ONTARIO—Last week, the Ontario Junior ‘A’ Lacrosse League (OJALL) announced today a series of rule changes to be implemented for the 2021 season.
Commissioner Mark Grimes—who has been tasked with modernizing the league—recently met with Derek Keenan, Paul Day, Eddie Comeau and newly appointed advisor Ian Garrison to discuss a recommendation on National Lacrosse League (NLL) rule adaptations that would be a fit for Junior ‘A’ lacrosse.
This distinguished group of well-known lacrosse leaders are members of the OJALL Advisory Board announced in August to provide counsel on lacrosse related matters and the league’s return to play plan.
The advisors were tasked with assisting the league in everything from rule discussions to the development of players, coaches and officials.
“We have some of the best minds in lacrosse behind the Ontario Junior ‘A’ Lacrosse League right now,” said Grimes. “This is something the league has been discussing for a long time and I believe we are implementing the right rules, at the right time, with the right people at the table. Ontario Lacrosse has invested significant time and resources in the development of officials and they are going to be a key partner for us moving the league forward. Anyone can say ‘we are starting a new league with new rules’—we are doing it the right way.”
“The conversations Mark and I have had with Derek, Eddie and Paul have been completely game and player focused. The rules we are looking at are all about enhancing athleticism, improving player safety, creating an exciting fast-paced brand of lacrosse and providing players, coaches and officials with opportunities to elevate themselves to the next level,” said Garrison. “We see great opportunities ahead.”
The advisors were united on the nine (9) rule recommendations brought forward by the Commissioner and unanimously approved by the league’s Board of Governors on Wednesday night. Grimes has now been in touch with the British Columbia Junior ‘A’ Lacrosse League (BCJALL) and RMLL (Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League) commissioners— and looks forward to further discussions on aligning the leagues.
Following is an overview of the changes:
Four second count (vacate the crease), eight second count (advance the ball past half court), face off execution (non face-off players on restraining lines), back court violations (possession remains in the offensive zone), too many players (any violation results in a penalty), goalie stick dimensions (uniform regulations), delayed penalty mechanics (play continues until the defensive team gains possession regardless of shots on goal), loose ball in the crease (ball can be scooped out by an offensive player but not batted into the net) and fast restarts (violations result in the ball being put down immediate and blown in upon the non-violating team gaining possession).