The Box Lacrosse Association of America (BLA) is proud to announce that it will begin governing youth box lacrosse leagues this upcoming spring in the United States.
The BLA (www.blalax.com) was established this past November with the goal in mind of providing American lacrosse players with the opportunity to play REAL BOX LACROSSE in a safe and competitive environment. The BLA features a rulebook that is based off the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) rulebooks, and will govern leagues for both Boys and Girls at the U9, U11, U13, U15, high school and collegiate levels. The BLA rulebook is unique in that additional rules have been added to enhance player safety, and requires all coaches and referees to pass certification and training courses to participate in BLA registered leagues.
Those who register as BLA members, will be fully insured to play and coach REAL BOX LACROSSE, and will be covered under the best insurance plan in the country for box lacrosse. One-year BLA memberships are incredibly affordable at $40 for players and coaches, and include a handful of benefits featured below. Highlights of the BLA rulebook include controlled cross-checking, crease dives, pick-and-rolls, 30-second shot clocks, shootouts, NLL-style penalties, and quick play on turnovers. In addition to requiring all players to wear basic box equipment, the BLA also mandates that all players wear bicep and kidney pads to ensure player safety.
“Box lacrosse is one of the most exciting, and fastest growing sports in America today,” said Andy Arlotta, Chairman and CEO of the BLA. “Our vision is to provide youth box players with the opportunity to play real box lacrosse, which is the same style of play that many of today’s NCAA Division I All-Americans grew up playing as kids in Canada. Those who join the BLA will have the opportunity to take their game to the next level, and will have the chance to work directly with current and former NLL players, coaches and referees. On top of that, the BLA has made player safety our Number One priority, and offers the best insurance coverage in the country for box lacrosse.”
The Youth Box League (YBL), which is the largest youth box lacrosse league in the country with over 1,200 participants, and is based in the Twin Cities, is the first association to join the BLA, and will begin playing by the BLA rulebook this coming March. For more information on the YBL, visit www.mnboxlacrosse.com.
The BLA rulebook was developed by former NLL forward and current Minnesota Swarm assistant coach Aime Caines and former NLL referee Brad Scibak. The BLA also features a different set of rules for Girls box lacrosse, such as controlled cross-pushes rather than cross-checking. The BLA rulebook bans boarding, fighting, checks from behind, and all illegal stick movements such as slashing, spearing and any stick contact above the shoulder or below the waist. All BLA games also mandate that an EMT or athletic trainer be on site to provide medical treatment.
The BLA offers coaches and referees with training and certification classes that are unmatched by any other association in the country. These programs, which have been developed by box lacrosse professionals, offer BLA members an in-depth curriculum on the box game, and will give coaches and referees the tools needed to succeed in their leagues.
Box lacrosse is not only growing on the youth level, but several NCAA Division I colleges have recently developed programs as well to reap the benefits of the box game. Colleges with box programs include the University of Notre Dame, Loyola University, Yale University and the University of Denver. Six-time NCAA Division I Champion, and current University of Denver head coach Bill Tierney is a big supporter of box lacrosse, and has been quoted saying, “If I had my choice, I would have every player under the age of 12 play box lacrosse exclusively or at least a majority of the time. The number of touches of the ball and the ability to develop better stick skills in a game of box lacrosse far surpasses what happens on a field.”
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