San Diego Seals prepare for home opener

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Seals lacrosse team kicks off their home opener Saturday night when they host Rochester at Pechanga Arena. This marks the first time fans get to see the professional team up close in action, and for some, the first time watching box lacrosse.

The Seals play in the National Lacrosse League, comprised of 11 teams across the country but unlike traditional field lacrosse, a popular version of the sport, the Seals play box lacrosse.

“We only have an offense and a defense so there’s right-handed offensive players, left-handed offensive players and the same on the defensive end as well, as well as a goalie,” said forward Kyle Buchanan.

Similar to hockey, box lacrosse features a five-on-five format, with a goalie, and they change on every possession.

“So when we’re on offense, five guys run out offensively,” said Buchanan. “We change when we lose the ball, five guys run out defensively and of course, there’s those guys that do a little bit of both and play transition.”

Teams play four 15-minute quarters and have 30 seconds to shoot on offense using their stick, comprised of two basic parts — the head and the shaft.

“Something else specific to our stick is our pocket,” said Buchanan. “So kind of what the shape of our stick looks like and the reason I have mine like this, is because I like to have the ball just below my shooting strings. I have four of them right across the top there so that the ball can release quickly when I’m shooting and passing in traffic areas.”

A fast and physical game, Buchanan says defense cannot be penalized for body checking and cross checking, different than field lacrosse.

“Often times, you can’t wind up and two hand someone but within reason, you’re allowed to slash them anywhere from their shoulder to their hip as well as cross checking to keep them in front of you,” said Buchanan.

And when it comes to scoring, players can only shoot from the crease, the semi-circle surrounding the goal.

“There’s a lot of nuances that you kind of pick up and ask questions about throughout the game,” said Buchanan. “So we’re hoping to be a big part of that and teaching the San Diego community about the box lacrosse game because it’s really entertaining.”

The Seals are 1-2 on the season.

Saturday’s game begins at 7 p.m.

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