A little bit silly: English league rule changes

I was going to write about the olympics and why all leagues should release players to play but one thing caught my eye.
It was a rule change in England’s second tier that seems to have gotten the fans discussing.
On the surface it is just a run of the mill rule change like the ones any league introduce before any season. The rule states that should a player’s helmet come off he should head straight to the bench and not stop to pick up his helmet.
This got people on a forum discussing whether or not players should be forced to wear helmets and how far the leagues rules should go to protect it’s players.
The notion that players shouldn’t wear helmets is as out dated as not wearing a seatbelt. And this rule is just aimed at preventing players getting caught on the ice without an helmet. A good idea. I remember watching Manchester Phoenix forward bruce mulherin being hit by a clearance shot from a Belfast giants defenceman in the helmet. The shot broke mulherin’s helmet on the visor. It was an innocuous clearance that hit mulherin at centre ice. Now if his helmet had been knocked off mulherin could of been at centre ice without a helmet. Under this new rule he would have been on the bench had his helmet been knocked off and safely out of the way. Great rule then and that is what most people on the forum thought but is it really.
First of all I would like to say I am in favour of all helmets as you never know when injury could occur. Look at tour de France 2010 stage 1 when the dog ran into the peloton causing a pile up with many injuries but non serious or to the head.
But this rule is a little silly. If a player has his helmet knocked off it is usually as the result of a check.(otherwise it a penalty of an equipment violation). Therefore the play will have moved on. This will allow the player to skate to the bench as per the rule. But will result in.
1. A loose helmet on the ice causing obstruction.
2. A player sat on the bench who can not come on the ice without a helmet. Unless teams put spare helmets on the crowded bench with sticks, coaches, physio, drinks, towels and other players. He could take a teammates helmet but this may not fit properly causing another dangerous situation.
This of course is all pointless theory as this rule will never be called as the referee will be watching the play which will have moved on.
Other rules include making the transition area 1.5 m instead of 3 m making line changes bit more tricky but will clean the process up. A penalty shot is to be taken by the fouled player (which I always presumed was the case), a bench penalty has to be served by a player on the ice at the time of the infraction and no line changes following icing calls for the team at fault. (pretty much the norm nowadays and shows how far behind the EPL is.)

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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