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Risk Minimization Rules Highlight Ice Hockey Changes for 2007-08

Date: 5/11/07

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 11, 2007) - Two rules revisions dealing with risk minimization highlighted seven changes 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 changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The requirement that dental guards be attached to the face mask was deleted from Rule 3-4-4. In addition, Rule 3-3-1 was modified to further define what constitutes acceptable throat/neck protection gear.

"The committee felt that when the dental guard is attached to the face mask, players tend to let it partially dangle from their mouths or let it hang out altogether," said Rick Majerus, chairperson of the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee. "That presents a risk of injury. In addition, this change encourages use of form-fitting dental guards."

The penalty for this rule was modified in such a way as to give the official the ability to warn teams first about dental guards before assessing a penalty.

Rule 3-3-1 was amended to say that "acceptable throat/neck protection includes a mask with 'flapper'-style protector attached or a mask with an extension worn in combination with one of the following:

"A separate neck guard providing throat protection or a neck guard as part of a manufactured undergarment providing throat protection (check protector extensions do not satisfy the requirement)."

"The committee members spent a lot of time discussing this and coming up with the correct language for it," Majerus said. "They felt that the original definition of 'throat guard' wasn't specific enough."

Two other rules altered by the committee were:

  • Rule 3-1-4 - revised to change the maximum curvature of the stick blade from ½" to ¾" measured on the bottom of the blade from the toe to the head.
  • Rule 6-12-1 - revised to say that the puck shall be dropped by the official at the beltline. It formerly was dropped from knee height.
With a revision to 5-5-1b5, linesmen now can stop play if they see a high-stick infraction.

"Although linesmen traditionally have not called this infraction, it should be called by any official," Majerus said.

If an official makes a bad icing call, the faceoff now takes place in the attacking zone instead of the center ice, so it doesn't penalize the attacking team for the official's error. Rule 6-12-7 was modified to reflect that change.

In an editorial revision, the word "standing" was changed to "positioned" in Rule 6-12-5, which addresses players' positions at the time of a faceoff. The committee members felt the word "standing" suggests no movement, so they changed it to "positioned," which they felt implies and allows movement.

Ice hockey is played by 36,263 boys in 1,503 high schools nationwide, according to the NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey. Additionally, 7,152 girls in 445 high schools nationwide participate in ice hockey.

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 18,500 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; produces publications for high school coaches, officials and athletic directors; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, spirit coaches, speech and debate coaches and music adjudicators; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Howard or John Gillis, 317-972-6900
National Federation of State High School Associations
PO Box 690, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206

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