Aspen Lacrosse Club cancels spring season, calls off annual Shootout
The list of canceled sporting events due to the new coronavirus keeps growing, with the Aspen Lacrosse Club among the latest to get shut down. With social-distancing measures and a limit on group gatherings still in place, the club recently announced it was calling off the remainder of its spring season.
The high school lacrosse season, also held in the spring, was officially canceled Tuesday as well by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
“The last thing we really wanted to do was admit we were here, because the kids are excited. The parents are excited. This was what everybody was looking forward to, and it sort of felt final to make that decision,” said Meredith Elwell, the club’s co-director alongside Graham McMahon. “That doesn’t mean we are not playing lacrosse until the fall or next spring. We will be prepared to offer opportunities as soon as we are allowed to take the field. Our work is far from done.”
The spring is the busiest season for the Aspen Lacrosse Club, which averages about 250 athletes across the various age groups and was supposed to have gotten underway April 1. The highlight each year is the Aspen Shootout, held in May at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. That tournament is the club’s lone significant fundraising event and its cancellation won’t make things easy for the nonprofit.
From an operational standpoint, Elwell said the tournament breaks even, although the club does generate a good bit of revenue through various sponsorships.
“People were ready to play and ready to go,” McMahon said. “We spend a good amount of time and money trying to get the season off the ground, because a lot of our work is done on the front end to get the season going. The money is definitely an issue. We are exploring other options, too, with some local businesses in the valley to maybe fundraise outside of the Aspen Shootout.”
As Elwell mentioned, the club is keeping its options open for summer play. June and July typically are quiet months for the club, which also has a rapidly growing fall season. But, with COVID-19 wreaking havoc, it continues to be a wait-and-see approach to getting back on the field.
“We determined that it just wouldn’t be our spring season. We really couldn’t pull together what it would take to provide a spring season,” Elwell said. “So we moved forward with the decision. Let’s close a chapter on 2020 spring and get creative and stay focused on a different look and feel for lacrosse as soon as the doors are ready to be open to the fields.”
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There hasn’t been a high school lacrosse season since 2019 after the spring 2020 season was canceled following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly two years in the making, the Skiers opened the 2021 season on Wednesday with an 8-6 loss at Eagle Valley, playing without five starters.