When think of Canada’s national sport, most people around the world would assume that’s ice hockey.
Hockey is indeed Canada’s national winter sport, but the great country has lacrosse as national sport for the summer. It’s a famous sport on display on a regular basis both summer and spring at the Scotiabank Saddledome, as home of the Calgary Roughnecks.
Though it has many similarities to hockey, lacrosse has a ton of unique features different from hockey, but from any other sport.
1. History lesson
The origin of lacrosse actually dated further back than hockey. While hockey is believed to have originated sometime in the early 1800’s, lacrosse can be traced back around 1100 AD – about 700 years earlier.
Of course, the variation played at that time differed widely from the current version. Played mostly in the Eastern part of North America, the game was first called stickball, allowed much larger number of player.
Groups of hundreds, even thousands people played on fields that sometimes covered several miles long.
But the game wasn’t really popular until Europeans saw the game played. That’s when lacrosse got its name (in 1636 by Jean de Brébeuf) and over time grew into the more structured game that competed today.
2. The basic rules
Lacrosse has a few different formats, of which the most common one – the one played in the National Lacrosse League where the Calgary Roughnecks play – comprises of six players on each team; five runners and one goalie.
The game is played in a similar field to hockey, with the obvious difference is the turf instead of the ice as the ground surface.
Lacrosse games lasts 60 minutes, divided into four quarters. Games commonly have around 25 goals scored (combined), and the team with the most goals at the end wins. If there’s a tie, it goes on overtime until another goal is scored.