SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The National Lacrosse League and its local affiliate the San Diego Seals announced Wednesday that the league is canceling plans for an abbreviated season this spring due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will instead aim for a fall start.
"We have gone through many scenarios -- but the logistical challenges, including the recently announced tighter travel and quarantine restrictions across the Canadian border have required us to pivot," NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said. "We have decided to focus on playing a full season in our markets, starting in the fall of this year. While many of the factors we can control were moving along well, those outside of our control, especially pertaining to obtaining government approval as far in advance as we would have needed, are no longer feasible.
"All the efforts and innovations we were planning will now go towards a full season starting this fall and into next year. We thank our players, teams and board of governors, whose thoughts in this process were invaluable, and we now set our sights on getting lined up for a full NLL season starting in the fall. We also thank our fans for sticking with us -- we will be back, and it will be even more exciting than ever before," Sakiewicz said.
The 2020 lacrosse season was suspended March 12 before being canceled April 6. In June, the league announced it would not make up the 2019-2020 season and was focusing on an April 2021 start.
"Ongoing pandemic-related challenges have further delayed a return to play," Seals President Steve Govett said. "The Seals organization -- from top to bottom -- is disappointed that our season ticket members, fans and partners will have to wait until the fall to see the team take the field again. Our commitment to the San Diego community has only grown, and we're eager to return to playing games and entertaining our fans. Seals fans, we will be back."
While the exact start date of a full season will be announced at a later date, which will include the debut of Panther City Lacrosse Club in Fort Worth, Texas, the NLL is planning to start in the fall playing a complete season into the spring of 2022.
"We appreciate the league's extensive efforts to provide us the opportunity to play an abbreviated 2021 season in a safe and controlled environment throughout the changing landscape during this pandemic," said Zach Currier, Professional Lacrosse Players' Association president. "While we are disappointed that it will not be possible to play this spring, we are even more excited and passionate about having a full 2021-22 season and are eager to get back on the floor this fall."
The San Diego Seals concluded their second season in 2020 with a 6-6 record, winning five of their last six games. The team was led by forward Wesley Berg, who finished with 58 points -- 19 goals, 39 assists -- and forward Zack Greer, who finished with a team-high 21 goals.
The Seals play in Pechanga Arena in the Midway District.