PROPOSED CHANGES

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee proposed several changes intended to improve the game during its meeting this week in Indianapolis. A complete list of proposals will be distributed to coaches and conference commissioners for comment and must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will meet on July 16.

Hand Pass by Faceoff Player: The players taking a faceoff are not allowed to use their hand to play the puck. A violation of this rule will result in a minor penalty, similar to the NHL rule.
Faceoff Procedure: The defending team’s faceoff player shall be required to put the stick down first. Previously, the attacking team was required to do so. Center ice faceoffs will continue to require the visiting team to put the stick down first.
Goal pegs: 10-inch goal pegs that are anchored into the ice or floor must be in place at all NCAA levels by the 2016-17 season.
Faceoff Location: Offensive Scoring Opportunity: If the offensive team is attempting to score and the puck goes out of play, the faceoff will remain in the attacking zone.
Faceoff Location: High stick/hand pass: In these cases, the ensuing faceoff will be one zone closer to offending team’s goal.
Video Replay: Several changes were made to the criteria for allowing video replay and the process followed:
• It is reviewable to determine if a goal was scored before a penalty occurred.
• If an offsides or too many men on the ice penalty is missed and a goal is scored, it is reviewable until the puck leaves the offensive zone. This replaces the previous wording that only allowed the review to occur if the missed play directly led to a goal.
• It was clarified that video review may be used without the restriction of games that are being broadcast on television.
Penalty Shot/Shootout: During a shootout or penalty shot, if the goal becomes dislodged by the goalkeeper, the referee shall either award a goal (if intentional or if the goal was obvious and imminent) or allow the team to shoot again.
Penalty Shot: If a player awarded a penalty shot is injured and unable to take the shot, one of the players on the ice at the time of the infraction shall be chosen to shoot.
Look-Up Line: The committee approved the use of a warning-track style line intended to positively impact safety near the boards. The use of this line will not be mandatory, but is permissible.

After a thorough review of its game, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee made several subtle rules recommendations during its meeting this week in Indianapolis.

The largest action items (see sidebar) dealt with points of emphasis regarding teams that delay during icing situations, diving and embellishment, and to clarify rules regarding contact between goaltenders and attacking players.

“I would say that, generally, we dissected our game and ultimately believe our current rules are serving us well,” said Tom Anastos, chair of the committee and head men’s coach at Michigan State. “We continue to work to find ways to improve our game long-term, but I would say we’re pleased with where we are right now.”

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will discuss men’s and women’s ice hockey recommendations during a conference call on July 16.

Focusing on further education and attention to the identified points of emphasis were important to the committee after discussing the issues with the coaching community.

Several discussion items – including adjusting the overtime procedures – were also vetted but did not receive much support. For example, ideas for lengthening the amount of time used for overtime and reducing the number of players competing in that period – currently 4-on-4 – did not gain significant traction.

Rules addressing game misconducts and disqualifications took up a large portion of the agenda. The committee considered many proposals for reviewing penalty situations but ultimately decided to keep supplemental discipline policies with conference offices.

“I think the awareness that has been raised to this issue is important and significant,” said Anastos. “In meetings with conference commissioners, coaches and coordinators of officials, we believe it is best to continue to funnel reviews of this type as we are now.”

The committee used part of its meeting time to break into separate groups for representatives from men’s and women’s ice hockey. As part of those discussions, the women’s committee members proposed an experimental rule to allow the puck to be played legally with the stick at any height. This concept has received support in the women’s coaching community, and the committee thought allowing some experimentation would be a positive step.

The men’s committee members continued ongoing conversations regarding the potential use of three-quarters face shields. While no action was taken, the committee hopes to continue data collection efforts and gather appropriate comparisons.

“We are trying to be sure we help to collect data from any source that can be compared to NCAA data,” Anastos said. “The process has been challenging, but we will continue to work with leagues that use the shield so we can make an informed proposal if appropriate. We just don’t have enough information at this point.”