PLL provides hope for Williams’ lacrosse season

Above, Zeddie Williams (28) celebrates with Georgia Swarm teammates after a goal against the Buffalo Bandits in 2019 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. Photo by Sara Schmidle, courtesy of the Georgia Swarm.

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, there is no telling exactly when things will return to normal. With the health and safety of individuals of paramount concern, many professional sports leagues were forced to pause their seasons and are scrambling for options on how to return. Though a return for many leagues seems gloomy, for leagues yet to start playing, the chance to eventually start the year at a later date is much more hopeful.

Silver Creek High School alum and lacrosse legend Zeddie Williams finds himself in the unique situation of being a part of two leagues, the National Lacrosse League and Premier Lacrosse League, one in each situation.

On April 8, the NLL announced that it had cancelled the remainder of its regular season, but still left the possibility of the playoffs being played.

Williams currently is a member of the Georgia Swarm in the NLL, and was once again showing great improvement after being selected by the Swarm fourth overall in 2017. Williams was on pace for a career high in goals, scoring 18 through 12 games for 1.5 goals per game, while last year he scored 22 goals in 18 games at a 1.22 goals per game pace. In typical Williams fashion, this season was obviously not about the personal success and accolades, but rather about the prospects of his team’s success and how that has been put in jeopardy.

“It was tough as a competitor,” Williams said about having the season stopped. “I felt we were really in the mix this year. We lost quite a few one goal games and had a really good team.”

The Swarm saw its regular season end with a record of 7-5 and in a playoff spot, but as time goes on with no progress being made toward the potential return, players have begun losing hope that it will happen at all.

If the NLL does potentially cancel the playoffs too, many players will have to wait until next year to get back in action. That however, is not the case for Williams who plays both box and field lacrosse.

Unlike long established professional sports in North America, professional lacrosse has several leagues with different variations. The big three are the NLL, the PLL, and Major League Lacrosse and Williams has been a part of each league. The NLL separates itself by being completely different as box lacrosse, opposed to the traditional field lacrosse, while the PLL and MLL are in direct competition as field lacrosse leagues. Williams, this past year, was a member of the Boston Cannons in the MLL, but this year has joined the new league on the block, the PLL.

Entering what will be its second season, the PLL is unique in its operation by the fact there are no connections to any particular city, rather the seven team league travels to 12 different major market cities.

Williams has joined the Whipsnakes, who are the reigning league champions. He is quite hopeful that the league will get to play on its opening weekend July 25.

“The PLL is like a tour,” Williams said. “The league usually travels to designated spots, but this year they are going to play in one location that hasn’t been determined yet. The games will be streamed and be on the NBC sports networks.”

Williams said that a couple of the locations in mind are Massachusetts or Utah, but nothing is set in stone. The unique nature of the PLL overcomes the obstacle of needing to cater to specific communities, thus giving them the opportunity to go play anywhere possible under the current COVID-19 restrictions. The league announced on its Twitter page in a video that it will be playing in the Championship Series this summer in a medically safe, completely quarantined tournament that will feel like the World Cup.

So while established leagues like the NLL, NHL and NBA provide little hope of a return, the PLL gives a glimmer of hope that sports will be played and Silver Creek’s Zeddie Williams will be a part of it on one of the best teams.


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