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IMLax Rule of the week.  Goal crease and Goalie privileges.


These principles and rules apply to every age group.  There is a lot of confusion about the principles but if we break them down it is fairly simple.


First, the Crease Commandments, then next week we will look at the special rules for goalies.


  1. The ~57 foot painted line that delineate the crease is part of the crease.  Touch the line, you are in the crease.
  2. A player on his offensive side of the field cannot have any part of his body touching the ground inside the crease during live play.  This does not have to be a voluntary act.  If the offensive player is legally pushed into the crease by a defender (think man/ball around a loose ball right outside the crease, then it is a violation. 

This violation is a technical foul.Because it usually happens while the offensive team is in possession of the ball, or while the ball is), the remedy is blow the play dead and give the ball to the defense at the spot of the foul.However, if the attackman runs through the crease (think chasing a defender on the ride or hounding a goalie who has the ball while a defender is in possession of the ball, then it is a flag down, time serving penalty.If the flag down ends with the ball still in the defensive side of the field, it is a restart at the face-off X (like any other time serving penalty restart in the defensive half).


  1. An Offensive player’s crosse (but not his hands holding his crosse) may touch the ground inside the crease.  For instance, scooping a loose ball, or batting a loose ball towards the goal, or leaning on it to keep one’s balance.  As we will discuss next week, the offensive player’s crosse may not make contact with the goalie or the goalie’s equipment within the imaginary vertical cylinder rising skyward from the crease line.


  1. An offensive player in the crease during live ball will stop play even if it is not the offensive player’s fault.  It will still end any advantage.  (Think ball up top with a midfielder in possession and a close D pole gives a cutting attackman a little hip shove into the crease.). Flag down, immediate whistle, D pole goes to the sin bin for 30 seconds for interference


  1. No defensive player who is in possession of the ball outside the crease may touch the ground inside the crease while still in possession of the ball.  This applies to field players and goalies.  It is always just a turnover, and the restart will be laterally from the goal outside the box.


  1. No defensive player (other than the specially equipped goalie) may enter the crease and attempt to block a shot or “act as the goalie” in the mouth of the goal.  If the properly equipped goalie is messing around with a loose ball by the end line and a D pole enters the crease and stands around in front of the goal mouth “just in case,” this is a violation.  This is a safety rule, they aren’t equipped, can’t do it.  First violation on a team is a technical foul (pay on or time serving depending on whether other team is in possession.  Second violation by ANY player on the team is a personal foul (one minute releasable unsportsmanlike penalty). However, a defensive player may legitimately enter the crease to play a loose ball on the ground in front of the goal mouth, we are talking about being in a position to potentially block shots.



  1. No defensive player (usually the goalie but it applies to all of them) who takes possession of the ball in the crease may remain in the crease with the ball for more than four seconds.  Always a turnover.



Those are the principles for the crease that always apply.  Here are a couple that, depending on when they are committed, will determine whether a goal counts or not.

  1. If an offensive player leaves his feet (jumps or dives) in the act of shooting and lands in the crease, the goal will NOT count even if the player lands after the shot crosses the goal line.
  2. If an offensive player shoots with a foot on the ground, but his momentum (or the momentum supplied by a defender!) takes him into the crease, the goal WILL count if the ball crosses the goal line before the player touches the ground in the crease (or the goal, or the goalie, or the goalie’s equipment).  It will NOT count if the touching of the ground, keeper, or goal happens before the ball crosses the goal line.
  3. This is true even if the player was illegally pushed or checked into the crease by a defensive player.  If he touches the ground, goalie or goal before the ball crosses the goal line, NO GOAL.  Play is over, penalty enforced, Offense has the ball outside the box.





This is the first in what will hopefully be a weekly email blast during the season.  We here at the league are going to address a rule or a couple of rules that we hear are causing some confusion, or for which we are seeing repeated violations (cough, cough, cross check hold, but that’s for next week!).  The distribution list for this email is all coaches and all referees, so everyone should literally be on the same page. 

This week we are going to focus on the “attempted pass before shot” rule for the littlest guys, the K/1 (8U) bobbleheads and 2/4 grade (10U) age classifications.

First, the Rule.  This rule is a couple of years old, but we lost all of last year, so let’s refresh. (I’m only going to review the U8 rule because of the lack of after goal face-offs there are a lot more situations involving the pass before shot scenario.  At 10U it only applies after a faceoff).

Rules 4.2 and 4.22 are where we go to find our process.

Rule 4.2 (covering the beginning of the game) provides in relevant part “Before a team can shoot the ball off of the initial possession, there must be one attempted pass.”

Rule 4.22 covers what to do after a goal, and other restarts, and provides:

(A) Post-Goal: The official will remove the ball from the goal, and it will be given to the team that was scored upon along the goal line extended. No restart shall take place with any player within 5 yards of the ball carrier. The whistle will be blown by the official, and play will resume. Before a team can shoot the ball off of the initial possession, there must be one attempted pass. (emphasis added, edited for clarity)

(B) After a Stoppage: Restarts shall be nearest the spot where the ball was at the time the whistle was blown. No restart shall take place with any player within 5 yards of the ball carrier. If the ball is within 15 yards of the goal, it shall be restarted laterally 5 yards from the sideline nearest to the spot of the ball at the time of the whistle.

So, from the starting face-off every quarter, there must be a pass before a shot, by the team winning the faceoff.  After a goal is scored, there must be a pass before a shot by the team that was scored upon.

On other restarts (out of bounds, penalties, times out, etc.), or on a change of possession in open play there is NO requirement for a pass.

Pass here means the act of passing, not necessarily the act of a completed pass, because those are more scarce than goals at this age!

Also, at 8U after every goal and stoppage of play the referee should look to the on-field coaches and ask if they want to sub before the restart. If the ref isn’t looking, the on-field coach should speak up and ask for the chance to sub on these dead balls if they need to.