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Islanders return to their home floor in hopes of a 2021 season

Tryout sessions underway at Ladner Leisure Centre
Kyle Goundrey
The Delta islanders are now back at the Ladner Leisure Centre for the first time since the 2019 season, preparing for what they are hoping will be some kind of schedule in 2021.

The Delta Islanders are back in the friendly confines of the Ladner Leisure Centre for the first time in nearly two years. Whether they get to see game action on their home floor in 2021 remains to be seen, however.

The BC Junior “A” Lacrosse League club took its pre-season preparation into the LLC for the first time on Monday as an extended tryout process is underway.

Typically, the Islanders would be just days away from their regular season opener, but the 2021 regular season schedule remains on hold under the current COVID-19 health restrictions, which allows for training only with no physical contact.

“We are going ahead with tryouts at a slower pace than previous years,” explained Islanders team president Matt Hoegg. “Dryland training (at the Holly Park turf field) was a big success with a good turnout in March. We want sticks in hands and to keep moving forward. Fingers are crossed that there will be a season of some kind. We will be ready if and when we’re given the word.”

The pandemic already cost the league its 2020 campaign and it will take the vaccine roll-out and potential better daily case numbers in the weeks ahead for clubs to be allowed to do more. The BCJALL should have a better idea of what a potential 2021 season would look like after next month’s Canadian Lacrosse Association board of directors meeting.

That’s when a decision on the various 2021 nationals, including the Minto Cup, is expected to be made. Should the championships be cancelled, it would at least allow the BCJALL to plan a potential regular season and playoffs that could be extended into late summer.

“The tone of our governors’ meetings has been to let’s find a way to play if we are at all allowed to,” added Hoegg. “This may mean a shortened season with local playoffs, potentially a cohort model or even a tournament.

“Our current model is set around a full 14-game season with playoffs and nationals, but we will be meeting in early May to adjust accordingly. Obviously, we are still at the mercy of the provincial health regulations, with the biggest issue being travel related.”