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Hot Pot: Fighting, NLL, NALL Rant

Connor Wilson addresses the new fighting rules for box lacrosse in the Canadian Lacrosse Association, and why you should definitely check out the NLL or NALL this year.

Last week’s Hot Pot rant focused on MCLA vs D3 vs D1, and how no one option is intrinsically the best. This week’s rant focuses on box lacrosse, but it can’t be summed up in one quick and easy sentence… there’s just too much to say! Instead, I’m going with a couple of mini rants, broken up by subject.

Lots of box lacrosse opinion below!

No NHL? Support the NLL

Do the right thing!

In Gary Bettman’s twentieth year with the NHL, it looks like there may not be a season. Do I expect NHL fans to pack NLL arenas in droves? Nope, not at all. However, I do expect that lacrosse players and fans who ALSO like hockey, might give box lacrosse a shot, especially here in the US. The NLL will be broadcast on The Lacrosse Network, so there is really no excuse to miss it this season. By the end of the year, I’m willing to be more will be fans than are not. Stop hating, and start supporting.

Less Fighting In the CLA

Big news that I like and many people on Twitter seem to hate. Outside of the NLL and CLAX, fighting in the Canadian Lacrosse Association leagues will result in expulsion from the game. This new rule does not outlaw fighting, but the penalty is now much more severe.

The major complaint here is that players have now lost the ability to “police themselves”, but honestly, that is a total load of BS. If there is a player out there on the other team who is crossing the line, you can still send someone out to fight him. If he agrees to the fight, then afterwards, both players will be ejected. To me, the ability to police over the top offenses still exists, and now you can get an offending goon off the floor for good by sacrificing one of your own. More skill players? Less hacks? Count me in.

The only real difference is that you won’t see nearly as many brawls, and you won’t see games that devolve into multiple boxing matches. When people can’t resort to fighting for just about any reason, you’ll see an increased focus on lacrosse, and not fisticuffs, and the sport will benefit because of it.

The one area for concern is with reffing. If the refs call the game the same as they have for years, then they will let more go, and the players will try to sort it out, as they have for years. While I do like this approach in general, I also realize that with less fighting, the refs will need to step in more, and make calls.

The light slash to the head they used to let go might have to be called, and extra shoving and scrapping may have to result in more penalties. Dirty hits and other “behind the play” stuff MUST be called, and watched for more vigilantly. It would be a change to be sure, but I really don’t think it’s the end of the world.

I play in a no-fighting league in NYC. I’ve played in Prague where fighting isn’t allowed. And the game still works. The refs have to call it a little tighter I’ve found, but box is still a beautiful game in this iteration, and it’s still physical and demanding. The only thing you miss out on are a couple of boxing matches to break up the action… and in the end, that’s really not much of a loss. Want a boxing match, go to a boxing match.

Debate me on this in the comments if you dare, I’m more than happy to engage, but if you don’t think every single one of the players below shouldn’t have been ejected, we probably won’t agree.

Check Out The NALL

I’ve spoken with guys on the teams in Boston, Rhode Island, Kentucky and Baltimore, and to a man (or woman… Hey Ginny!), everyone seems really excited about the upcoming season. Guys are worried about “making the team” and training hard to get ready. If you live in any of the above areas, I STRONGLY recommend that you go to AT LEAST one game. You will like it more than you expect. I guarantee it.

And the teams are trying to draw you in. For example, for Rhode Island’s opener, Middle and High school lacrosse players can get in for free… just for wearing a lacrosse jersey. Who wouldn’t want to support that?

One More Thing…

Don’t miss Benny Hill Box Lacrosse. It’s pretty funny.

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