INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. —Measures to reduce the risk of injury for participants and to provide an additional scenario for instant replay usage comprise the prominent components of the 2020-21 high school ice hockey rules changes.
The National Federation of State High School Associations Ice Hockey Rules Committee proposed a total of five rules modifications as a result of its meeting April 27-28, which were all subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors. The committee’s meeting was held in an online format to comply with current health safety guidelines.
One of the risk-minimization changes was made to Rule 3-2, through which a more severe penalty may now be assessed to a player wearing skates that are deemed “dangerous.” Previously, a player with dangerous skates was given a warning and an opportunity to return to the game once the issue was corrected. In 2020-21, a first offense will warrant a game misconduct penalty.
Under Rule 7-6-1, a player who strikes an opponent with his or her hand may now receive a major penalty at the discretion of the official. Traditionally, improper hand contact that was not considered to be fighting constituted a minor penalty.
State associations that have authorized an instant replay system during games may now utilize it to review infractions that involve student-athlete ejections. This clause was added to Rule 9-13 as an accompaniment to the pre-existing instant replay situations, which include reviewing goals and undetected goals and determining the correct amount of time on the game clock.
Risk minimization was also the focus in Rule 7-13-3, where language was added to prohibit a player from moving an opponent’s glove, tooth or mouth protector that has fallen on the ice for the purpose of keeping it from the opponent’s possession. The stick was the only piece of equipment specified within the original version of the rule.
Finally, a subtle change was made to Rule 3-4-2 to clarify the purpose of the throat/neck protector as a “laceration” protector.
Written by NFHS Communications