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Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League cancels season

Armstrong Shamrocks and Vernon Tigers join Kelowna and Kamloops in unanimous decision

Another North Okanagan sports loop has cancelled its season before getting started due to COVID-19.

The four-team Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League announced Tuesday, April 28, it would not play in 2020.

It was a unanimous decision among the Armstrong Shamrocks, Vernon Tigers, Kelowna Raiders and Kamloops Rattlers.

“All four cities have unknown floor time available with hockey season always just around the corner,” said Tigers’ player representative Brennan Plante about the possibility of starting the season later in summer. “The ice is always an issue. Typically there is a lack of player and volunteer commitment in the summer months, as well as a drop in fan support as we compete with Okanagan summer activities.

“Even if we had a shortened season, it would most likely not be financially feasible.”

The Tigers returned to the fold in 2019 after a six-year absence.

The Shamrocks are the five-time defending league playoff champions, and this will mark the first time since 1994 that the team won’t take the floor.

”We are obviously disappointed as our club is a tight-knit group that enjoys spending time together on and off the floor but we understand teamwork and this is a global fight against the COVID virus and we as a lacrosse community are a part of the global community and will do our part,” said Ryan Nitchie of the Shamrocks.

“We will look at options for a lacrosse event, if we are permitted, later in the year as we are fortunate to have the dry floor facility at the Hassen Arena.”

The five-team Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League expects a decision on its season will be made in a day or two, according to league commissioner Jeff Hanley.

The league played 2019 with three teams – Vernon Sun Valley Source For Sports Tigers, Kamloops Venom and the playoff champion South Okanagan Flames of Penticton – and added the expansion Kelowna Kodiaks and reborn Armstrong Shamrocks for 2020.

READ MORE: Five straight for Armstrong Shamrocks

READ MORE: Armstrong, Vernon renew boxla rivalry

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The Armstrong Shamrocks (light jersey) beat the Kelowna Raiders in last year’s Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League playoff finale for their fifth straight championship. The Irish will not get a chance at a six-peat as the league has cancelled its 2020 season. (Morning Star - file photo)

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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