Sports

WLA will live with fighting ban

Langley Thunder player Kyle McEwen, left, fights with Nanaimo Timbermen opponent Tyler Matheson during a Western Lacrosse Association game last season at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena. - File photo
Langley Thunder player Kyle McEwen, left, fights with Nanaimo Timbermen opponent Tyler Matheson during a Western Lacrosse Association game last season at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena.
— image credit: File photo

The Western Lacrosse Association may not like it, but it will live with it.

The WLA board of governors agreed at an emergency meeting Saturday to abide by a new fighting ban implemented by the Canadian Lacrosse Association.

“We’re not happy with the rule,” said Earl Nicholson, Timbermen general manager. “But it’s going to be the interpretation of it that’s going to be key, with the officials.”

The CLA’s new Rule 45 brings down a game misconduct on any player who fights. If there is a clear instigator or clear aggressor, only the offending player will be ejected.

“Basically you’re going to be able to send your idiots out and take all the stars out of the game,” said Nicholson. “But if they interpret the rule correctly and don’t let that happen … then that’s the way it should be interpreted.”

When the CLA made the rule change in December, it caught lacrosse leagues by surprise. The WLA was at one point considering ignoring the rule, but changed its mind this past weekend.

“Everybody else is following it and there’s a question of liability if you don’t follow it, so I don’t think we’ve got a lot of leeway,” Nicholson said.

The WLA’s official press release noted that the board of governors “voted reluctantly to comply” and had “concerns with the lack of clarity” of the wording of Rule 45.

“The governors of the WLA would like to see a decision-making process at the CLA that is well thought out, with due diligence, one that is fair to all participants and also places health and safety above all other considerations,” said Ed Ponsart, board chairman.

Nicholson said he doesn’t know if the rule will be positive or negative for the Timbermen specifically on the floor, saying he’ll have to wait and see how things are called by officials.

He said the fighting ban is generally well-intentioned.

“They’re going down the right road, they just haven’t hit all the right spots with it,” he said. "I think they can maybe clean it up as they go."

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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