New rules aimed at increasing offensive opportunities in men’s and women’s ice hockey go into effect this season.
Among the changes is to allow some displacement of the goal posts as long as the posts remain in contact with the pegs or pins. For a goal to be awarded in those situations, the posts must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player. The referee must determine that the puck would have entered the net between the normal positions of the goal posts.
Goals that ricochet into the net off an attacking player’s skates will be allowed, unless the referee determines that the puck was intentionally kicked.
The Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committees have issued a number of interpretations in this area recently, and members believe this clarification removes any judgment or doubt for the on-ice officials.
Another rules change for this season is that all hand passes, including those in the defensive zone, will be illegal. The referee will stop play on any hand pass, and the faceoff will be in the offending team’s defensive zone. Additionally, if the team commits the violation in its defensive zone, that team will not be able to change players before the ensuing faceoff.
Conferences can adopt an overtime procedure that limits the number of players on the ice to four on each side. This can also be implemented in nonconference games, if both teams agree before the game starts.
The National Hockey League has used this system in recent years, but the NCAA hockey community has not reached consensus on this as the best approach. A five-on-five format is the default procedure if the four-on-four approach is not used.
Additionally, goal judges will be recommended but not required for NCAA games.