Starting this upcoming November, Paul St. John plans is to bring Canada a brand new professional lacrosse league, officially launching his new leauge’s website, www.clax.ca (short for Canadian Lacrosse), earlier today.
St. John, a former Founders, Minto and multiple Mann Cup winner, and more recently a coach, manager and scout at various levels of the sport, says, “Over the years my love and passion for lacrosse has produced a personal aspiration I have had for a long time, that is, to be an innovator of the Canadian game of lacrosse. As such, in gathering information and input from a number of players and fans across Canada the idea of CLax was born.”
The new Canadian league founder was also a member of an earlier version of the National Lacrosse League, before today’s loop switched its name from the Major Indoor Lacrosse League to the NLL over a decade ago, in 1991 featuring teams from Guelph, Whitby, Brantford and Buffalo. St. John’s Guelph Power would be crowned the league’s one and only champions before the loop folded after a single season, some games even showcased on TSN. The league was a direct competitor to the MILL at the time, St. John’s very own new venture seemingly going up against the same league, again.
CLax will be, as you’ve probably figured out, a box lacrosse league, played in smaller scale arenas than what is played in the NLL, on turf, but with slightly different substitution rules than what fans of the NLL or the Canadian Senior ‘A’ scene (MSL or WLA) are used to seeing.
The league will primarily be made up of teams stationed in Ontario and British Columbia, St. John already targeting ownership in cities likes Oshawa, Peterborough, Mimico, St. Catharines, Kelowna, Abbotsford and upwards of 20 other locations CLax’s creator says the league is considering after extensive research. The provinces of Quebec and Alberta are also on St. John’s perspective team placement list.
Currently the GM and Head Coach for the MSL’s Ajax-Pickering Rock, St. John’s new league would begin a bit over a month after the Mann Cup is handed out, which means a little over a month prior to the start of the NLL season. Although starting earlier and playing a 20-game schedule versus the NLL’s 16, CLax would essentially be played at the same time as the NLL season, extending into April. Teams would play a majority of their games against clubs inside their own province, but be required to travel across the country once a season to play 2 interlocking games against their opposing division.
Rosters will be comprised of 21 players, 16 runners and 2 goalies permitted to play on gamedays. Players, who must be 18 or older and not under contract with any other professional league, will be compensated a set amount for appearing in a game, with a bonus for the winning side as well. Coaches, GM’s and support staff will be paid for their work.
While CLax appears it will share a majority of their on-floor rules with both the Canadian summer game and the NLL, one new rule will be put in place to encourage more consistent two-way play. The CLax website states:
Teams will be allowed to make only one defensive change once they turn the ball over. A third referee will monitor the line changes and call penalties on illegal changes. Our goal is to speed the game up and create more offensive chances in transition.
We believe all players can be valuable in both ends of the floor, whether it’s passing, catching, shooting, setting picks or checking.
The league’s site also says that they are currently “looking to secure deals with cable networks such as Rogers Communications in Ontario and Shaw Media in British Columbia”. Webcasts will also apparently be made available online.The foremost boxla writer, Tutka is a former NLL scout and a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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