Saskatchewan Rush fans might have to wait a little longer than expected before they can cheer on the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) reigning champions.
On Tuesday, a letter from NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz to Professional Lacrosse Players Association (PLPA) president Peter Schmitz threatened to cancel games in the first two weeks of the season unless the PLPA accepts a previous offer from Oct. 31 by Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern standard time.
“Unfortunately, Wednesday, Nov. 14 is the last possible date that we can make the necessary arrangements to fly players in for training camps, make hotel reservations, arrange for doctors to conduct physicals and thereby hold training camps and formulate rosters necessary to commence the season,” Sakieweicz said in his letter to Scmitz.
That would cancel any games prior to Dec. 15, putting Saskatchewan’s Dec. 8 home game against the Colorado Mammoth in doubt.
Representatives from the league and player’s association have been exchanging offers in recent weeks to get players to training camps before the season started.
The last meeting between the two sides was on Nov. 7, when the PLPA rejected the league’s proposal and instead offered a one-year bridge deal to get a season under way. The counteroffer was rejected.
Bridgette Pottle, excecutive director for the Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association (SLA), isn’t worried about the implications of an extended delay.
“They’re our big brothers,” she said. “At this point, we just hope that everybody can come to an agreement they’re happy with and we can enjoy another tremendous lacrosse season.”
The organization benefits from 50/50 raffles at each game, promotions throughout the season and added exposure as upwards of 15,000 fans attend each game.
Pottle declined to comment on financial benefits the SLA receives from Rush games, but said the whole sport suffers when its greatest players aren’t playing.
“It impacts the sport regardless of where you are,” Pottle said. “The Rush have put on a great show, and it just gives exposure to the sport in general.”