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State Association Penalty Authority Among Ice Hockey Changes

Date: 5/5/06

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 5, 2006) — A rule to provide state high school associations with greater authority in assessing game disqualification penalties was among 11 rules revisions approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Ice Hockey Rules Committee at its April 23-24 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The previous rule did not specify that state association authority,” said NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee Chairperson Ray Streicher. “We are trying to provide them with the ability to implement stronger penalties when the actions warrant it.”

Continuing with an emphasis on sportsmanship, Rule 6-1-11 was revised to increase the penalty for racial/ethnic/gender slurs and obscene language and gestures from a misconduct to a game misconduct. The committee also changed the verbiage regarding obscene language and gestures from “to officials” to “directed at officials.” “All racial/ethnic/gender slurs and obscene language and gestures shall never be tolerated and must be treated more severely, and this increased penalty clearly sends that message,” Streicher said. “In addition, the committee addressed the verbiage regarding how such slurs and gestures are directed at officials and made an editorial change to more accurately define and reflect what that means.”

The committee added awarded goals to three situations where the action prevents an obvious and imminent goal. Rule 6-9-3 was amended to say “If this illegal act prevents an obvious and imminent goal, a goal shall be awarded.” The committee felt that the former penalty rewarded an illegal act with the opportunity of preventing a goal, while the new rule automatically awards a goal.

Infractions of Rules 6-36-1 (throwing the stick on the ice) and Rule 6-39-3 (tripping) formerly called for a penalty shot even when the goalkeeper was removed from the ice. Since those penalties called for the goalkeeper to come back on the ice and rewarded the team committing the foul, the committee upgraded the penalties for both to an awarded goal. Rule 6-22-2, which addresses interference, added verbiage regarding obstruction. The committee felt that by adding the extra wording, more emphasis would be placed on cracking down on the type of play that restricts the speed and skill of high school ice hockey.

Two rules designed to enhance state high school association administration of contests were also revised. The word “recommended” was added to Rule 6-37-1 so that it now reads “There shall be three periods, each consisting of 15 minutes of actual play, with recommended intermissions of 12 minutes between periods.” The committee made this change to give state associations flexibility in the length of intermissions due to each state’s unique rink and time issues. Rule 6-37-3 now reads “By state association adoption, running time may be utilized at any time when a team is leading another by a specified number of goals.” The former rule stipulated that running time may commence after two periods or during the third period. This revision provides for state association adoption of running time at any time during the game, rather than in just the third period.

As a means of placing a greater responsibility with the coach for ensuring that players are wearing proper equipment for games, the penalty for Rule 3-4-1a was modified. A misconduct was formerly applied for the first offense; now it is a team warning for the first offense and a misconduct for a further offense. “The responsibility for players wearing proper equipment should lie with the coaches, not the officials,” Streicher said. “This revision places a greater onus on the coach to ensure the players are wearing proper equipment and it also allows for some preventive officiating during warm-ups.”

In another equipment-related revision, the word “stick” was moved from Rule 3-4-2 to Rule 3-4-1. As a result, the stick now is recommended equipment, rather than required equipment. In an effort to place assistant referees in better position to make calls such as offsides and icing, Rule 5-4-1b was modified.

The rule, which formerly stipulated that “assistant referees will conduct all faceoffs, with exception of center ice faceoffs to start the game,” has been revised to say that “assistant referees will conduct all faceoffs, with exception of center ice faceoffs at the start of a period and after a goal.” The committee felt that the first judgment that is typically made is for offsides or icing, and with one assistant referee at the center ice and the other across, neither is in position to make a quick call.

The committee increased the penalty for deliberately displacing the cage when the puck is about to enter the goal from a penalty shot to an awarded goal. Ice hockey is played by 37,004 boys in 1,474 high schools nationwide, according to the 2004-05 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. Additionally, 7,398 girls in 431 high schools nationwide participate in ice hockey.

Click here for detailed rule change descriptions

Bruce Howard or John Gillis, 317-972-6900

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