The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) and its board of directors are doing everything in their power to put the kybosh on fighting.
The CLA has approved changes in its rulebook that will see combatants given not only a major penalty but also a game misconduct if they engage in fisticuffs.
How this week's will affect the Western Lacrosse Association and its teams - including the defending WLA champion Langley Thunder - is yet to be determined.
WLA commissioner Casey Cook said the league's board of governors are having a meeting today (Thursday, Dec. 13) to specifically deal with the ruling and its implications.
"We will be able to able to speak more to the issue after the governors have dealt with it," Cook said. "It certainly has implications for the WLA and we're going to have to see what our response to that particular issue is."
A task force was established in the spring 2012 to examine fighting in lacrosse. The task force reported back to the CLA's board of directors with recommendations in the fall, at the annual general meeting.
As a result of the recommendations, the CLA Board of Directors has approved changes to Rule 45 in the Box Lacrosse Rule and Situation Handbook.
Here's what you need to know about the rule change - the approved changes are in bold.
Rule 45 - Fighting
(a) A major penalty and game misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player/goalkeeper who fights. A goalkeeper penalty shall be served by a player who was on the floor at the time of the infraction. The major penalty must be served in its duration.
(b) If there is an instigator or clear aggressor in a fight, a major penalty and a game misconduct plus any other penalties shall be assessed to the offending player(s). Where an instigator or clear aggressor penalty is assessed the non-offending player shall not receive a game misconduct under 45 (a).
The rule change will come into effect in the 2013 lacrosse season.
So what does this mean? After lengthy discussion and revisions the updated rule enforces that fighting is not tolerated. If an athlete, at any level, takes part in a fight, they will be removed from the game.
The CLA stated:
"Fighting in the sport is an unnecessary risk - it is a dangerous activity for any athlete to be a part of. Incidents of concussions can increase with every fight that happens; it is becoming more apparent that a blow to the head area has the potential to cause severe and long-term injury. The health and safety of all participants in Canada's national summer sport is amongst the leading concerns of the Canadian Lacrosse Association - changes to Rule 45 demonstrates our collective assertion that fighting in the game will not be tolerated and lends additional protection to our participants.
"The CLA board of directors took a stance today and we are positive that others will follow. The rule change allows our athletes to showcase the sport that we all love and keeps the focus on the aspects that make our sport so great - speed, athleticism, and skill. Lacrosse is the quickest game on two feet, played by some of the most passionate and athletic participants in any sport," CLA president Joey Harris said. "The stance that our board took against fighting in our sport holds true to the values of Canadian lacrosse and the CLA."