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Spectator and Coach Abuse of Officials

Red River Lacrosse Association

To Our Members:

      We received this letter from a Mother on the abuse experienced by one of our young referees. The abuse of our Officials is once again on the rise, we as the Lacrosse community must work together to remove the harassment that is driving away our refs.  The RRLA has tried many avenues to relay the message to Coaches Parents and Players that without refs we have no game or League.

To whom it may concern:

I am a parent of one son who is a lacrosse player and one who is a lacrosse referee and I am asking you what is it going to take to gain some respect and professionalism in the sport of lacrosse in Manitoba?

The level of immaturity from spectators and coaches in this sport is ridiculous and I would like to know who I have to speak with in order to get some changes made?

I have a couple of suggestions, you might like to consider adopting a Respect in Sport program like hockey has or maybe educating the parents on some basic rules of lacrosse in order to cut down and hopefully eliminate the amount of aggressive screaming at the referees. 

Coaches and spectators cannot see every angle of the court, they scream at a ref for making a call and they scream at a ref for not making a call, coaches are calling the refs over and aggressively asking them why they did or did not make a call during a play.   Maybe the coaches can be educated to number one take a breath and relax, communicate in a clam manner and evolve their communication skills to that of educating a ref rather than abusing them.  There is time in between periods to discuss things or after the game in a mature and professional manner.

I am also wondering if you can pass on a message from me to some of your Coaches?

When would be a good time for me to come into your workplace with about 50-70 spectators and yell at you that you are doing your job wrong, you suck and tell you to go “F*** Yourself”! I believe Workplace Health and Safety would have a problem with that.  Why is it acceptable for coaches to behave this way in a sport? Refs are employees, so how is this safety in their workplace?  In a day of political correctness and accountability I suggest this sport considers some changes if you truly are choosing for it to be recognized as professional.

In many of the games I have been to in the last four years referees are completely abused and it is a joke that you do nothing to change this. You say that the number one reason referees don't return is because they are abused. They are supposed to fill out a incident report form?  Some of these coaches seriously require anger management classes the Lacrosse Association might want to consider this as a coaching requirement.

I have recommended lacrosse to other parents because I believe it is excellent exercise and I believe there is great opportunity for the growth and success of lacrosse in our Country, one of the families we had promoted lacrosse to last year refused to put their child back in because they said it was too low brow. Just one example. 

With Sincerity and Kindness,

A Referee’s Mother


To All:

      In response to this letter, I understand why this parent is so concerned. I have always found it impossible to wrap my head around how an adult can treat a young referee with such disregard; most of them are still children. We have tried the Code of Conduct, if their child played Hockey then the Parents have done Respect in Sport, we have talked with most of our coaches about proper attitudes on the bench, plus we have discussed this problem at RRLA meetings numerous times over the years.  We are working on training and support for our young refs but it takes time.

     I was at Richmond on Thursday and ran into a few of these opinionated Dads who would not back down from this behaviour to the point where I was going to have them removed from the arena, and this was Novice. The outcome of an adult berating a 15 year old like we have in Hockey and now Lacrosse, would garner a call to the police if this happened anywhere else but at the rink. If someone treated your children in the same inappropriate manner would you not find it unacceptable? We have tried education, peer pressure and at one point we barred all parents from the rinks. For some reason some of the parents we have today feel it is acceptable to verbally abuse kids because they paid their registration fees. We have suspended several Coaches, even a Parent this year for bad behaviour, we have discussed pre-game meetings on the floor for the coaches and referees to convey how the game should be played, coaches are not to directly interact with the referees other than through their team captains and nowhere in the coaches’ training manual does it say they can abuse the referees. It seems that sometimes we are fighting an uphill battle, but we will persevere.

The responsibility to correct this type of behaviour does not rest solely with RRLA Executive or the referees.  We need, and encourage, cooperation from all of the fellow parents and spectators at each game.  Please consider that any referee getting yelled at as if it were your own child.  The RRLA expects all parents to speak up, in a respectful manner, if you notice someone getting out of hand and acting inappropriately, and ask the offending spectator to please refrain from the behaviour.  We also encourage any spectator to take the offending spectator’s name and report it directly to the RRLA Executive, and we will take the appropriate action even if it means having them banned from future attendance.  Lastly, any parent or spectator that is banned from games will be listed by name on the RRLA webpage for a minimum of 12 months. 

The RRLA Board is willing to listen to any suggestions on how we handle this and that includes mass ejections of parents and coaches who are acting abusive. In the meantime we have to support our referees – 1 warning to desist and then the offender should be ejected, within reason.


Andrew Jolly
RRLA President

Competitive Introduction Box Coaching Clinic


As per the Shamrocks request, we have added a Competition Introduction coaching clinic on May 13th/14th at Glenwood Community Centre. Please share this information with the person who is responsible for coaching on your respective boards.

They may register through here:


Dallas Smith

Executive Director

Manitoba Lacrosse Association


Coaching Clinic May 6 and 7 - RKCC Arena

Our coaches clinic with former NLL player and coach Aime Caines will be this weekend, May 6 and 7. Aime was in Winnipeg a few years ago and did a fantastic job. He will pass on some fantastic techniques and skills for advancing the level of play of lacrosse in Winnipeg.  This clinic is open to any coaches that are interested in attending. 

Here is the schedule for coaching clinic

  • Saturday May 6th 9am till noon - Bantam and Midget
  • Saturday May 6th 1pm till 4pm - Tykes to Peewee
  • Sunday May 7th 9am till noon - All age groups

You will need a stick, running shoes, and notepad

Come learn from a pro

Sessions are at Richmond Kings.

The clinic will be in the format of classroom and on floor sessions.

All coaches are strongly encouraged to attend or send a representative from each team to attend this clinic.  

Please advise your Zone Rep of who will be attending from each team and what session they will attend by end of day Thursday May 4th. 

Any questions or details should be directed to Serge Balcaen at


RRLA Executive

Manitoba Provincial Team Tryouts- PeeWee

2016 Team MB PeeWee B-side Gold

Calling all PeeWee Age Group players.

Be a part of Team MB this upcoming August in Whitby, Ontario at the Canadian National Box Lacrosse Championships.

In 2016, Team MB won a B-side GOLD medal for only the second time in Manitoba's history.

In 2017, we are going out to defend this title and take on the best PeeWee players in the country.

Being part of Team MB means representing your province, competing at the highest level and being part of a great team. It also gives you memories that last a lifetime by playing at a National Championship.

Tryouts for Team MB (PeeWee) are all at Notre Dame Rec Centre:

Sunday, Apr 30th: 6pm- 7pm

Wednesday, May 3: 6pm-7pm

Sunday, May 7: 6pm-7pm

Wednesday, May 10: 6pm-7pm

Tryout Fee is $50.

Click on the link below to register for tryouts:




Dear Lacrosse Families,

Welcome to another season of lacrosse in 2017.  The Red River Lacrosse Association Executive have been working diligently this Fall and Winter to continue to resolve the challenges we had over the last few seasons.  We feel that 2016 ran better than 2015, but still has room for improvement.  Some of the upcoming changes we have implemented:


  1. The website has been revised to a SportsEngine platform and should be much better this year.
  2. Scheduling will be done by a sub-committee of each Zone on Sat April 8.The schedule will be available on our new website this year.The season will commence on April 24, 2017.
  3. The days of the week games will be respected as much as possible, however there will be weekend games to allow the clubs to have their Club Days.There are four club weekends planned.
    • Sidewinders: April 29/30
    • Gryphons: May 6
    • Falcons: May 7
    • Wizards: May 13
    • Shamrocks: Jun 10
    • Tournament Weekend will be Jun 2/3/4
      • Novice is at Gryphons
      • Peewee is at Sidewinders
      • Bantam is at Wizards
  4. The playoffs will be conducted as a week-long tournament style during the week of Jun 17 to 25.They will be completed prior to the end of June.
  5. Referees will have increased mentoring this year, with a focus on controlling the game and maintaining player safety.
  6. There will be increased focus on the conduct of coaches and Respect in Sport for all involved, including officials, players, and coaches.
  7. The A and B divisions will remain removed this year. Clubs are expected to create equal teams.This will ensure that players of all levels are encouraged to improve, and not just the top teams in each club.Playoffs will be tiered as in the past based on the season results.
  8. Novice will remain a No-Hitting league and emphasis will be placed on players not respecting this.

We look forward to the start of the 2017 season, and encourage all past players to return and enjoy the fastest game on two feet.   Good luck to all of your teams, and have a good season. 


Stay tuned to this website for League news, League schedules and general information.


2017 Playoffs

Congratulations to our Playoff Champions.  What a great weekend of lacrosse.

  • Novice A - Gryphons
  • Novice B - Sidewinders 2
  • Peewee A - Shamrocks 1
  • Peewee B - Sidewinders 1
  • Peewee C - Sidewinders 2
  • Bantam A - Ojibway
  • Bantam B - Gryphons
  • Midget - Falcons

See everyone next season.

Community Development Box Coaching Clinic


A final clinic has been added this year to ensure we have certified coaches on all benches.  The clinic will be held over two days on May 29 and May 31, 5-9 pm at Sport Manitoba.  Attendees must plan to attend both sessions.  Pre-clinic work is required to register.  Please share this information with the person who is responsible for coaching on your respective boards.

They may register through here:

Please contact Dallas Smith at if there are any issues with registering. 

RRLA Zones