Toronto Rock: NLL sets the stage for other leagues to follow

Toronto Argonauts (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Toronto Argonauts (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Rock and the rest of the NLL are coming to terms with the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As with every professional sports team, the Toronto Rock have been wondering about the fate of their league due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They received some clarity on Wednesday, as the NLL confirmed they have cancelled the rest of the 2019-20 season.

No doubt this was a tough but arguably necessary step for the NLL to take, and it will be interesting to see if this will set the stage for other leagues such as the NHL and NBA to follow suit. As per, Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said:

"“With three weekends left in the regular season and the uncertainty about resumption during that time, we decided it is in the best interests of our players, coaches, staff, partners and fans to remove any uncertainty. Our goal is to find the best, and safest, solution for resumption of play, but what that looks like, and when that occurs, cannot be determined today.”"

Sakiewicz went on to say the primary focus is the long-term health of everyone involved in lacrosse from both a personal and a business standpoint, which is quite right. After this however, NLL fans can be forgiven for wondering if and when the playoffs for this season will happen?

Assuming the playoffs do take place — and understandably everyone connected with the sport remains hopeful — the Rock will theoretically be one of the eight teams to qualify, based on the current format. Further, they would hold the precious fourth seed by virtue of having the best winning percentage of the three second-place teams in their respective divisions.

The Rock had tallied a 7-4 record when the NLL first made the decision to suspend the season last month. Based on games played, they were ranked eighth out of the 13 teams in scoring per contest and fifth in average goals allowed.

The Rock’s top scorer at the time of the suspension was Rob Hellyer with 56 points (32 goals and 24 assists), to tie for 11th-best in the league. Hellyer led the team in scoring in 2017-18 and has been with them since he was selected 30th overall in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft.

Nick Rose has been Rock — no pun intended — in goal for the team, ranking second in the NLL in save percentage and third in goals against average among all regular starters. Rose has been in Toronto since 2012, when he was acquired in a trade with the Calgary Roughnecks.

Rock fans can only hope both players get the opportunity to continue their excellent respective seasons in the playoffs. Hellyer was a little-used rookie with the team last lifted the Champions Cup in 2011, while Rose has never won the NLL’s top prize.

In this respect, we will leave the final word to PLPA President Peter Schmitz. As per, Schmitz said:

"“We recognize the challenges that are presented with the unpredictability of the circumstances in which we find ourselves and will consider all options as presented by Nick and the NLL Leadership. We remain positive and optimistic for a return to the floor in the appropriate time-frame.”"

Next. Leafs are no sure bet on home ice. dark

Do you agree of disagree with the decision to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 NLL regular season, and why? Do you believe the Toronto Rock will get an opportunity to see playoff action this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.