The fastest game on two feet is about to get faster thanks to the adoption of several rule changes for 2022 in the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) and four other leagues across the country.
The rule changes were driven by a desire to align the way the game is played across five elite Canadian box lacrosse leagues for the purpose of enhancing speed, scoring and excitement for fans while ensuring consistency for players and officials.
The five leagues that will implement the changes in 2022 are: B.C.’s WLA and BC Junior A Lacrosse League; Ontario’s Major Series Lacrosse and Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League; and Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Junior A Lacrosse League.
A panel comprised of current players, coaches, general managers, officials and commissioners of those leagues approved the changes. Among those panel members are: WLA and NLL coach Rob Williams; MSL and NLL coach and GM — and Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee — Paul Day; WLA and NLL player Curtis Dickson; and MSL and NLL player Cody Jamieson.
Among the nine rule changes are:
• 8-second count: When a team gains possession in the defensive half of the floor, they must advance the ball across centre within eight (8) seconds of gaining possession.
• Face-offs & restraining lines: In addition to revised face-off procedures, the leagues are implementing wider positioning between the two player restraining lines that will now align with the hockey bluelines.
• Sudden death during regular season OT: During the regular season, if the game is tied at the end of regulation, the first team to score during overtime wins.
In addition, the leagues will have increased enforcement on two existing rules covering off-ball slashing and illegal picks.
“All these changes will speed up the play of our game and increase scoring, which will boost entertainment for our fans,” said Paul Dal Monte, commissioner of the WLA. “In addition, they’ll provide for consistency for everyone involved in the top levels of box lacrosse across the country.
“We’re thankful for the thoughtful input of players, coaches and GMs who made this happen,” he added.