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NCAA Hockey Rules Committees discuss changes to ice hockey rules

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The NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee ended a series of meetings on Wednesday which were intended to change the rules that govern how collegiate ice hockey at both men’s and women’s levels will be played for the next two seasons. (2014-15 is a rule change year, to clarify.) I will give my thoughts following the wording of each procedure.

“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.”

There were several proposals up for discussion, but none of them were in any way related to changing the way overtime is structured. That should remain five skaters a side for 5:00, followed by a shootout in conference games (for leagues like the Big Ten who enforce that tiebreak).

A hand pass rule was taken up where players taking a faceoff will not be allowed to propel the puck with their hand. Similar to the NHL rule, such an action will result in a minor penalty.

Next comes a tweak to the faceoff procedure itself. The defending team’s player taking the draw will be required to put his stick down on the ice first. This is in line with the procedure for center ice faceoffs, with the attacking team having had to put their stick down first before now.

If an attacking team is attempting to score and the puck were to go out of play, the faceoff would remain in the attacking zone. Seems like common sense, as I believe previously, the attacking team lost the puck back to the neutral zone, and the few feet of ice going with it.

The last three changes (or, potential changes that still have to be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, who meet July 16) include video replay. According to the proposal:
• 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.

Next comes a rule about a penalty shot or shootout attempt which makes sense. In the proposal, the referee can either award a goal or ask the penalty shooting team to re-take their attempt if the goal becomes dislodged intentionally by the goaltender. Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox was famously tied to this rule last season.

Finally, a new line may be painted on the ice at some arenas called a “look-up line.” It’s a line similar to baseball’s warning track, intended to be a positive when it comes to hits on the boards. According to the proposal, this line is not mandatory.

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