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April 20, 2017

NCAA Hockey Rule Changes

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The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee initiated a new set of regulations for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 competition seasons. With any change, there is often an adjustment period in which rule interpretation becomes a little hazy or inconsistent. As this year’s collegiate hockey season winds down, LRT S looks at some of the most recent NCAA rule implementations.

Rule 9.4 – Game officials and players must wear helmets anytime they are on the ice.

Despite already enforcing that helmets be worn at all times during on-ice play, the NCAA moved to make their players and officials even safer through this rule change. Helmets must now be worn at all times, including warm-ups and player introductions. The exception is during the national anthem and post-game celebrations. Their rationale for this rule change was that there is increased danger to all individuals when a larger number of players, pucks, etc. are present on the ice.

Rule 9.5 – It is recommended that all players wear mouth guards.

It was formerly required of players to wear protective mouthpieces. The rule change was made after the committee reviewed NCAA injury data and noted limited enforcement of making mouth guards a required piece of equipment by game officials.  

Rule 91.1 – By conference policy (mutual consent of the participating teams), if the game is tied after the five-minute overtime period, teams may remove an additional skater (3-on-3) for a second five-minute overtime period. If no winner is determined after the second overtime period, the teams shall utilize a sudden-death shootout.

Several conferences had requested the ability to utilize the format described above to award points in conference standings. The National Collegiate Hockey Conference experimented with the procedure in 2015-16 and provided encouraging results. Therefore, the NCAA will now allow any conference to use the shoot-out after the 5-minute overtime period. The points awarded for a shoot-out victory will go toward conference standings, but will not have an effect on the national ranking system (game will be recorded as a tie).

Rule 93.4 – A coach’s challenge is required to obtain video replay for offsides and too many men on the ice, except for the last two minutes of the game and any overtime periods.

The NCAA Rules Committee had become concerned with the growing number of replay stoppages during the game, and in some instances, resulting in the incorrect overturning of goals. This rule change will not apply to playoffs where game officials will have the ability to review these areas due to the heightened importance.

Rule 93.7 – For postseason competition only, game officials can review plays involving a penalty that would remove student-athletes from the contest (e.g., game misconduct or disqualification).

Officials will be able to enforce any penalty because of the new video review criteria. Additionally, officials may review potentially undetected penalties that would result in the enforcement of a major penalty. The importance of the ejection of a student-athlete, especially in playoffs, warrants the use of replay to ensure proper implementation.

Intermissions shall be 15 or 18 minutes in duration. If a team chooses to use an 18-minute format, the visiting team must be notified prior to the contest with as much notice as possible.
In the past, the 18-minute format was successfully used in some NCAA championships to allow for better ice conditions.

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Photo courtesy of: soaringtoglory.com