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Junior C lacrosse season scrapped due to COVID-19 concerns

The Ontario Junior ‘C’ Lacrosse League has announced that there will be no 2020 season, meaning the region’s team, the Cornwall Celtics, won’t see any action this year.

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In the April 17 statement, the OJCLL wrote, the league “is saddened to announce the cancellation of the 2020 junior ‘C’ lacrosse season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The OJCLL held an online meeting featuring representatives from the league’s 17 teams, with the focus on the “safety of players, staff, officials, and fans, as well as arena availability.”

League commissioner Reg Holinshead noted, “The physical nature of lacrosse, along with the reality of locker rooms, showers, buses, and even spectator seating, made it impossible for us to envision a way that we could responsibly begin play anytime soon. Arena availability was also a concern, with two clubs unable to take the floor until at least August 1, and many others without homes until July at the earliest. This was a really tough decision for our league because, like our players and fans, we would love to be in arenas thinking about goals, saves, and hits – not sick relatives, social distancing, and economic uncertainty. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t realistic, and we needed to put the health of our players, staff, officials, and fans first.”

Players aged 17-21 participate in the junior ‘C’ lacrosse league which was slated to open its 13th season April 24 in Oakville. The OJCLL features 17 teams from Ontario and Quebec, with newcomers Orangeville and Six Nations slated to begin play this year.

“The lacrosse community has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have players who have lost family members to this awful disease, fans who are out of work, and sponsors that have closed their doors. It’s a terrible situation, and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected. On behalf of all 17 of our teams, I want to wish everyone involved with the league good health and safety as we navigate through these troubling times,” Holinshead added.

The OJCLL, which is “the stepping stone for Canada’s game,” plans to continue working “closely with the Ontario and Canadian Lacrosse Associations regarding the 2021 season and the impact of this year’s cancellation on players.”

Locally, Celtics general manager Vicky Tait broke the news to her players and team supporters: “It is with great regret that I share this news. I’m sure our Celtic community will be deeply saddened but also understand the importance and necessity of our league decision.”

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