The evolution of lacrosse has provided an interesting chapter in Canadian sports history.

Baggataway transformed into field lacrosse which, in turn, morphed into the indoor, seven-man box game. Later, the rover position was eliminated and today’s six-man version of box lacrosse was established.

But, wait — what about lacrosse on horseback?

If hockey nuts can take to the ice to experiment with Canada’s National Summer Sport (note the word “summer”), why not let the horsey set get into the act.

Polocrosse originated as an indoor game at English riding schools and was later popularized in Australia where rules were adopted to suit outdoor conditions. Polocrosse was played on a field 60 by 160 yards with goalposts eight feet apart inside an 11-yard semi-circle at both ends of the field.

Each team consisted of six players, divided in half.(called sections), each section having an attacker, a centre and a guard. The sections then play alternate eight-minute “chukkas” or periods.

To score, a player must throw the ball through the goalposts from outside of the circle (crease).

In June, 1954, polocrosse was foisted onto the Canadian scene by a group of giddy enthusiasts in Qu’appelle, a community 45 miles northeast of Regina.

Golly! Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame member Harry Smith, AKA Jay Silverheels who made Western movie history as Tonto, would have been a natural in Polocrosse.

Fortunately, we haven’t been saddled with the permanance of polocrosse on the Canadian sports landscape.


Editor’s notes:

  • The modern game was developed in Australia before the Second World War.
  • The Polocrosse World Cup has been every four years since the first tournament held in 2003
  • Polocrosse is still played in Canada

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