NCAA hockey rules committee tweaks faceoffs, video replay

MARQUETTE – The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee failed to take action on overtime procedures, supplemental discipline or the use of three-quarter face shields instead of full-facial protection during its meeting this week in Indianapolis.

It did, however, standardize the length the goal pegs across all of college hockey.

NCAA hockey will only see a few subtle changes in 2014-15 concerning faceoffs, video replay, penalty shots and player safety while ice rinks will be required to have 10-inch goal pegs for nets by the 2016-17 season.

“I would say that generally, we dissected our game and ultimately believe our current rules are serving us well,” said Michigan State head coach and committee chair Tom Anastos in a statement. “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.”

The committee did recommend the expanded use of replay, such as reviewing whether or not a goal was scored before a penalty occurred. Also, if offsides or a too many men on the ice penalty is missed and a goal is scored, it is reviewable until the puck leaves the offensive zone. Previously, offsides and too many men penalties were only reviewable if the missed infractions directly led to a goal.

What still is not reviewable, however, are hits that lead to potential game misconduct and game disqualification penalties. The committee had considered a proposal that would have allowed referees to review video footage prior to issuing a penalty. A proposal to eliminate automatic one-game suspensions for game disqualifications was also shot down.

“I think the awareness that has been raised to this issue is important and significant,” Anastos said. “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.”

Anastos, who was commissioner of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association from 1998-2011, said the committee also discussed adjusting overtime procedures to reduce ties. The committee debated lengthening overtime periods or reducing overtime to four-on-four, but neither idea gained much traction, he said.

No action was taken either concerning the move from full face shields and cages to three-quarter face shields. The USHL uses three-quarter face shields and have been requested by players.

Other changes that were approved and passed along to the NCAA Rules Oversight Panel include:

Players who play the puck with their hand during a faceoff will receive a minor penalty, similar to the National Hockey League.

Also concerning faceoffs, the defending player will be required to put his stick down first except in center-ice faceoffs where the visiting team will put its stick down first; if the puck goes out of play when the offensive team is trying to score the faceoff will remain in the attacking zone; and the ensuing faceoff after a high stick or hand pass will be one zone closer to the offending team’s goal.

If the goal becomes dislodged by the goaltender during a penalty shot or shootout, the referee will allow a goal if the net was intentional dislodged or of the goal was obvious and imminent. The referee may also allow the team to shoot again. Also, if a player is awarded a penalty shot but injured on the play and unable to take the attempt, a player who was on the ice at the time of the infraction may take the shot.

The committee approved the use of a look-u line, which is a warning-track style line intended to warn a players they need to look up when approaching the boards. The look-up line, while not mandatory, is meant to reduce head and neck injuries.