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.”