2021 Mann Cup National Championship Cancelled

by Gary Ahuja

Lacrosse Canada announced today that a decision has been made to cancel the 2021 Mann Cup National Championship, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This decision was made in consultation with the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) in Ontario and the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) in British Columbia. With directions from government and public health authorities, Lacrosse Canada, the MSL and the WLA confirmed the cancellation of the 2021 Mann Cup.

This news follows Lacrosse Canada’s decision two weeks ago to cancel nine of its National Championships.

The Mann Cup annually brings together the MSL and WLA senior A champions to compete for the championship title.

“The decision to cancel the Mann Cup this season was made with the support of the MSL and WLA,” said Shawn Williams, Lacrosse Canada President. “Lacrosse Canada has had to make the difficult decision to cancel most of our National Championships for a second year in a row. We encourage our lacrosse community to stay safe and focused on brighter days ahead.”

“While we know this is a huge disappointment for everyone involved in lacrosse — in particular, our players, coaches and dedicated fans — we are committed to doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and our primary responsibility is the health and safety of the competitors, volunteers and thousands of spectators who would contribute to the success of the Mann Cup,” said Paul Dal Monte, WLA commissioner. “This decision to cancel was not taken lightly and is a reflection of the gravity of situation the world, including the world of sports, currently faces.”

“We look forward to welcoming back lacrosse fans to the 2022 Mann Cup, which will be hosted in the East by the MSL champions,” said Doug Luey, MSL commissioner.

Lacrosse Canada would like to clarify that this decision is not a cancellation of the lacrosse season in Canada. With return-to-play or return-to-activity at different stages across the country, Lacrosse Canada’s member associations will decide the 2021 lacrosse opportunities based on provincial and health authority guidance.

Lacrosse Canada encourages everyone to continue following the health and safety guidelines in their provinces or territories.

The Mann Cup

• The Mann Cup, emblematic of Canadian lacrosse supremacy for more than a century, was donated by railroad tycoon Sir Donald Mann in 1910 as a challenge trophy for senior men’s field lacrosse.

• In 1925, the New Westminster Salmonbellies turned the trophy over to the Canadian Lacrosse Association (now Lacrosse Canada), which instituted the current national playoff system.

• In 1932, the Mann Cup changed from a field lacrosse championship to a box lacrosse championship. The first box lacrosse Mann Cup was played at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in October 1932, when the Mimico (Ont.) Mountaineers defeated the Winnipeg Argos two games to none in a best-of-three series.

• The original trophy is made of solid gold and is valued at approximately $177,000.

• The original trophy was awarded until 1985, when it was permanently retired to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in New Westminster. The first replica trophy was awarded from 1985 until 2004, when the replica was destroyed in a “bonfire mishap.” A second replica trophy has been awarded since 2005.

• The New Westminster Salmonbellies hold the record for most Mann Cup titles with 21. The Peterborough Lakers (previously known as the Peterborough Trailermen) hold the record for consecutive titles with four (1951-1954).

• Throughout its history, the Mann Cup has been:

- a one-game final from 1910 through 1926, and in 1973 and 1974;

- a best-of-three series from 1927 through ’32, and in 1975;

- a best-of-five from 1933 through ’49;

- and a best-of-seven from 1950 through 1972, and again from 1976 to the current day.

• Excluding the one-game finals, the Mann Cup has gone its maximum length only 17 times and its winners have swept their opponents 32 times.

• The Mann Cup was not played five times in the Challenge Cup era: in 1915, 1921 and 1924 due to no challenger; and in 1916 and ’17 because World War I was ongoing. Until 2020, the Mann Cup had been played without interruption from 1925 to 2019.

• Although teams from outside B.C. and Ontario have occasionally played in the Mann Cup, only teams from those two provinces have ever won the trophy; Ontario teams have won 59 titles and B.C. clubs 52.

• The most recent Mann Cup, in 2019, was hosted in Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, as the Victoria Shamrocks took on the Peterborough Lakers — the 11th time the two clubs have battled for the Mann Cup. Peterborough won the series 4-1, giving them the all-time edge with six titles to the Shamrocks’ five.

The Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) is an amateur league of men’s Senior A box lacrosse sanctioned by Lacrosse Canada. The WLA consists of seven teams, based in cities throughout southwestern British Columbia. Each year, the playoff teams battle for the right to compete against the Major Series Lacrosse champion (Ontario) for the Mann Cup every September. The championship is hosted alternately between Ontario (MSL) and British Columbia (WLA) every year.