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Box lacrosse is played inside the confines of an ice hockey rink, with glass and rink boards intact. The playing surface consists of a green dieter turf carpet that is laid down over the hockey ice. Combined, teams score an average of 25 goals during an NLL game.Each game consists of four fifteen-minute quarters. A tie at the end of regulation is decided in sudden-victory overtime.


Each team has five runners (forwards, transition players, and defensemen) and a goaltender on the floor during the game. Each team dresses 25 players (23 runners and two goaltenders) per game, and the players rotate on and off the floor in shifts, similar to ice hockey.



Lacrosse is a traditional indigenous people’s game and was first encountered by Europeans when French Jesuit missionaries in the St. Lawrence Valley witnessed the game in the 1630s. Lacrosse for centuries was seen as a key element of cultural identity and spiritual healing to Native Americans.


Box lacrosse is a modern version of the game that was invented in Canada during the 1920s and 1930s. The roots of indoor lacrosse are obscure, but its invention has been attributed to one Paddy Brennan, a field lacrosse player and referee from Montreal, who, being annoyed by the constant slowing of play from balls going out of bounds in the field game, experimented with indoor games at the Mount Royal Arena during the early 1920s.


The form was also adopted as the primary version of the game played on Native American reservations in the US and Canada by Iroquois and other Native peoples. It is the only sport in which the American indigenous people are sanctioned to compete internationally, participating as the Iroquois Nationals.


Sources: World LacrosseHarvardPeterborough Examiner



Body Check: Used to slow an opponent who has the ball; must be above the waist and below the neck.

Breakaway: One-on-one (shooter on goalie) scoring opportunity.

Cradle: Skill used to keep the ball inside the pocket of the stick by rocking it back and forth.

Crease: Nine-foot radius surrounding the goal. Only the goalie can stand in this area with the ball. Shooters or their teammates can not stand on (or inside) the line or their goal won’t count. Any violation of this rule will disallow the goal. If a player is diving into the crease on a shot, the ball has to cross the goal line before any part of their body touches the crease.

Crosscheck: A defensive strategy using the shaft of the stick to push on an opponent to force a missed or bad shot.


Hidden Ball Play: A player without the ball cradles his stick, drawing the attention of the defense, while a teammate who has the ball passes or shoots on net.


Loose Ball: Occurs when there is no possession and the ball is bouncing, rolling, or rebounding off the boards or goaltender. Loose ball recoveries are a tracked statistic.


Loss of Possession: Illegal screens, 30-second shot clock violation, 8-second half-court violation, loose ball push, and illegal procedure during faceoffs are among the acts that can cause a team to lose possession of the ball without sending a player to the penalty box.


Major Penalty: Five minutes in the penalty box for infractions such as high sticking, boarding, face masking, fighting, and spearing. Two goals can be scored during a major penalty before the offending team will be back to full strength. The offending player will remain in the penalty box until the five-minute duration has passed.


Man Down: When a team has one less player on the floor than their opponent.


Minor Penalty: Two-minute penalty for infractions such as delay of game, elbowing, holding, illegal crosschecking, slashing, and tripping, for example. The team with the man advantage can score one goal before the offending team is back to full strength and the offending player is released from the penalty box.


Offensive Pick: The legal interference by an offensive player from a set position on a defensive player who is trying to defend the ball carrier.


Outlet Pass: The first pass from the goaltender or defender that begins the transition from defense to offense.


Penalty Box: Where a player goes to sit while serving a minor or major penalty.


Power Play: When a team has an extra man advantage because the other team has at least one player in the penalty box


Screen Shot: When the goaltender can’t see a shot because someone is in the way.


Shorthanded: When a team has one or more players in the penalty box and the opponent is at full-strength or has more players on the floor.


Minor Penalties: On two-minute personal fouls, the penalized player is released from the penalty box if a goal is scored before the expiration of the two minutes.

Major Penalties: On five-minute major personal fouls, the penalized player stays in the box for the duration of the penalty, though the offending team returns to full strength if two goals are scored against them during the five minutes. When a second major penalty is imposed on the same player in a game, an automatic game misconduct penalty shall be imposed.

Use of Penalty Shot: Since a team cannot be more than two men down at a time, if a third penalty is called, the official will award a penalty shot to the non-offending team.


Ejection from Game: Players can be ejected from a game for several reasons including being the third man participating in a fight or accumulating two major penalties in one game.


Slow Whistle (Delayed Penalty): If a defending player commits a minor or major penalty against an opponent in possession of the ball, the 30-second shot clock expires, or a goal is scored or possession is gained by the non-offending team.


Coincidental Penalties: When each team is given the same amount of penalty time arising out of the same incident, the offending players shall not be released until the expiration of the penalty. Teams do not lose floor strength, and the ball is awarded to the team who was in possession prior to the fouls.


Floor: Indoor lacrosse is played on a hockey rink covered by an artificial turf playing surface, which is usually referred to as the floor or the carpet (as opposed to the field). There must be boards around the sides of a minimum height of 3′ high. Dimensions are 200′ x 85′ but may be altered.


Goals: are 4′ (high) x 4’9″ (wide). The circle around the goal known as the crease is 9’3″ in diameter. An offensive player is not allowed to step into the crease area.

Rosters: 21-man active roster, each team dresses 19 players for games (17 runners and two goalies). A team shall be composed of six players on the floor, five runners, and one goalie.


Time Format: Four 15-minute quarters; two minutes between quarters; 15-minute halftime.


Timeouts: Each team may take one 45-second timeout per half.

Sudden-Victory Overtime: Games ending regulation play with a tie score are decided by a sudden-victory overtime period. Play continues until a goal is scored. More than one overtime period is played if necessary.


8-Second Violation: Occurs when the team on offense fails to advance the ball past midfield within 8 seconds after taking possession at their end of the floor.


Face-Offs: To determine possessions at the start of each quarter and after every goal, two players face their sticks at midfield with a game official placing the ball between the heads of the sticks. A small scrum usually occurs to secure the ball.


Shot Clock: Similar to professional and collegiate basketball, a 30-second clock begins counting down when a team assumes possession of the ball. The offensive team must put a shot on goal during that time or they will lose possession. If they shoot on goal without scoring and recover possession of the ball (via rebound/loose ball recovery off the goaltender or goal posts), the clock is reset for a new 30 seconds.

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