Girls Lacrosse Apparently Playing By Different Rules……?

I love the fact that our game has opened up to the point where we no longer have a few girls sporadically on teams here and there.  Last season Ontario Lacrosse officially launched a girl’s only division which was an instant hit.  This season I know locally the numbers of girls playing our indoor game skyrocketed.  I have to assume that across the Province similar increases were seen in other associations.

Unfortunately, something I heard last night leads me to wonder if the rules are the same for girls box lacrosse as they are for boys box lacrosse. 

To be eligible to play in the Provincials, rosters need to be declared by June 15 each season.  These rosters are verified and show all players from an association are carded with the OLA to play for that association. 

Supposedly, a girls representative team this year from Peterborough has asked for and been given permission to use players that have signed up and played all season in Sudbury.  Now I’m the last one that wants to stand in the way of boys or girls playing our game; I encourage it to no end and part of me wants to shout: “just let the kids play”.

But I guess the more rational side of me (yes I do have one) wants to leave the kids out of this for a second.  Where is the fariness in this to all other teams and the equality of the rules being enforced?  Some will say that we are trying to grow the girl’s game, others will say “it’s all about the kids”.  Well yes they are right, we are trying to grow the game and it is all about the kids…..ALL THE KIDS….including the kids on other teams that are playing by the rules that are enforced upon them. 

Someone wishing to remain anonymous told me that a request was made at a “Girls Council Meeting”, a regular meeting with an OLA representative, to discuss girls only lacrosse issues and progress.  The request was for a team to pick up players from another centre earlier in this season due to injury in their own centre.  They were flat out told NO!

The minute the OLA constituted a Girls Lacrosse Program it became competitive and had rules.  Like the team at last seasons Provincials (the first season of girls lacrosse), that had a win taken away because of a problem with “player cards” that the OLA insisted were not registered in time.  Or the team whose Coach was not able to go behind the bench because there was a problem with his card.  This was last season, the first year of girls lacrosse! 

I was told that the OLA has instituted a fine on the players playing of $50 per player.  So for $50 each I can go ask a few of the representatives of Team Ontario if they want to come and play for me? I mean after all I’ve got a couple injuries and a few banged up, so why not? I think I know the answer to this so I won’t ask.

I mean no disrespect to either association by my post but I just do not think it is in the best interest of EVERYONE to allow this to happen.  I’d like to hear the opinions of others on whether this should be allowed or not.




  1. Very well said Marksy. As a coach of the Midget girls I am not directly affected by this particular instance but what does the future hold for girls minor lacrosse if the governing body is able to change it’s rules as they see fit. I saw the looks on the girls faces last year that had to stand beside the bench with their equipment on waitng for permission from the OLA so they could continue to play the remaining games.( This was after a win was already taken away from them on an appeal) I am all for growing the girls game but I also beleive that if it is sanctioned by the OLA that it should come under the same rules. I don’t beleive it is a pilot project and should not be treated as such.

  2. I agree with you and John. Why should girls lacrosse be treated any differently? The team in question, and the OLA need to take a good long look at the message they are giving. Girls lacrosse, is lacrosse. Period. The same rules should apply to every gender. As a parent of a girl involved in lacrosse, these girls are working hard to prove themselves! Don’t take that away from them by treating them differently.

  3. i completely agree with you tammy. this is one of my biggest pet peeves. i hate when girls lacrosse is treated differently then boys because girls play just as hard and just as strongly as the guys teams do. why should we be put down and told that girls lacrosse isn’t “real lacrosse”, i find that extremely unfair. allowing a girls division to do something that the OLA would not allow a boys division to do, is just giving the boys another reason to put girls lacrosse down and not let them have an open mind about it.

  4. I am also all for playing by the “rules” but need to clarify a little something. It was statted that the Sudbury girls had “signed up and played all season for Sudbury”. They did in fact sign up…as house league players. These girls have never played any competitive lacrosse beyond the House League level. They were approached by the Peterborough teams to play and after checking with the OLA to see if this would be allowed, they were released to Peterborough. Their “cards” aka registration forms specifically state that they are HL (house league) players. They are not “Ringers” from way up north! This whole mess has been a travesty, to build up the hopes of these girls, to have them get excited to play in their very first Rep/competitive tournament, to go their first Lacrosse festival, only to then tell them that they have cause a big stink with the OLA and eventually tell them that they CANNOT play for Peterborough has adversely affected these kids to the point that they no longer wish to play. Remember, there are always 2 sides to every controversial story and I thought that the “other” side should also be heard. These girls may still get a chance to play, we are not yet sure. I wish them and all the players the best in the Provincials and in whatever paths their lives take in the future!

    Louise Grant

  5. Sorry for the spelling mistakes in the above post. I was venting and not spell-checking. Good luck to all in the Provincials!


  6. Hi Louise,

    I appreciate your comments, and certainly understand the frustration and let down for these girls. It is very unfortunate that this did happen, and hopefully they will not decide to give up on the game of lacrosse.

    However, after hearing more and more from people that know “ALL” of the happenings, I believe at this point it is not about the Sudbury organization doing any wrong, it really is not about the Peterbrough organization doing any wrong. I really believe the intentions of both of these organizations (for the most part), was for the kids and the game.

    From what I’ve heard it is more and more sounding like a decsion being made by “one” or a select few about letting them play and that decision being passed on as a “Girls Council” decision, which clearly was not the case (I’d even suggest that the minutes of the Hamilton meeting be read). This has upset the applecart so to speak as the same “decision maker(s?)”, has/have made calls since the inception of girls lacrosse that have been “by the rules”. I think the term “consistency” is best used in this case….

    Hence the unfortunate resignation of our Zone 6 Director, and the backlash from many of the competing girls teams.


    G Mark

  7. Louise, whether they are ringers or not is not the issue. It is following the rules, and treating the game fairly that is the point. Believe me, as a woman who plays lacrosse and as a mother whose daughter plays lacrosse, I love how girls lacrosse has grown in Ontario. However, you cannot fight for equal rights only to request special treatment or favours!

  8. Louise,
    Last year was our first year for girls box lacrosse and we had some new people to the OLA “rules & regulations” doing the player cards and such. As far as the girls being disappointed, we had some midget girls who played house league and joined the rep team that was put together in a very short period of time and had to sit on the sidelines because of paperwork not being submitted on time. They were not ringers either but just girls wanting to play! We did the mad run around trying to get someone on the phone who would allow these girls to play with us in provincials as they had in our other games but had no success because rules are rules. There was also a mess with the peewee team and the coach’s that had been with the girls since the beginning of the rep season were not allowed on the bench and several of the girls including two of the coach’s kids were not allowed to play. Their win against Toronto was taken away when they were “found out”! So sorry if we have no sympathy and we all want the girls game to grow, but if rules are rules they should be adhered to.
    We all thought there should have been exceptions lat year because there were some pretty sad and upset girls but they stuck to their “the rules cannot be changed for the girls”.
    We just expect the same this year because fair is fair.

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