Monday, June 18, 2007

Rule Changes

The USHL put out an official release about the rule changes being put into effect this coming season.

Changes to the ice surface: The ice surface will mirror the National Hockey League with goal lines moved back to eleven feet from the end boards. In addition the blue lines will be pushed towards the red Line to make the attacking zones 64 feet, a difference of four feet. The changes are intended to make the end zones larger with the anticipated result being increased offense.

Sticks: Stick curvatures have been increased from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch, bringing USHL rules in alignment with those used in the NCAA and NHL.

Goaltending Equipment: Goaltenders in the USHL will now be required to wear goaltending equipment that is reduced in size, mirroring what has happened over the last couple of years in the NHL. "We gave the teams a grace period on this issue last season. This year it is going to be mandatory that they follow the regulation and we will be more stringent in making sure our teams are obeying the regulation," Brand said.

Line Changes/Puck out of play: If a player (non-goaltender) in his defensive zone shoots the puck over the glass, his team will not be allowed to make a line change until after the ensuing face-off.

Face-offs: A player who commits a face-off violation will not be permitted to take the
ensuing face-off in place of the ejected center.

Icing: In addition to the above changes, the USHL will try a new icing procedure which will be testing it during pre-season games. "The best way to describe our new procedure is to call it an attainable touch icing. It's the same as possession (touch) icing except it addresses any perceived danger that could come with a collision as two players race for the puck," Brand said. Once the puck crosses the goal line the linesman will make a determination by the end zone face-off dot which player would have touched the puck first.

I'm always a bit skeptical about rule changes at first, but it sounds like the USHL is trying to mirror itself more and more like the NHL, which could be a good thing.

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