The Hawks play in the O.L.A., and are governed by Canadian Lacrosse Association Box rules, as well as any additional rules added by The O.L.A.
This is a brief guide to the basic rules of the game, and so it obviously is neither complete nor definitive. It will help players and parents with a basic sense of what is happening on the floor. Although lacrosse bears some similarity to hockey, the flow of the game really has more in common with basketball. The timing system resembles that of a basketball game, and the entire team will play full offense or defense depending on ball possession. Essentially there are neither forwards nor defensemen. A convenient parallel with hockey is used to describe the positions. A goalie is still a goalie. The other 5 players on the floor are referred to as left crease (like left wing), point (center), right crease (right wing), and left and right shooters (defense).
There are no off-sides or icing, so the pace of the game is very fast.
There are usually very few face-offs, actually called a “draw” in lacrosse. When one team commits an offense, the other team is awarded possession. E.g. when a ball is shot/passed out of bounds, penalties. There is always a draw at the beginning of each period and after a goal is scored. All draws are taken at the middle of the floor. Draws are taken with the player’s right shoulder facing their own goal. The ball must come out of the small two-foot circle before any of the players may cross the restraining lines. The drawmen trapping the ball with their stick or players crossing the restraining lines too early will cause a Ref whistle and possession will be awarded to the non-offending team.
Checking is a critical part of the game, but penalties for improper checking from behind and violent checks into the boards will be strictly enforced. Cross checking is both legal and appropriate in lacrosse provided it is delivered properly. An illegal cross-check is defined as checking below the waist, above the shoulders or on the back. The opponent must be on their feet and penalties will be called for charging and hitting violently against the boards.
High sticking is an area of confusion for many players and parents. Incidental contact with the helmet by an opposing player’s stick does not automatically warrant a penalty. This is a discretionary call by the Referee. If a player is seen to duck into a defender’s cross-check, properly delivered, it does not warrant a penalty, no matter how severe that check is. A player with the ball cannot push-off a defender with his free arm or hand, or else possession is awarded to the opposing team. A defending player may check the ball carrier at any time but can only check non-ball carriers inside the dotted line of their own end. A player on offence may not check back; you must take the checks delivered to you without responding, or else possession is given up.
If opposing players are competing for a loose ball they must play the ball and not check each other until one of them has possession. Failure to do so will cause possession to be awarded to the non-offending player.
Basically speaking, offensive players must stay out of the crease area around the nets. Any part of the offensive players body crossing the crease lines, results in a loss of possession. There are some exceptions. For example, if the offensive player has shot at the net and released the ball, and his forward momentum carries him into the crease area, it is okay unless in doing so, he interferes with the goalie. Your coach can explain further exceptions. Goaltenders may not maintain possession of the ball for longer than 5 seconds while in their crease. They can go anywhere on the floor, but once they are out of the crease with the ball; they may not step back in until they pass it. The goalie may not receive a pass back into their crease. Lacrosse goaltenders often spend considerable time outside the crease taking and delivering passes, and helping to maintain possession during line changes.
Fighting in the game of box lacrosse is virtually unheard of; however, when it does arise, the penalties to the player and team are very severe. Suspensions are automatic, and when there are repeat offenders, Coach's can also be suspended, for failure to deal with the issue. Needless to say, we hope to never see this in Minor Lacrosse, but Coach's need to remind players to keep their emotions under control, especially after receiving violent checks, legal or otherwise.