On Monday, the Canadian Lacrosse Association announced new regulations against fighting in the sport. The new rules will effectively ban fighting from all levels of lacrosse in Canada beginning with the 2013 season.
In previous years, box lacrosse would allow fighting in a manner similar to hockey. However, with the new rules in place, fighting will no longer be an acceptable part of the game.
The new CLA modifications on rule 45 for fighting appear below:
a) A major penalty and game misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player/goalkeeper who fights. A goalkeeper penalty shall be served by a player who was on the floor at the time of the infraction. The major penalty must be served in its duration.
b) If there is an instigator or clear aggressor in a fight, a major penalty and a game misconduct plus any other penalties shall be assessed to the offending player(s). Where an instigator or clear aggressor penalty is assessed the non-offending player shall not receive a game misconduct under 45 (a).
Fighting was removed by the CLA in an effort to increase safety for players, according to a press release from the organization.
“Fighting in the sport is an unnecessary risk — it is a dangerous activity for any athlete to be a part of. Incidents of concussions can increase with every fight that happens; it is becoming more apparent that a blow to the head area has the potential to cause severe and long-term injury.
“The health and safety of all participants in Canada’s national summer sport is amongst the leading concerns of the Canadian Lacrosse Association — changes to Rule 45 demonstrates our collective assertion that fighting in the game will not be tolerated and lends additional protection to our participants.”
Despite their drive to increase player safety, some groups are not too pleased with the rule change. In fact, the new rule has already been challenged by governors of the Western Lacrosse Association. The vote by the WLA governors came up unanimous in favor of challenging the ban on fighting.
One WLA governor, who wished to remain anonymous, said that one of their local leagues would be prepared to sidestep the new rule. However, the teams must abide by CLA regulations when competing at the national championships.
“I’m not happy for the fans, the players, and it’s not good for the game,” added the governor. “I’m very, very upset the CLA has gone down this road.”
Despite the WLA protest, it looks as though CLA players and fans will have to accept these changes and hope it provides exactly what the CLA is after – a safer sport.