Sask. Rush season is over; NLL cancels playoffs

The Saskatchewan Rush season is officially over.

The National Lacrosse League announced Thursday it has decided not to complete the 2019-20 season, and instead will focus its attention to the next season.

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The regular season was suspended on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was declared completed on April 6, after which time a decision on playoffs was expected. There had been talk of holding a season-ending tournament in a hub location. 

Now, it has been decided there will be no playoffs at all, as the NLL becomes the latest league that will have no completion of the season due to COVID-19. The announcement was made during the month when the league would normally have held its championship series.

“After an exhaustive effort weighing all of the factors, including the health and safety of our players and staff, immigration challenges, and the resources required to execute a post-season tournament under the current circumstances, our senior leadership and Board have agreed to redirect our attention to planning for next season,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz in a statement.

“We want to thank all those involved, especially our players, coaches, and league and team staff, and most importantly our fans and partners, for their continued support and engagement through this global pandemic. Communities are starting to open up, sports are beginning to return, and we look forward to our 35th season. We wish everyone continued health and safety as we navigate our way back to the game.”

“We appreciate all the work that Nick and the team at the NLL have put in during these challenging times, and wholeheartedly support this decision,” said Peter Schmitz, President, Professional Lacrosse Players’ Association (PLPA).

“The health and safety of our players is always paramount. The league office has kept us apprised of the efforts to try and find a reasonable solution and that the continued uncertainty of the many considerations needed to restart the season have made it virtually impossible to chart a course to a season finale. We regret that the players, fans and clubs won’t get to enjoy what was sure to be an exciting playoff series but in light of the current state of affairs, we agree a focus on next years’ season is the best use of the downtime. We are all are looking forward to resumption of play next season."

The season cancellation is an especially bitter pill for the Rush, who were in first place in the West division when the season was suspended with a record of 7-3.  

In a post on their Twitter feed the Rush stated: "We'll see you next season #RushNation. Thank you for being the best fans in the @NLL." 

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