GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Officials say they plan to get tough on illegal hits from behind during college hockey games.
The hits, which used to be called boarding or charging penalties, will now be called checking from behind. Violators will receive an automatic five-minute major and game misconduct.
"Anything from behind is going to be called checking from behind," said Greg Shepherd, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association supervisor of officials. "A game disqualification (for the offense) is a possibility, too."
A game disqualification means a player is ejected and must sit out the next game, as well. A game misconduct means the player is ejected only for the rest of the ongoing game.
The crackdown on checking from behind comes a few months after University of North Dakota defenseman Robbie Bina broke his neck as a result of an illegal hit by Denver forward Geoff Paukovich in the WCHA Final Five tournament in St. Paul.
Bina missed the end of last season and will miss this season as he recovers from the injury.
Paukovich was given a two-minute minor penalty for the hit. He was later suspended for a game after it was reviewed.
Another big change in rules this season will be the addition of video replay.
Officials will be allowed to review all possible goals on a monitor.
"It's going to be big," Shepherd said. "Video replay will change the game a little bit. We did it last year on a trial basis in Denver and Colorado Springs and it worked great."
A replay person will be at every rink to bring down the replay for an official to decide whether to review a goal.
"I think it's a great step for the league as a whole," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "We want to be sure to get the call right and hopefully this is the way to do it."
Among other changes:
-Players will be allowed to direct the puck into the net with their skate, as long as the skate is on the ice and there is no kicking motion.
-A player will be allowed to have a skate in the crease when a goal is scored, as long as he is not hindering the goaltender. "I think that's a big change," Shepherd said. "The big time will be during power plays."
-Goaltenders will be allowed to freeze the puck only in the act of making a save.
-Goals will not be allowed if the net is lifted from its moorings, even if it doesn't come off.
-Officials have been instructed to call the game the same from beginning to end.
"Some people think that in the last five minutes of the game, officials should put away the whistles," Shepherd said. "But it will be called the same throughout the game."