The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee is proposing more stringent rules and enforcement standards regarding contact to the head. If approved, beginning next season, a violation will carry a minimum of a major penalty and a game misconduct or disqualification penalty.
A major penalty calls for the offender to be ruled off of the ice for five minutes, during which time a substitute is not permitted.
The proposal must be considered by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel in July before implementation.
“Player safety is critically important to the college hockey community,” said Forrest Karr, chair of the committee and director of athletics at Alaska Fairbanks. “Players will be penalized severely for contact that targets the head and neck.”
Karr said student-athlete safety is of the utmost importance to the NCAA and the committee, as witnessed by the NCAA’s contact-to-the-head rule originally approved in 2003. In addition, the committee believes the NCAA’s strong stance on hitting from behind has altered player behavior, making the game safer.
New icing rule proposed
Recommendations to rules that continue to encourage speed, skill and scoring chances in the game were also proposed during the committee’s annual meeting on June 8-10 in Indianapolis.
Among those is a change to the icing rule that combines the current automatic procedure with the touch-up system used professionally. In the new model, the official determines which player will reach the puck first, using the faceoff dots as a reference point. If it is determined to be the attacking player, icing is waved off. If it is the defending player, icing is called. A tie goes to the defender.
In addition, the committee approved a rule to enforce icing throughout the game. Previously, shorthanded teams were allowed to ice the puck. This new rule has been used in USA Hockey Player Development Camps.
“In keeping with the committee’s philosophy to encourage skill and create scoring chances, this change will enhance power-play opportunities,” Karr said. “After lengthy discussion, the committee concluded that the previous rule inappropriately provided relief for a team that committed an infraction.”
Committee members also addressed a proposal to allow optional half shields as legal equipment for men’s ice hockey only. The committee identified the need for additional scientific data before a formal proposal can be forwarded to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.
In other actions, the committee:
- Kept overtime largely unchanged, with the exception of having goalkeepers change ends.
- Removed the obtainable pass rule.
- Altered the delayed-penalty rule to provide the non-offending team a power play, even if a goal is scored during the delay.
- Appointed Ed McLaughlin, Niagara University director of athletics, as chair.