Elite League Rules Changes

The Rapid Solicitors Elite League will introduce a couple of rule changes, which were implemented by the IIHF at their annual Congress this summer.

Hybrid Icing
Hybrid icing will now be used in all matches instead of touch icing. In summary, play is stopped immediately if the player on the opposing team reaches the face-off dot first, instead of skating all the way across the goalline to touch the puck. This type of icing is intended to reduce the number of collisions along the boards during touch icing, but still allowing the team that iced the puck to get to it first to wave off the icing.

In instances where the puck is shot around the end boards, travels down the ice and comes out the other end, the linesman has to determine who would have touched the puck first. If it’s the defending player, he calls an automatic icing but if it’s the attacking player he lets the play continue.

The new icing rule will be in force from the upcoming 2014-15 season.

Referee, Mike Hicks, said: “Hybrid icing has been discussed for a while now and it is a good thing for the Elite League that it has now been implemented. I’m sure many of the UK fans have been watching the NHL and noticed that the touch icing was replaced last season with hybrid icing.

“It is a great move forwards in player safety. It keeps the excitement and the game-flow going – and creates and forces the teams to race for the puck on potential icing situations. However, the linesmen now need to make a judgement call as to who would win the race to the puck by the hash marks. This reduces any potential injury situations with players racing the length of the ice and injuring themselves on the end boards.”

For a more detailed explanation of hybrid icing, click here.

Offensive Zones
The size of the end zones will be increased by one-and-a-half metres to bring the Elite League in line with the IIHF rule change. The bluelines will now be 22.86 metres from the end of the rink.

All clubs need to have this in place by the 2015-16 season, while a number of clubs will implement this for the upcoming 2014-15 campaign.

This includes the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, the venue for the Challenge Cup final and Nottingham’s National Ice Centre, the venue for playoff finals weekend.

Elite League chairman, Tony Smith, said: “We felt it was important for us to follow the IIHF proposals. The top leagues in the world will be implementing this and so should we.

“It should be of benefit to the GB national team as well. Any tournament they play will now have these end zone sizes and it is important they play all season long with the same size.”

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