MSL part of effort to streamline rules across Canada


Major Series Lacrosse is very proud to be part of the movement to streamline rules across the country at the highest levels.

MSL, along with the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League (OJLL), British Columbia Junior A Lacrosse League (BCJALL), Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) and Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Junior A Lacrosse League (RMLL) have made rule changes driven to align the way the game is played across all five leagues. 

"On behalf of MSL we want to thank the players and Todd Labranche for their insight and leadership on the committee. Nick Rose, Curtis Dickson and Cody Jamieson played significant roles with our leadership team in improving the game,” MSL Commissioner Doug Luey said. “The fans are the ones to benefit as we now have a more unified set of rules that should make the game faster and much more exciting. The fans feedback from the MSL Classic went a long way to make this long overdue process work" 

The hope is to not only streamline the rules across Canada’s top lacrosse leagues, but to make Canada’s national summer sport quicker, more exciting for the fans, as well as ensuring consistency for players and officials.

"It was a pleasure working with our partners at the highest levels of lacrosse in Canada to put this together,” Luey said. “The commissioners of the five leagues under the brilliant leadership of Ron McQuarrie were able to get a lot of work done and put aside the competitive personalities for the betterment of the game."

Approved rule changes for 2022 season:

4-second count: When a team gains possession of the ball in their crease, the player in possession must vacate the crease within four (4) seconds. Previously, a five-second count applied.

8-second count: When a team gains possession in their defensive half of the floor, they must advance the ball across centre within eight (8) seconds of gaining possession. Previously, a 10-second rule applied, and only when a team was short-handed.

Face-offs & restraining lines: In addition to revised face-off procedures, which restrict stick and body contact, specifically, sticks must be eight (8) inches apart and touching the floor. The sticks must be placed so they are parallel to the centreline, four (4) inches from centre, and the players must keep their feet behind the centreline. In addition, the leagues are implementing wider positioning between the two player restraining lines; these restraining lines will now align with the hockey bluelines, which are 50’ apart and 25’ from the centre line. Previously, opposing players’ sticks would be back-to-back, with the ball clamped in between, and the respective restraining lines were 22’ apart and just 11’ from the centre line.

Over and back: Over and back will now be in effect for all possessions. Previously, the rule only applied when a team was short-handed.

Too many players: In all situations, if a team is found to have too many players on the floor, a two-minute penalty shall be imposed on the offending team. Previously, a penalty was applied only if the infraction occurred by a team without possession.

Delayed penalties: After a delayed penalty is called, the play is whistled down if/when: the defending team gains possession of the ball; if the ball goes out of bounds; an over-and-back violation occurs; a goal is scored; the shot clock or game clock expires; or an offensive player commits a penalty. The play shall continue upon a shot on goal if the offensive team regains possession on the rebound, and the shot clock is reset; and if the ball contacts the defensive player’s stick or body but the defensive team does not gain possession and control of the ball. Previously, after a delayed penalty was called, the play was whistled down when the non-offending team took a shot on goal.

Fast restarts: Upon the re-start of play, the non-offending team may gain possession of the ball at the location of the ball at any location on the playing floor. Upon stoppage of play, a player must immediately put the ball down upon loss of possession and allow for a fast restart for the opposing team. As well, an offending team player must immediately move a minimum of six (6) feet from the ball. If a player does not move 6 feet away from the ball, a 2-minute Delay of Game penalty shall be called on the offending player. Previously, the re-start position had to be at the point of the violation.

Sudden-death OT during regular season: During the Regular Season, if the game is tied at the end of regulation, the first team to score in overtime will win. The WLA will continue with its 3-on-3 overtime format for the 2022 regular season while existing rules and procedures will remain for playoff games and national championships. With the exception of the WLA, previously, overtime consisted of a 10-minute period, followed by a 20-minute sudden death period.

Penalty shot called for additional penalties on a team already 2 men short: If a team is playing with two players serving penalties in the penalty box, and a third penalty is called, this will result in a penalty shot awarded to the non-offending team. Previously, penalties would continue to be added, and players would be sent to the penalty box.

In addition, the leagues will have increased enforcement on two existing rules covering off-ball slashing and illegal picks. Off-ball slashes to the opponent’s hands, arms, legs, or any part of the body are not permitted at any location on the playing floor. An illegal offensive pick is when the offensive player uses unequal pressure and creates movement of the defensive player or displaces the defensive player from his position. Illegal picks can also be considered as illegal cross check/back check infractions.