Although lacrosse is very complimentary to hockey it really is more similar to basketball. The main similarities and differences are as follows:
- Like basketball and unlike hockey to some degree the game of lacrosse involves a full team offence. There are no defensemen in lacrosse!
- The 5 offensive players are referred to as left crease (like left wing in hockey), left comer (like left . defense), right crease (right wing), right comer (right defense) and point (centre).
- Like basketball, there is no offside nor icing! This keeps the pace of the game moving very quickly! There are rules, regulations and features that are unique to lacrosse and most of these are used in our House League. Many other rules are the same as in hockey.
- The minimum length of the lacrosse stick is 36″ up to Bantam and 42″_ thereafter. When one team offends, and no penalty is called, the other team is awarded possession; i.e.. if a player shoots or bounces the ball into the stands the other team is given possession, and a whistle signifies the start of play
- There is always a face-off after a goal (a goal is counted if the ball goes directly into the net off the goalie’s helmet or face mask). After a penalty, or when the ball strikes the goalie in the helmet area, there will be change of possession only, and not a face off.
- There will be a maximum of 3 goals per player per game.
- Checking from behind will be dealt with severely as it is one of the leading potential injury factors. Penalty shots can be called in extreme cases. Checking is an important part of the game but checking from behind and violent checks into the boards will be strictly enforced. Remember it is a “Judgment” call by the referee and is enforced differently at Rep levels.
- High sticking is another area of confusion for parents! “Incidental” contact with the helmet by an opposing player’s stick is not automatically a penalty! It is again a referee’s judgment call. Also, if a player ducks into a player’s cross. check, no matter how severe that check is, it is not a penalty unless it is from behind! Remember crosschecking in Lacrosse is both legal and a very important and proper method of checking! Again. the only way to enforce high-sticking is the referee’s judgment. There is no other way.
- Players, or goalies out of their crease, will be penalized if they catch the ball in the hand. If they just contact it with the hand it is possession to the other team.
- Face-offs are taken with the open face of the stick facing your own net. The ball must come out of the 2′ small face-off circle before other players can enter the larger circle. An offence against this does not cause another face-off as in hockey, it results in .immediate possession to the other team.
- A player with the ball cannot push off with his free hand or arm! If he does, possession is awarded to the other team. This rule is very misunderstood by new parents. Remember as well, you can check an offensive player, whether he has the ball or not! However, checking of an offensive player is restricted to the area within the dotted crease, and if you are on the offensive team you cannot check back, you must take the checking without responding! Any response or checking by any member of the team who has possession will result in loss of possession. Many times spectators will not notice freehand or arm pushing (by the way, as long as the player with the ball keeps both’ hands on his stick he can usually push, or shoulder or resist his checker) and often will miss the checking by offensive players especially action away from the ball.
- The ball can be kicked but not for a goal. Also if the ball is stuck in a stick the referee will free it and play shall continue.
- When a team is shorthanded, they have 10 seconds to get the ball over centre and once over cannot go back, or change of possession occurs. When a player is awarded possession by the ref. he must be given at least 9 feet of room by the defending player until the whistle signifies restarting of play.
- If 2 players are going after a “loose’ ball they must play the ball and not check the other player until he has possession. This again is a very common occurrence in House League which causes many possession calls. Neither new players nor parents adapt to this rule very quickly!
- Another big difference between hockey and Lacrosse involves the goalie’s crease. If you go into the other team’s crease to shoot or cut through it, you loose possession. This again is very common in House League, If you go through the other team’s crease to make a check or you touch the goalie while he is in his crease it results in a penalty. If you are pushed into the crease you are OK but you must make every effort to get out ASAP
When defending your own net you can only pass the ball back to your own crease area once during each possession. Your goalie or player has 5 seconds to get the ball out of the crease after stopping and gaining control of it; he must have both feet out to be considered out and once out, he or any other player, cannot go back in or through! You can pass to the goalie as much as you want if he is out of the crease. The goalie in Lacrosse can function just like any other player (remember, there is no centre red line for off side purposes and a goalie can go anywhere on the floor).