MSL Classic To Test Out Trial Rules

by Mike Hancock

As part of the MSL Classic, the Major Series Lacrosse Board of Governors voted in favour of using the event as a trial for several different rules.

"One of the goals of the MSL Classic is to test some things out," MSL commissioner Doug Luey said. "We are going to test out a number of trial rules, with the hope of a vision to unify all lacrosse leagues' rules of play."

• Four 15 minute periods

• Net Size 4'9"

• Sudden Victory in overtime

•4-Second Count

When a team gains possession of the ball in their own crease, the player in possession must vacate the crease within four (4) seconds.

•8-Second Count

When a team gains possession in the defensive half of the floor, they must advance the ball across the centreline within eight (8) seconds of gaining possession. 

•8-Second Count Procedure

The 8-second count shall be kept by the trailing referee on the floor by a chopping wave of the hand for each second. Should the face-off man gain possession off the draw and pass the ball backcourt legally (this will require discussion/exploration by rules committee), the 8 second count begins once the ball crosses the centre line. 

•Timeouts Called In The Defensive Half Of The Floor

In time-out situations called by either team before the expiration of the 8-second count, a new 8-second count shall be awarded after the time-out. 

•Face-Off Positioning

The drawmen shall stand on the same side of the centerline of the floor as the goal each is defending, with their lacrosse stick resting on the floor along the centerline. Both hands and feet of each player facing off must be to the left of the throat of the stick. Each must have both hands on the handle of the stick, not touching any strings and touching the floor. Their feet may not touch the stick. No portion of either stick may touch nor may either player be in contact with his opponent’s body by encroaching in his opponent’s territory. The walls of the stick must be approximately eight inches apart touching the floor. The sticks must be placed so that they are parallel to the centerline, 4 inches from the centreline, and the players facing off must keep their feet behind the centreline. 

•Face-Off Violations

Movement by any player, facing off, after the ‘set’ command shall cause possession to go to the opponent. When the ball is stuck in the back of a players’ stick upon facing off, possession shall be awarded to the non-offending team. Stepping on or kicking of an opponent’s stick shall be illegal and possession goes to the offended team. When there are simultaneous multiple violations (e.g. at restraining line and face-off) the face-off violation shall determine possession. A player who gains possession off the draw on his offensive side of the center line and begins to travel towards his opposing goal, thereby establishing his forward direction, is now subject to the over and back rule. 

•Contesting The Ball On The Faceoff

The two players must contest the ball when the Referee blows the whistle. The ball must come out of the dotted circle. You may not trap, clamp, or “dead stick” (clamp or trap and not move your stick) the ball with the intent to withhold play inside or outside of the dotted circle or the opponent’s stick or body. This is illegal and a violation shall be called. Any ‘overclamp’ which is a stick clamping on top of the original clamp is a violation. The ball shall be awarded to the non-offending team. Contesting the ball means specifically contesting the ball only on the face-off. For example, a face-off man cannot use his hand or arm or part of his body to apply pressure on an opponent’s stick or body while contesting the ball on the face-off. Violation for not contesting the ball shall result in possession to the non-offending team. Once possession is deemed, an opponent is permitted to contest the body as well. If a player gains possession on a face-off with the ball in the reverse side of his stick, and fails to move, rake or direct it (to a teammate or himself) and takes more than one step, a face-off violation has occurred and the ball will be awarded to the non-offending team.  

•Positioning Prior To The Whistle

The remaining players must take a position inside an Offensive or Defensive Zone. Once the players have positioned themselves in an Offensive or Defensive Zone, they must remain in those locations until the whistle sounds to start play, at which time all players are released from their respective positions. Players may be moving prior to the whistle provided they are behind the zone line and not making contact with an opponent. Players are permitted to make legal line changes immediately after the whistle. 

•Back Court Violations

A loose ball or a player with possession of the ball comes in contact with the centerline of the field for any reason other than a shot on goal or the defensive team being the last to touch the ball, it shall be a back-court violation. If the offense was the last to touch prior to the ball going back-court without a reset of the shot clock, the referee shall hold the sounding of the whistle until it is apparent that the non-offending team will not gain possession. Possession shall be awarded to the non-offending team where the ball comes to rest with the exception of immediately in front of goal. Immediately in front of the goal is deemed approximately a 20 foot radius from the centre point of the top of the goalie crease. The offensive team cannot intentionally direct the ball into the back-court for any reason regardless if they are considered to have possession or not. Should a goalie be pulled for an extra attacker when the ball travels across center and travels into the goal, this play is regarded as a good goal. 

•Immediate Penalty Illegal Substitution

 In all cases, if a team is found to have too many men on the floor, a two-minute penalty should be imposed on the offending team. 

•Criteria For Stoppage Of Play On A Delayed Penalty

 If a defending player commits a personal penalty against an opponent, in which the non-offending team has possession of the ball, the referee shall raise his hand and withhold his whistle until such time as the completion of play by the team in possession. "Completion of play” by the team in possession in this rule means that the ball goes out of bounds; or a violation has been committed; or a goal is scored; or shot clock or game clock expire; or an offensive player commits a penalty, or the ball has come into possession and control of an opposing player. This does not mean a rebound of a goalkeeper, the goal or the boards, or any accidental contact with the body or the equipment of an opposing player. 

•Directed Into The Net

If the ball is loose in the crease an opposing player may not direct the ball into the goal. If the ball is loose in the crease, an opposing player must have possession prior to any scoring attempt. A no goal shall be called if the ball is loose in the crease, directed by an opposing player and having the ball make contact with the goalie or a defender prior to the ball going into the net. 

•Fast Restart

A player may be in a stationary position or moving during re-starts as signaled by the Official. For example, the restart position does not have to restart at the point of violation, e.g., a location of an illegal pick or shot clock violation, and the non-offending team may pick up the ball quickly at the location of the new position of the ball and await the restart whistle. The restart can occur within a 20 foot radius of the opposing crease. 

•Throws, Retains Or Rolls Ball Away

A minor delay of game penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who throws, retains or rolls the ball away that results in a delay of game. This shall include any action by a player that disrupts the restart of the game such as holding onto the ball, or tossing the ball to the official, rather than immediately putting the ball down directly upon expiry of loss of possession inhibiting a fast restart for the opposing team. The onus is on the defender to be beyond 6 feet during a settled or fast restart situation. Violation shall result in a minor penalty. Should the offensive player attempt to get closer to the defensive player inside 6 feet as a means to draw a delay, the offensive player shall be penalized for a delay of game, accordingly. The official shall be cognizant of the game situation, specifically recognizing the distance between opponents during fast restarts and shall restart play fairly and accordingly.