Brief Lacrosse History and Some Cool Facts About Lacrosse

Native American Indians invented lacrosse, which was previously known as stickball. The Algonquian tribe first played the game in the St. Lawrence Valley. And other tribes in the eastern part of North America and around the western Great Lakes soon followed.  

Sounds interesting? Wanted to know more about this wonderful game? Here in this article, we have all the information about lacrosse history you must have to know.

Lacrosse Background

In North America, lacrosse is the oldest organized sport. Native American Indians were found playing this game by French and English colonists. It was known as bagataway. Around 1840, the game’s name was changed to lacrosse, and the regulations were updated. In 1867, the Canadian parliament designated lacrosse as the national sport. In 1910, women’s lacrosse was introduced to the United States from England. 

Previously, “natural” constraints such as trees or fences restricted the size of a women’s field. That rule was amended in 2006. Women’s fields now feature “hard” measured boundary lines, just like men’s fields. The length of a lacrosse field is 110 yards, and the width varies between 53 1/3 and 60 yards. The goals are 80 yards apart, with a 15-yard playing space between them. A centerline divides the length of the field in half.

Lacrosse History In Canada

Lacrosse has been played in Canada since the 17th century, It was designated as the country’s only official national sport from 1859 until 1994. It was the most popular sport in the country by the turn of the century. Continue reading to learn more about its origins and how it got to be so popular in Canada.

Brief Lacrosse History and Some Cool Facts About Lacrosse
19th Century Canadian Lacrosse (courtesy Smithsonian)

Evolution of Lacrosse in The Modern Era

Jean de Brebeuf, a Jesuit missionary, reported a Huron contest in southeast Ontario, Canada, in 1636. This was the beginning of the game’s transformation into modern lacrosse. [DL4] At the time, at least 48 Native American tribes played some kind of lacrosse throughout. What is now southern Canada and all of the United States?  

In the 1800s, French settlers took up the game with zeal. W. George Beers, a Canadian dentist, standardized the game. In 1867 by establishing standard field dimensions, limiting the number of players per team, and other basic rules.

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Lacrosse was the most popular sport in Canada at the turn of the century. Box, men’s field, women’s field, and inter-lacrosse are now recognized by the CLA as different disciplines. Boxing became popular in the 1930s when teams took advantage of empty hockey arenas during the summer months.

In Canada, it is still the most popular type of lacrosse, despite American dominance in field lacrosse championships. Inter-lacrosse is a relatively new sport that is non-contact and very skill-oriented.

Rules of The Game

Lacrosse is a non-contact sport for ladies. A goalie, five attackers, and six defenders make up each squad of 12. The purpose of the game is to shoot the ball into the goal of your opponent.

The winning team is the one that scores the most goals. The girls’ game lasts 50 minutes, with each half lasting 25 minutes.

  • The women’s game starts with a stalemate. At the center of the field, the ball is placed between two horizontally held sticks. Then, the ball is sent into the air as the crosses are pulled up and away at the sound of the referee’s whistle. Each half of the game begins with a draw, and each goal is scored with a draw.
  • Rough checks and physical contact with the body are prohibited. All permissible checks must be aimed away from a seven-inch sphere that surrounds a player’s head. You are only permitted to check “color-to-color” and from the “top-down” in class.
  • Except for the goalie, who may only touch the ball when she is within the goal circle, no players can touch the ball with their hands.
  • When the ball is grounded in a regulation game, covering it with the back of the crosse is forbidden since it inhibits another player from playing.
  • Protective eyewear is required.

Learn more about lacrosse games rules in detail here.

Men’s Lacrosse Vs. Women’s Lacrosse

Attempts to link it to Meso-American rubber-ball games or an ancient game with a single post surmounted by an animal figure and men and women playing it remain speculative. However, in the spring of 1890, the first known game of women’s lacrosse. It named for the stick’s likeness to a Bishop’s crosier, was played in Scotland in St. Leonards.  

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Miss Louisa Lumsden, the school’s first headmistress, had the chance to visit New Hampshire in September 1884. There she witnessed a match between the Canghuwaya Indians and the Montreal Club.  

“It is a fantastic game, beautiful and graceful,” Miss Lumsden wrote in her diary. (It enchanted me so much that I introduced it to St. Leonards.).” When the sport came to Scotland and was taken up by young ladies, an inter-dormitory competition was started. The winners of the game received a shield as a prize.  

Brief Lacrosse History and Some Cool Facts About Lacrosse
1890 St. Leonards Women’s Lacrosse Team
(courtesy St. Leonards Historical Archives)

Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse: What’s the Difference?

  • The men’s stick has a deeper pocket than the women’s.
  • In men’s, rough checking is permitted. However, only “crosse” checking is permitted; nobody checks are permitted.
  • The manner in which the drawing is carried out differs. Men begin with their sticks on the ground, while women begin with theirs on the ground. Men’s rules are from Canada, while women’s regulations are from England.

Lacrosse Interesting Facts And Terms

  • Attackers are the players who are in charge of scoring. At any given time, five attackers are on the field.
  • Checking – Trying to get the ball out of an opponent’s crosse.
  • Cradling — A player’s method of holding the ball in the stick’s pocket.
  • The stick used to play lacrosse is known as a crosse.
  • Defenders are the players that are in charge of marking the attackers. At any given time, six defenders are on the field.
  • Draw – A tactic for starting or restarting a game.
  • Being within a stick length of an opponent is known as marking.
  • A sphere is a 7-inch-wide virtual space that surrounds a player’s head. This sphere cannot be broken by any stick checks directed at the head.
  • A yellow card is given to a player by the umpire to warn her about the dangerous play or unsportsmanlike behavior. The player is forced to take a three-minute break. If she persists, she will be handed a red card and ejected from the game.
  • 5D, 4O, 9 v 9 plus a goalie
  • The stick is always held in two hands.
  • Man-to-man defense is a type of defense where two people fight each other.
  • No shots beyond the 3-point line in basketball; 1 pass before shooting (not from the goaltender);
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Final Words

So, this was a quick review of the history of Lacrosse the oldest organized sport in North America. However, Lacrosse has grown in popularity and numbers of schools and players throughout the years. It is now the fastest-growing sport in high schools and universities across the United States. Hopefully, this article will help you to learn vital information about the game.


Who invented lacrosse?

Native American tribes in the northeast and plain states of modern-day Canada and the United States originated lacrosse in the 1100s. Hundreds of men played the game with a ball and sticks in the early days of lacrosse. Furthermore, these highly physical sports were played without the use of any protective equipment.

When did lacrosse begin, and where did it begin?

There is evidence that a form of lacrosse existed as early as the 17th century in Mesoamerica or Canada. Native American lacrosse was popular in modern-day Canada, but especially in the Great Lakes, the Mid-Atlantic, and the American South.

What is the origin of the name lacrosse?

The Algonquin tribe called the sport baggataway, and the Iroquois tribe called it tewaarathon before it was called lacrosse. According to legend, French settlers named it lacrosse because the stick resembled the crozier, the staff carried by their bishops at church. The crozier is known as a crosse in French.

What was the real name of lacrosse?

Native American Indians invented lacrosse, which was previously known as stickball.

Where is lacrosse most popular?

Lacrosse has been played by Native Americans in the United States since before European exploration. The sport is especially popular in the country’s northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

What is lacrosse’s purpose?

The goal of lacrosse is to score as many points as possible. When a player shoots the ball into the opponent’s net, he or she earns a point. The ball cannot be thrown into the net with the players’ hands.

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