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NCAA Proposed Rule Changes

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INCH released the list of rule changes that the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Committee will take to the Playing Rules Oversight Committee in July. These would go into effect for next season.

The Changes:

-Contact to the head would be a minimum of a 5-minute major and game misconduct or qualification

-Not allowing icing while a team is shorthanded

-Modified icing

-A penalty would still be called if a goal was scored during a delayed call.

-Switching ends of the ice in overtime.

-They're also going to do more research before deciding what to about facemasks.

I'll be brief since I covered most of this in May. The contact to the head rule puts hits to the head on the same level as checks from behind, which I've argued is the right thing to do. Then again, I've never been a big fan of college hockey's checking from behind rule, since I think there is a class of hits from behind worthy of only a 2-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct, and the same is probably true for hits to the head.

The only one I have a significant problem with is not allowing icing while a team is shorthanded. I understand the intended benefit is to increase scoring. But as a result of making powerplays more effective, we'll end up with either a)more ticky-tack penalty calls deciding close games or b) an unwillingness from officials to call marginal infractions, returning us back to the clutch-and-grab era of a few years ago. Neither seems all that appealing to me.

As for the facemasks, USCHO is doing a pair of stories on the facemask issue, with the first article talking with Paul Kelly, who is advocating for the half face shield. It's the same set of talking points where, if you were talking about any other piece of hockey equipment, people would write it off as lunatic ranting. Why a certain section of the face is the one special exception is beyond me.

Towards the end, it does get to the heart of the push, which is that it's harder to sell a game that doesn't look exactly everyone else. But college hockey does just fine getting players to the pros--just ask Wisconsin--and it's not really worth making the game that much less safe for any slight advantages it might have.

It's still likely a non-issue since any insurance company is going to weigh the cost of the "false sense of security"--which any reputable study shows is actually a real sense of security--against the cost of Duncan Keith's false set of teeth, and from there it's a pretty simple decision.