2018 Rule Changes and Points of Emphasis

1-1-3 Option for unified girls and boys field markings.

2-1-1 Clarifies ball certification markings.

2-2, 2-3 Changes to on-field stick check.

2-5-2 Includes cradling motion in definition of head and crosse separation.

2-7-2 Clarifies timeline for eyewear certification by manufacturers.

3-5-1 Clarifies that official’s certification is for the girls’ game.

3-7-2d Allows time-out requests any time team is in clear possession of the ball.

4-1-1 Defines maximum playing time.

4-2-3h Stick checks are not allowed during an injury time-out.

5-2-3b Sticks must be parallel to the ground during the draw.

5-2-5 Players’ sticks may touch the ground over the center circle and restraining line on the draw.

5-2 Failure to correctly execute the draw by either of the two centers is a draw violation and can result in a free position or a re-draw. Violations by other players during the draw and/or prior to possession will be major or minor fouls.

7-1-2 Clarifies deputy and goalkeeper privileges.

9-1-1 Draw fouls have been moved to Rule 5-2-4. New foul definition of Early Entry on the Draw defines other minor fouls pertaining to the draw.

9-1-1 PENALTY Early entry violations shall be administered at the spot of the ball.

10-1-1k Clarifies goalkeeper’s movement as it applies to calling dangerous shot.

12-8-1 State associations may have ejections policies that supersede suspensions as outlined.

Rule 13 Addition of Running Clock.

2018 Points of Emphasis

Illegal Defensive Positioning

The Rules Committee’s emphasis on illegal defensive positioning is not intended to increase the frequency of fouls called on the defense. It is a clarification of the process and understanding of these fouls and to minimize injuries in the critical shooting area. When a defender is in three seconds or the free space to goal, she illegally occupies a space to which she is not entitled and is reducing opportunities for the offense to safely attack. Additionally, the defender, is placing herself at risk of injury.

For illegal defensive positioning associated with obstruction of free space to goal to occur, the attack must create opportunity. First, the ball must be above the goal line extended and within the Critical Scoring Area. Second, the attacker must physically have the potential to shoot, and the path to goal must be clear of legal defenders.

If opportunity to shoot does not exist, the call should not be made.

Contact in the Midfield – Incidental v. Dangerous
The safety of all players is a priority to the committee, and rough or dangerous play in the midfield not only disrupts the flow of play, but also puts players at significant risk for injury. Legal contact (incidental or deliberate) can occur between opponents during the normal course of play.

However, contact that occurs that physically forces the opponent off of their position or path is illegal contact. Deliberate illegal contact (e.g., cross-checks or pushes) made to the body on any offensive player in a defenseless position must be carded.

Officials should also consider carding players who repeatedly commit fouls in the midfield. All major fouls in the midfield should be enforced with the offender placed four meters
directly behind the ball carrier. It should be noted that four meters is almost 4½ yards when games are played on football fields with clear yard markings.

Crosse in the Sphere/Check to the Head
It is the responsibility of the defender to keep her stick out of the sphere and throat area of the ball carrier. Defenders who penetrate this space and throat area should be assessed a major foul. Repeated violations of this rule may be carded. This rule applies even when the ball carrier does not have her stick in a legal checking position.

A check to the head or a check that causes the attacker’s stick to contact her head is a mandatory card.


The committee continues to encourage all coaches, players, officials and administrators to conduct themselves in a professional manner before, during and immediately following all contests. The committee reminds coaches and players to avoid the use of excessive dissent or abusive language and reminds coaches to stay in his or her coaching area. The committee encourages calm, patient and productive dialogue between coaches, players and officials.