Joe Babik, ECHL Director of Communications
The ECHL Board of Governors held their Pre-Season Meeting on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia. The following on-ice rule changes were approved by the Board of Governors:
Following the NHL’s lead, the ECHL Board of Governors, under recommendation from the ECHL Rules Committee, unanimously approved the revised language for Rule #48 – Illegal Check to the Head.
Rule #48, now broadened in its application, no longer applies only to lateral or blind-side hits to the head, but rather any “hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted.” In determining whether to apply this penalty, the referee shall use his discretion to judge whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was unavoidable
A minor penalty or match penalty may be assessed under this rule as there is no longer a provision for a major penalty or game misconduct.
The language for Rule #41 – Boarding has also been expanded to state that “a boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously.” The amended rule language now includes the word “pushes”, while “defenseless” replaced the previously used “vulnerable”.
Regardless of the on-ice penalties assessed for these rule violations, the offending player may also be subject to supplementary discipline from the league office.
“The ECHL will continue to take all necessary steps to protect and provide player safety while also understanding the importance of maintaining the physical aspect inherent in the game of hockey,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murray. “We feel the implementation of these revisions will provide uniformity in the enforcement of these rules throughout all levels of professional hockey as there should be no confusion for players, coaches and officials in the application of these penalties.”
As previously announced, the ECHL has also adopted the attainable icing standard in conjunction with no-touch icing. Under this icing standard, the linesman shall have discretion to wave off apparent icing infractions on attempted passes if those passes are deemed receivable (attainable). In order for the linesman to wash out the icing for this reason, the receiving player’s stick must be on the attacking side of the center red line.