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Box lacrosse


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Box lacrosse is played by teams of five runners plus a goalie on a hockey rink where the ice has been removed or covered by artificial turf, or in an indoor soccer field. The enclosed playing area is called a box, in contrast to the open playing field of the traditional game. This version of the game was introduced in Canada in the 1930s to promote business for hockey arenas outside of the ice hockey season. Within several years it had nearly supplanted field lacrosse in Canada.

The goals in box lacrosse are smaller than field lacrosse, traditionally 4 ft (1.2 m) wide and tall. Also, the goaltender wears much more protective padding, including a massive chest protector and armguard combination known as "uppers", large shin guards known as leg pads (both of which must follow strict measurement guidelines), and ice hockey-style goalie masks.

The style of the game is quick, accelerated by the close confines of the floor and a shot clock. The shot clock requires the attacking team to take a shot on goal within 30 seconds of gaining possession of the ball. Box lacrosse is also a much more physical game. Since cross checking is legal in box lacrosse, players wear rib pads and the shoulder and elbow pads are bigger and stronger than what field lacrosse players wear. Box lacrosse players wear a hockey helmet with a box lacrosse cage. There is no offsides in box lacrosse, the players substitute freely from their bench areas as in hockey. However, most players specialize in offense or defense, so usually all five runners substitute for teammates as their team transitions between offense and defense.

For penalties, the offending player is sent to the penalty box and his team has to play without him, or man-down, for the length of the penalty. Most fouls are minor penalties and last for two minutes, major penalties for serious offenses last five minutes. What separates box lacrosse (and ice hockey) from other sports is that at the top levels of professional and junior lacrosse, participating in a fight does not automatically cause an ejection, but a five-minute major penalty is given.

Box lacrosse is played at the highest level in the National Lacrosse League and by the Senior A divisions of the Canadian Lacrosse Association. The National Lacrosse League (NLL) employs some minor rule changes from the Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) rules. Notably, the goals are 4 feet 9 inches (1.45 m) wide instead of 4 feet (1.2 m) and the games are played during the winter. The NLL games consist of four fifteen-minute quarters compared with three periods of twenty minutes each in CLA games. NLL players may only use sticks with hollow shafts, while CLA permits solid wooden sticks.

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