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US Lacrosse Announces Approved Rules for Box Lacrosse

SPARKS, Md. (October 17, 2017) — US Lacrosse today announced a new set of standardized rules to govern indoor box lacrosse for both men and women at all levels of play from ages 6U and above. These approved rules, which are effective immediately, are the result of a collaborative effort during which time US Lacrosse gathered input from many other national and international box lacrosse organizations and stakeholders.

US Lacrosse insurance coverage for members now extends to participation in box lacrosse played under rule sets approved by US Lacrosse. Leagues, players, coaches, and officials are covered by this member insurance at no additional charge. Box lacrosse leagues may contact their US Lacrosse regional manager for additional details.

“The development of US Lacrosse rules for domestic box play is a natural extension of our organization’s evolving and increased commitment to the indoor game,” said Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of US Lacrosse. “In recent years, we’ve increased our commitment to our U.S. Indoor Team, advocated for the value of small-sided play through our Lacrosse Athlete Development Model, and forged stronger relationships with a number of regional and national box lacrosse organizations. Delivering a set of rules intended to standardize box play on a national scale, with corresponding member insurance coverage, is a logical expansion of our member value proposition.”

US Lacrosse engaged multiple partners in the development of the new rules. A task force was established to survey existing organizations that promote box lacrosse and to identify the major rule sets currently in existence. These include rules that govern play for the National Lacrosse League (NLL), Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL), Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA), US Box Lacrosse Association (USBOXLA), and American Indoor Lacrosse Association (AILA), among others.

Task force members included Brian Lemon, vice president of the NLL; Tony Resch, former head coach of the U.S. Men’s Indoor Team; Shaydon Santos, former NLL player and co-founder of USBOXLA; Ginny Capicchioni, former NLL player and co-commissioner of the Baltimore Indoor Lacrosse League; Kevin Forrester, former NLL player and referee; Chris O’Dougherty, active NLL player and U.S. Men’s Indoor Team member; Dana Dobbie, Team Canada player and assistant coach at Loyola University Maryland; and David Seidman, chair of the US Lacrosse Men’s Rules Committee.

The task force was led by Rick Lake, senior manager of men’s game administration at US Lacrosse.

“Leading this group of accomplished box players, coaches, referees, and administrators was a humbling experience,” Lake said. “All of these individuals have a deep passion for the growth of box lacrosse, and this set of rules serves as the foundation for US Lacrosse to join in its growth.”

The task force identified best practices within each of the existing rule sets, and combined those with US Lacrosse’s safety best practices and applicable portions of the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model. After a series of drafts and edits, a final rule set that includes age-specific modifications was endorsed by the task force and subsequently approved by the US Lacrosse Board of Directors.

• Access the full Box Rules here ( PDF)

Points of emphasis in the new US Lacrosse Box Rules include:

• Illegal Body Checking and Boarding: Illegal body checking an opponent and/or body checking a player into the boards who is in a vulnerable position are the most are dangerous checks in the game. Body checks that are reckless or attempt to deliberately injure an opponent will result in a match penalty.

• No Fighting: All games played by US Lacrosse rules shall not allow or condone fighting. Players who engage in fights must be removed from the game.

• Play the Ball: When players are pursuing a loose ball, checking of an opponent’s stick and some body contact are allowed. If body contact is more than equal pressure and is a direct attempt to drive the opponent off the ball while making no attempt to play the ball, possession shall be awarded to the non-offending team for interference. 

• Safety Equipment: While optional in field lacrosse, both bicep pads and rib pads are required equipment in the US Lacrosse box rules, in addition to the other equipment listed in Section 5. Additionally, NOCSAE certified lacrosse helmets are required.

• Penalties: Under the US Lacrosse rules, penalties can be either minor penalties (2 minutes), major penalties (5 minutes), or match penalties (5 minutes + ejection from the game).

The National Lacrosse League has endorsed the new US Lacrosse Box Rules.

“This is another step in the evolution of the sport of lacrosse. We are encouraged by US Lacrosse’s deepened focus on the game of box, and the importance of youth participation as part of elite player development,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “It is a very exciting time to be a part of box lacrosse as we continue to see the game grow across the United States. The NLL’s partnership with US Lacrosse is stronger than ever, and we could not be happier to be working closely with our partners to develop and grow the game at the grass-roots level.”

Regy Thorpe, head coach of the U.S. Men’s Indoor Team, also voiced his support for the new rule set.

“This is a monumental day for all US Lacrosse members and supporters. US Lacrosse’s commitment to being more involved with the box game will have a major effect on the growth of box lacrosse in the United States,” Thorpe said. “US Lacrosse’s involvement in the box game will have a positive, long-term influence on the future of the U.S. Men’s Indoor Team, and has our entire staff and team excited about the future.”

As the national governing body of lacrosse, US Lacrosse is deeply rooted in rules development for all levels of play. US Lacrosse writes the rules for boys’ and girls’ youth lacrosse (ages 14U and below), as well as for high school girls’ lacrosse and collegiate non-varsity (or club) and post-collegiate women’s lacrosse.

US Lacrosse also collaborates with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) on the rules for high school boys’ lacrosse, and with the NCAA on the rules for collegiate varsity men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Questions about the new box rules can be directed to Rick Lake at US Lacrosse.