The Major Series Lacrosse season being cancelled for the second straight year was certainly “very disappointing news” for the Cobourg Kodiaks, general manager John Webb acknowledged.
Webb, speaking on the May 19 Total Sports Northumberland podcast, added the Kodiaks “do support and respect the decision that was made” by Lacrosse Canada, MSL and the Western Lacrosse Association to cancel the 2021 season and the Mann Cup championship. “We really look forward to returning in 2022 when it’s safe to play again.”
There would have been numerous challenges for the Kodiaks to operate this summer if a MSL season had gone ahead. For instance, the Cobourg Community Centre bowl arena – the home of the Kodiaks – is currently a COVID-19 vaccination centre.
“The CCC did communicate with me very early on that they were going to become a vaccination centre so I was able to reach out to neighbouring arenas however none of them were really taking any bookings so it was really hard to plan on a season with regards to not knowing if you were able to even rent an arena,” Webb said.
In addition, teams in MSL like the Kodiaks rely on community support from fans and businesses to operate. At this point, no fans would have been allowed to attend.
“I think we’ve built a really loyal fan base in Cobourg and I think people know what to expect when they attend Kodiaks games now,” Webb said. “Our team is only getting stronger and next summer we are going to be a very strong, competitive team. We work very closely with Northumberland Minor Lacrosse and have built a great foundation with those young players as well as Quinte BayHawks minor lacrosse. We’ve really built a foundation for the next generation of lacrosse players that come locally and in turn it’s created a lot of loyal fans.”
On the business side, Webb said the Kodiaks recognize how challenging the past year has been for small businesses.
“We’re going to work really hard to give them their money’s worth in sponsorship for the 2022 season,” he remarked.
Webb welcomes anyone who hasn’t attended MSL games before to do so when the league returns to action.
“Major Series Lacrosse is the highest level of amateur lacrosse in the world and even though it’s classified as amateur, it’s all professional lacrosse players,” Webb said. “These are the best lacrosse players in the world coming to play in your local rink in Cobourg every summer. We say it’s like if the NHL players got to go play hockey in the summer and went to their hometowns and played hockey all summer and fans get to watch the highest level of professional athletes right in their own Cobourg Community Centre.”