The Game of Box Lacrosse

Lacrosse has long been referred to as the fastest game on two feet. The sport is characterized by intense action, strategy, finesse and power.  To make long looping passes at one end of the floor or field and short bullet like shots at the other end; to catch a pass over the shoulder while running at full stride; to hit the top corner at the net while in full flight; or to stop a shot aimed low through a maze of players requires a range of skills unsurpassed in any other sport.  The promotion of speed, stamina, sportsmanship and team play in lacrosse provides excellent cross training for other sports like hockey, basketball and soccer.  The wide open nature of the game makes it a very good spectator sport.

Box Lacrosse, which is similar to hockey and basketball, is the most common form of lacrosse played in Canada.  The game is played in a “box”, which is a hockey rink with the ice surface removed (usually a concrete floor).  Our home arenas in Surrey are Cloverdale Arena and North Surrey Recreation Centre.  Practices are held in outdoor boxes – in Surrey we use boxes in Cloverdale Athletic Park, Unwin Park (Newton), Royal Kwantlen Park (Whalley) and Holly Park (Guildford).

The game involves two competing teams of six players (five runners and a goaltender) each.  Despite the “look” of the players and the fact the game is divided into three periods, it is actually more similar to basketball than hockey in that all five runners are involved in both the offence and the defence, as opposed to hockey which has “forwards” and “defencemen”.  It is a full contact sport (except in younger ages) which involves speed and coordination.  As in basketball, a team has 30 seconds after it gains control of the ball to get a shot on goal; failure to do so results in a turnover of possession.  As in hockey, the intent is to score a goal into a net (smaller than hockey), line changes occur “on the fly” and many of the rules employed in hockey apply in lacrosse.  One notable difference is interference – if a defending player without the ball is interfered with by an attacking player, the play is stopped and possession of the ball goes to the defending team.  If an attacking player without the ball is interfered with by a defending player outside of the 24’ dashed line, the play is stopped and shot clock reset.

Modified rules in younger age categories include:  players rotated in 3 minute shifts; when the ball is turned over, the attacking team must clear the offensive zone; shootouts; 5-second possession rule; minimum number of passes attempted before shot on goal.

Equipment needed is similar to hockey (helmet, facemask, mouth guard, shoulder pads, gloves, athletic support & cup), with slash guards, kidney & back protectors, lacrosse stick, shorts and running shoes unique to the sport.  For more information on equipment, go to http://www.surreylacrosse.com/equipment.html.  Stores like SportChek and Canadian Tire carry a limited selection of lacrosse equipment.  Docksteader Sports (South Surrey), Ice Level Source for Sports (Richmond), Cyclone Taylor Sports (Surrey - Panorama), Levy's Source for Sports (Langley) and Mountain Edge Lacrosse (Port Coquitlam) carry a wider selection.  Surrey Lacrosse provides game uniforms & shorts, as well as goaltender equipment.

Box Lacrosse programs officially start in April and end in late June, with Provincial Championships in July or early August.  Players will have at least one game and one practice a week, with younger players generally scheduled earlier in the day and older players later in the evening.  Games and practices will be held throughout the week, with days and times varying on the schedule established by the Lower Mainland Minor Lacrosse Commission for minor divisions, and the BC Intermediate Lacrosse League, West Coast Junior Lacrosse League or West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association for senior divisions.

For more information on box lacrosse and in particular the Surrey Lacrosse Association, go to http://www.surreylacrosse.com

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