North America

Lacrosse (USA, Canada)

Lacrosse (USA, Canada)

  • Name of sport (game): Lacrosse, coined by a French jesuit Jean de Brébeuf
  • Name in native language: dehuntshigwa’es (in Onondaga language means “men hit a rounded object”), da-nah-wah’uwsdi (in Eastern Cherokee language means “little war”), Tewaarathon (in Mohawk language “little brother of war”).
  • Place of practice (continent, state, nation):

    Lacrosse is popular in the whole world, especially in Canada and USA. Also, often it is practiced in UK and Australia, less often in New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.


  • History:

    Lacrosse has its roots in America. The game itself was invented by Indians, who, in the beginning, did not define the boundaries of the playing field and places of goal (the role of goal played trees and boulders). Number of players in teams varied from 100 to 1000, including members from different tribes. While playing players used two sticks, which looked like they was riding horses. The ball was made from reindeer skin.
    In Europe lacrosse came after 1636, when a French jesuit Jean de Brébeuf, while being in America, was watching Iroquois tribe playing game and later described the basic concept of game in Europe. However, modern rules that are played nowadays was introduced only in 1856, when a Canadian dentist George Beers established the first lacrosse club “Montreal Lacrosse Club”, shorting the play time and limiting the number of players to 10 people.
    Nevertheless, the popularity of lacrosse grew only in the beginning of XX century, because it was an Olympic discipline during the Olympic Games in 1904 and 1908. Later, approximately in 30s, the second version of the game playing indoor began to widespread.

  • Description:

    lacrose boisko

    Rules are regulated by the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL), the international governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. Clashes between players are allowed, as well as bumping each other involving the sticks. Each of the quart starts from well-known hokey game-play face-off, which means that the referee drops the ball between two opposing players. The same action is after the each goal scored.
    The playing time for the match is 60 minutes and is divided into 4 periods of 15-minutes quarters. For scoring the player have to shoot the gam ball, , which can be either of yellow, orange or white colour into the goal of the opposite team. The weight of ball is appox. 150 gram and is 20 cm in a circle.

    The lacrosse stick

    Lacrosse has two types of penalties. For personal fault, for example hitting the opposer below the waist, unsportsmanlike behavior or improperly built sports equipment, the player is sent to the penalty bench. If it is a technical foul (e.g. crushes, restraining the opposer or keeping the ball), it is likely to end up with the restrictive punishment.


    There are two variations of playing the lacrosse:

    a) Outdoor or field lacrosse

    Each team has 10 players and consists of 3 attack-men, 3 midfielders, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie (or goaltender). Players can use two types of sticks: “short crosse” (ca. 1 meter long) or “long crosse” (ca. 1,5 meter long). The goaltender can choose the stick between 1 meter long and 1,5 meter long. However, it is not allowed to use 4 long sticks at the same time while playing on the field. Players always wear protective equipment such as helmets, a pair of gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads and mouthguard.
    Players pick up the ball from the ground and throw it between each other. They can run with it and hide it in the rocket providing that it is not interrupt the game.


    b) Indoor

    This version was introduced in Canada, thus it is more popular in Canada. It is known also as box lacrosse. The field is usually played on a hockey rink covered by artificial turf or in an indoor field for soccer. The goals as well as the field is smaller than in the outdoor lacrosse. After getting the ball, the team who gets it has 30 seconds for performing an action. There can be 6 players from an each team on the field.

    Women’s matches are also ca. 60 minutes, but is divided into two halves. The stick is designed that way so it is hard to make a strong shot, thus women can play without helmets and protective equipment. Teams consists of 3 attack-women, 5 midfielders, 3 defense-women and 1 goalie. Players can receive such penalties: green card for the captain of the team for delaying the game; yellow card for the first fault, sending the player to the penalty bench for 2 minutes; red card for receiving 2 yellow cards or performing unsportsmanlike behavior, leading to the exit from the playing field within 5 minutes.

  • Current status:

    Considering lots of national leagues, including Polish, the World Lacrosse Championship takes place regularly for men, women and juniors (under 19 years old). In 1995 was established the European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) and from that time it organizes European Championships for both genders (in 2004 up to 20 teams took part).
    The highest score in the final match was 40:0 between the UK and New York teams in 1967.
    One of the interesting point is that lacrosse was included in The World Games 2017 in Wroclaw.

    Speaking about Polish lacrosse, it is needed to mention that in December 2007 in Poznan was established the first men’s club, called Poznań Hussars. While the first women’s club was established in 2009 and called Kosynerki Wroclaw (the name derived from men lacrosse section - Kosynierzy Wrocław). The first match took place on 17 April, 2008, involving Poznań Hussars and Kosynierzy Wroclaw, which ended with 5:5 score.


  • Contacts: – Federation of International Lacrosse – European Lacrosse Federation – National Lacrosse League (takes place in USA) – Polish Lacrosse Federation – Poznań Hussars Team


  • Sources of information :

    The history of lacrosse -
    The rules of lacrosse -

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