The National Lacrosse League has announced its 35th season will begin the weekend of April 9 through 11 next year. The NLL has been working with health authorities and local city jurisdictions to develop plans that will ensure the safety of players and fans at games. A schedule for the season will be unveiled at a later date. Earlier this year, the league shut down on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“An April start date will give us sufficient time to have our protocols in place for players, coaches, staff as well as fans,” NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said in a statement. “We understand that current circumstances will dictate whether this plan is achievable, and we will be prepared to remain flexible and pivot as needed.”
The current plan will have teams reporting to individual training camps in the middle of March. Some activities will be virtual and some will be in person. With teams in both the United States and Canada, the league is factoring in each city’s restrictions for immigration and other facility use. Despite shutting down in March, the league added a new team in Fort Worth, Texas, that brought the NLL’s total team count to 14. That team, which will unveil its name, logo and colors on Nov. 17, will begin play in November 2021 at Dickies Arena, a venue that opened less than a year ago.
Founded in 1986, the NLL is the country’s largest professional lacrosse league and ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports, trailing behind the NBA and NHL. The average NLL fan is younger than 46 and almost 60 percent of its fan base comes from a non-lacrosse fanbase. Every NLL game is available on Turner Sports’ Bleacher Report Live.
“We look forward to working together on behalf of all the players in our membership to get our 35th season underway,” said Zach Currier, president of the Professional Lacrosse Players Association, in a statement. “It is reflective of what can be done with great communication and trust, and we cannot wait to get back to playing.”