EIHL Rule Changes Should Be Welcomed

The EIHL have announced its rule changes for next season. It was a little late but despite the groans and moans of some should be embraced.

First up was the change to the icing rule. Inline with most leagues now the EIHL has adopted the hybrid icing rule replaced the touch up. It is positive move. Hybrid icing is a way to speed up games as no longer do the defence have to skate all the way back to touch the puck but still rewards forwards for chasing down. The difference is that collisions into the boards are avoided as the race is the faceoff dots and so is safer for players.

For the linesmen though it is another area were judgement is needed and here lies the groans of the fans. That is not wholly justified though. If it is a marginal call the linesmen can opt to wait till the touch up if it is even at the faceoff dots. Also if it is a decision between a fans call and an officials I would go with the officials. UK fans are passionate but that does sometimes cloud their judgement. Any change to the rules also takes time for the fans to get used too. When zero tolerance was brought in and when 2 referees were introduced the moans in the stands were audible as fans missed calls and players were still stuck in their old mind set. It will be something similar here but anything that prevents negative play needs to be welcomed.

And negative play will be harder with the second rule. The bluelines in the EIHL are being brought into line with the IIHF rule by being moved closer to the center line. It is great that the EIHL is coming into line with the IIHF. It can only benefit the national team as players will be playing to the same rules every game and when there are only 5 internationals some seasons it is a big change for some.

However it is perhaps less well thought out. The delay by the EIHL in announcing this change has meant not all arenas will be ready in time of the start of these season and it will not be fully implemented until the 2015/16 season.  It is not a big deal with the massively varying sizes of ice in operation in the EIHL but you do wish that these announcements had been made in April and not a month before the start of the season.

The EIHL should be praised for making the changes and making their rules inline with the IIHF. After all if Team GB are to succeed in the international spectrum then there is more to do than just youth development and this addresses some of that. It should also turn into a fan favourite with the changes rewarding attacking play and giving teams options to run new plays and be more inventive.

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