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COVID-19 puts Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Junior season in limbo

"We all love lacrosse and want to get back into it but making sure everybody is safe and following the guidelines is more important right now."
20180721Rockyview Silvertips vs. Calgary Chill059
The 2020 lacrosse season is in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. File Photo

COCHRANE— The 2020 Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League has been thrown into question due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which affects several Cochrane and area teams, including the junior 'B' Rockyview Silvertips and the Rockyview Tier 2 junior B Rage.

Both teams were in the process of setting their rosters, having already played an exhibition game, and were looking forward to the start of the season which was originally set to start in early April.

Rage head coach Kent Proctor said he's hoping there will still be a season taking place but is prepared for complete cancellation.

"With each week it's looking less, and less likely that a season will happen," Proctor said. "There are six governing bodies that are going to decide whether or not we're going to have a season. It starts with the federal government of Canada, then provincial and municipal government ... then we have the Canadian Lacrosse Association, which funnels down to the Alberta Lacrosse Association that then gets down to the RMLL [Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League], which we're apart of."

"So there are six organizations that will ultimately decide our fate. I'd like to go on the record and state that I'm being really positive and I hope things can get back to normal as soon as possible and I don't want too many more people to become ill. We don't want any more fatalities or anything like that and if things start to trend in the right direction, then maybe we'll have some lacrosse this season. Our league has set a deadline for the beginning of June, so if we can't rent facilities by early June, then our season will be officially cancelled."

Silvertips head coach Derrick Henry is of the same mindset as Proctor— Hopeful, but not expecting a season to materialize.

"I think right now, Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre isn't opening until at least June. The Canadian Lacrosse Association has suspended all lacrosse nationwide until mid-May as of right now," Henry said. "With the way things are trending, I'm not sure when exactly we might start the season."

While both coaches remain hopeful, they are in agreement with the season getting postponed due to the pandemic.

"It's an obvious yes for sure," Proctor said about the postponement. "The season had to be postponed and we can't even get into facilities anyways. I would like to still endorse people to try and get outside to get some sunshine and fresh air. But in terms of lacrosse, there really is no choice. We have to do the right thing, there's nothing we can do about it and we just have to make the best of the situation."

It is a frustrating reality especially for fifth-year players, Henry said, however, the health and safety of everybody are more important.

As of now, Henry said he has not learned off a cut-off time for when the season will be officially cancelled. He added that there have been discussions of a shortened season where teams would only play within their division.

Salvaging the season, he said, will come down to when and if facilities open in time for the teams to hit the field.

Both coaches said they're keeping in contact with their players during this time, giving them some tips and tricks for individual workouts that they can use to stay prepared if the season does in fact return by summer.

"We all love lacrosse and want to get back into it but making sure everybody is safe and following the guidelines is more important right now," Henry said.




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