Arena Lacrosse League to play 4-on-4 in Week 5

by Lance Winn

The Arena Lacrosse League announced today that this weekend's schedule (January 18 and 19) will see all four scheduled games be played in a 4-on-4 format.

"We have been thinking about trying this for two years now," stated ALL President Paul St. John. "We've experimented in pre-season but teams don't have all their top players so the games were ragged at times. After speaking with our GM's and league associates we came up with the idea of doing one weekend during the season and we chose Week 5".

St. John was asked why 4 on 4? What is the goal the league is trying to attain? "I've always had a passion for change, to be part of groups or leagues that want to be innovators, to move with the times, proactive. How can we open up the offensive end, make some room for the O guys to possibly get to the front of the net more often, get away from the perimeter game that lacrosse is now become known for, create a little more individuality instead of the constant swinging of the ball. In transition, one less player going to the bench to change should allow for more odd man fast breaks not interrupted by a line change, things like that. We'll have a look at it this weekend and go from there, if we get positive reviews, we'll discuss the possibility of adding some more weekends next season."

For the traditionalist, don't fret, you will see some 5-on-5 during these games as power plays will start 5-on-4. If the man up team is unsuccessful, teams will play 5-on-5 until the first dead ball.

"We had many discussions on how to play during power plays, but if we start at 4-on-3, what do you do if the man down team takes another penalty, add a player to the man up? In our opinion using the traditional 5-on-4 if we end up having multiple penalties is easier for our referees to maintain structure," added St. John.

Fans not able to see the games live this weekend can find the games here on the website video section usually by Monday night or Tuesday. Have a look and share your opinions on Twitter @ArenaLacrosse.