal Monte conceded some teams might have a hard time operating.
Any final call on how to proceed with a season could be held off as late as June 1, Dal Monte said. Then they will have to make a decision one way or the other.
Meanwhile, the president of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League said a recent pronouncement by British Columbia’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, suggesting large gatherings of people may not be allowed through the summer in an effort to quash transmission of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 puts his league’s ability to hold a season “at risk.”