The National Lacrosse League (NLL) typically plays December through May. With their 2020 season truncated,the league recently released a statement about the 2021 season beginning the weekend of April 9th to 11th. The Alberta Series Lacrosse regular season schedule typically plays from April through July. Obviously, if all things go accordingly to plan, this will lead to an unprecedented amount of time that the two leagues run parallel to each other.
This led to a threesome of questions I sent off to Stu Sterparn (Sr B Beaumont Outlaws President), Jordan Wheaton (Edmonton Sr B Warriors General Manager) and Jordan Cornfield (St. Albert Sr B Miners GM) for their input.
With the NLL “scheduled” to start April 9th, how does this affect the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL)?
- Outlaws President: “I don’t think it has much effect on the league as a whole. Tons of great players in AB that don’t play in the NLL.”
- Warriors GM: “The NLL scheduled for April is still up in the air, but it could have an effect on professional players being in our league. Personally I am unsure what guidelines are set for professionals in regards to Canadian box.”
- Miners GM: “Typically in the past, we have had players missing for the beginnings of seasons due to their NLL commitments (examples John Lintz, Josh Sullivan, Ryan Dilks, Keegan Bal). The depth of our team has always been able to overcome these absences. The depth of our league will shine through.“
Then specifically, how does it affect your team?
- Outlaws President: “Our team will not be affected as we are a fully home grown roster. Our local players are finding success without buying any pros to help bolster our line-up.”
- Warriors GM: ‘If we look at our 2019 roster it does not effect us directly, but it may effect some players we are looking at coming back or bringing into our team with potentially more openings at the Sr A level in other provinces but it opens up more opportunities also for players who may not of made clubs to jump in and grow Alberta lacrosse.”
- Miners GM: “No different than before but now we are that much more excited about 2020 draft picks and upcoming 2021 draft.”
3) Then the even bigger question, how does it affect the Sr B National Championship Presidents Cup since unlike never before, the NLL could still be playing?
- Outlaws President: “The Presidents Cup is a national championship filled with the country’s best lacrosse players and it still will be. Teams will find ways to get the best players available on the floor. If anything this new NLL schedule takes away from the teams (all across Canada) with the big budgets as they won’t be able to stack up with imported talent. Should actually see better lacrosse games with more parity instead of the NY Yankees always in the World Series.”
- Warriors GM: “I think this is a question for only one team in Alberta Series Lacrosse but I would say it potentially brings in a even field for every team at the tournament. Most teams will consist on amateur players, with teams possibly adding former professionals.”
- Miners GM: “There is a significant possibility we could be missing a player or two if our respective players make it to the NLL finals. With The talent pool we have in Alberta, we will draw from that as much as we can. Senior A leagues could potentially face the loss of many players to the NLL forcing teams to allow players to drop down to Senior B. Our goal is to prepare as if we are going for a National Championship, we will do everything we can to compete once again for the title.”
Of course in these “Covid times”, schedules are more “hypothetical” than ever before. As of this writing, the NLL has not made any further statement about their April 9 start date. The RMLL Twitter account posted a link to a downloadable document that gives us this update (page four with more on page five not shown below):
Let’s all stay optimistic that come this spring we can all safely gather at the arena of our favourite RMLL team and watch some lacrosse.