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World Lacrosse Unveils New Sixes Discipline; Prepares for 2028 Olympics

Today, World Lacrosse introduced the name, brand identity and first phase of technical resources for the new 6-on-6 discipline that will be formally known as “World Lacrosse Sixes” or “Sixes” for short.

“This is the beginning of an exciting, new era for World Lacrosse and lacrosse players around the globe,” World Lacrosse President Sue Redfern said. “As the newest offering from our international federation, World Lacrosse Sixes is an ideal complement to our existing field and box disciplines. Sixes blends many of the most popular aspects of the field and box games, and introduces new elements that appeal to the next generation of sport participants and fans.

“Many of the most successful international federations in sport are introducing smaller-sided variations of their traditional offerings in order to meet the interest and demand of today’s athletes, and that’s what Sixes helps us achieve,” Redfern added.

“Throughout the development of this new discipline, the voice and perspective of athletes has helped shape every major decision that was made” World Lacrosse Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr added. “Today’s introduction is just the beginning. We will continue to modify and refine this discipline, leaning heavily on input from those for whom it was designed while expanding the technical resources available to players, coaches, officials and league administrators. We will also introduce an international calendar of events, culminating with a World Championship, through which players from around the world will be able to showcase their skills in Sixes.”

Development of World Lacrosse Sixes

As part of the Strategic Plan approved by the World Lacrosse General Assembly in 2018, a Working Group was appointed to explore the development of a new discipline that would be complementary to the existing field and box disciplines while positioning World Lacrosse and its member-National Governing Bodies and Continental Federations to achieve the following objectives:

• Support and encourage the continued growth of lacrosse worldwide
• Provide greater access to lacrosse by eliminating barriers to entry (eg: cost, team size, field size)
• Appeal to the next generation of sport participants and fans with a discipline that features tempo, speed, scoring and less specialization
• Over time, create greater competitive balance internationally by bringing more nations within reach of the podium at major international events
• And, fit within the 21st Century Olympic framework, where the International Olympic Committee and Host Cities are working to reduce the cost and complexity of staging the Olympic Games

Under the leadership of World Lacrosse Vice President Steve Stenersen, the Blue Skies Working Group began Phase One of its work in July 2018, seeking input and direction from stakeholders around the world. Throughout a two-year consultation and development process, trials of the new discipline were conducted, with feedback provided by players, coaches and officials. On November 15, 2020, the World Lacrosse General Assembly approved the initial set of Official Playing Rules for the new discipline, which were developed by the WL Technical Committee under the direction of Don Blacklock.

“Our goal was to create an innovative new discipline that helps to scale international participation growth and position lacrosse for inclusion at the highest levels of international sport competition,” Stenersen, who chairs the Blue Skies Working Group, said. “Creating a hybrid version of our existing field and box disciplines with smaller squad sizes was quickly embraced as a common solution to achieve both objectives. Through an exhaustive and inclusive two-year process that benefitted from the input of hundreds of athletes, coaches and officials across our membership, World Lacrosse Sixes was born.”

“Just like those of our current field and box disciplines, which will remain essential components of our international competition platform, the rules of World Lacrosse Sixes will continue to evolve and refine over time based on the input of stakeholders throughout the world,” Stenersen added.

What Makes World Lacrosse Sixes Different

Among the major differences players will find in World Lacrosse Sixes are:

• :30 second shot clock
• Games are played in 4, 8-minute quarters
• Goalies initiate play after goals are scored; draws / faceoffs occur only at the start of each quarter
• Field size is 70×36 meters
• Flow of the game emphasizes tempo, with fewer stoppages in play
• Everyone plays both sides of the field (defense/offensive); substitutions are made on the fly
• Rosters are comprised of 12 players, which leads to more playing time and more touches on the ball
• In the women’s game, defensive players cannot be penalized for entering the shooting lane of an offensive player; offensive players will be penalized for taking a shot without regard for other players.

World Lacrosse Sixes Is Already Taking Off

Prior to today’s formal introduction of World Lacrosse Sixes, the new discipline is already being embraced and introduced for domestic competition by the following World Lacrosse members:

Australia Lacrosse Association
China Lacrosse Association
Costa Rica Lacrosse
England Lacrosse
German Lacrosse Association
Hong Kong Lacrosse Association
Iroquois Nationals/Haudenosaunee
Japan Lacrosse Association
Korea Lacrosse Association
Luxembourg Lacrosse Federation
Philippines Lacrosse Association
Lacrosse Scotland
Uganda Lacrosse Association
USA Lacrosse

In addition, World Lacrosse is now working with its member-National Governing Bodies and Continental Federations to introduce a series of international events featuring the Sixes discipline, culminating with a World Championship several years from now. An announcement of the 2021 and 2022 series of events is expected in the next 90 days.

World Lacrosse Sixes will be the discipline featured during The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, July 7-17, 2022.

World Lacrosse Offers Technical Resources

Among the technical resources being introduced today by World Lacrosse for players, coaches, officials and administrators are:

• World Lacrosse Sixes Official Playing Rules
• In-person coaching clinics delivered alongside Sixes events
• Introductory e-learning course for officials
• Introductory e-learning course for players and coaches

These resources have been designed to ensure participants feel confident taking the field. The World Lacrosse Sixes webpage (www.worldlacrosse.sport/sixes) features materials designed for players who are new to the game of lacrosse, as well as for participants who have experience playing the field or box versions of the game. World Lacrosse will continue to update the Virtual Training Center and NGB Toolkit on its website to best support the continued growth of the World Lacrosse Sixes discipline.

In 2009, Adam O’Neill, Harry Alford and Thomas Alford launched Lacrosse Playground as the preeminent site for lacrosse gearheads. For years Lacrosse Playground provided lacrosse fans with tutorials and tips on how to string a lacrosse head, up-close looks at the gear the top players used and sneak peeks at equipment and uniforms before they were released. More than 10 years and millions of visits later, Lacrosse Playground has relaunched with a focus on storytelling. Our mission is to provide comprehensive coverage of the latest lacrosse news, share insights into the sports betting and fantasy lacrosse world and showcase the lifestyles and personalities of the sport of lacrosse through articles, videos and podcasts.

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