The Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) is the provincially-recognized sanctioning governing body of the amateur sport of lacrosse within the province of Ontario. The OLA governs box lacrosse, men’s field lacrosse and women’s field lacrosse and is empowered by the national governing body, the Canadian Lacrosse Association. The Ontario Lacrosse Association is the largest provincial lacrosse governing body within Canada, consisting of 33,000 players, coaches, trainers, officials and volunteers. The OLA oversees 61 minor box lacrosse associations, 52 junior box lacrosse associations, 12 senior box lacrosse associations, 8 senior women’s box lacrosse associations, 18 women’s field lacrosse associations, 34 minor field lacrosse associations 16 junior men’s field lacrosse associations and 8 senior men’s field lacrosse associations.
As one of the oldest team sports in North America, the origins of lacrosse lie with the Native American people who lived in Ontario, Quebec and western New York. The first written rules were established in 1867, and although formal amateur provincial competition began in 1887, the Ontario Lacrosse Association was not established as the provincial governing body of the sport until ten years later. While initially only played outdoors, the game eventually found interest from arena owners who wished to ensure that their properties would be utilized year-round as opposed to only in the winter. In the 1930’s, the birth of “box lacrosse” (indoor lacrosse) increased the popularity of the sport among both athletes and observers. Although official competition was impacted by the number of participants available during both World War I and World War II, lacrosse teams have maintained activity on an annual basis since the inception of the Ontario Lacrosse Association.