WLA opener - Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The WLA Board of Governors has approved new rule changes regarding the overtime, designed to improve the already exciting pace of play and enhance the fan experience at WLA regular season games.

Overtime will now be a 5-minute, 3 on 3, sudden death period. This replaces the previous 10-minute 5 vs. 5 format and will bring a faster, more exciting overtime to the floor. Teams will be allowed to pull their goaltender in favour of a fourth attacker, and in the event of a minor penalty or penalties, the penalized team will keep three players on the floor while the power play will add one or two additional runners.  “We continue to strive to improve the excitement and entertainment value for our fans, and 3 vs. 3 lacrosse in a sudden death overtime format will showcase the tremendous speed and skill of our great players,” said WLA Commissioner, Paul Dal Monte.

The new sudden death format will get its first test in two WLA exhibition games; following three regulation periods, regardless of the actual score, teams will play an overtime period to get referees, players, and coaches accustomed to the new procedure. This rule will only be in place during the regular season.  WLA playoffs will revert to the traditional 5 vs. 5 overtime, consistent with CLA rules applied in the Mann Cup.

The Board of Governors also approved running the 30-second shot clock when a shorthanded team gets possession. Previously, a short-handed team had no shot clock and could maintain possession of the ball until they returned to full strength. This rule change will make WLA regular season play consistent with Major Series Lacrosse, and the 2019 Mann Cup playing rules.

The 2019 WLA season kicks off with the Langley Thunder visiting the New Westminster Salmonbellies at Queen’s Park Arena on Thursday, May 23rd, followed by an all-Island match-up at the Q Centre Friday, May 24th as the Nanaimo Timbermen travel to Victoria to take on the Shamrocks, and then Saturday, May 25th, the Burnaby Lakers are in Coquitlam to take on the Adanacs.