Earlier this year, USA Hockey solicited feedback on changes to its rule book.

You submitted. They responded.

USA Hockey released a 222-page document outlining the submissions, along with Rules Committee responses and rationale for their decisions.

Most of the proposals are minor modifications, housekeeping changes, or rewording of existing rules. There are some highlights:

  • #97 – Move to nine dots for faceoffs (Rule 612b) (Approved)
  • #128 – Remove the exception to allow a shorthanded team to ice the puck. Teams killing a penalty would now be called for icing. (Approved)
  • #68 – Adds to offenses resulting in a game misconduct: “(3) Uses language that is offensive, insulting, hateful or discriminatory in nature anywhere in the rink before, during or after the game  (Approved)

USA Hockey Director of Officiating Education Program and staff liaison to the Playing Rules Committee Matt Leaf explained the process.

“Playing rule change proposals are submitted to me as the staff liaison to the committee. Once received, I format them into a document that compares the current language to the proposed change for each proposal. The Playing Rules Committee meets early winter and will discuss and make a preliminary recommendation on each proposal. These recommendations are then forwarded on to the various councils/sections and committees and are also posted on USAHockey.com. The board of directors will review and make any amendments to the proposals during the Winter Meeting and they are again posted on USAHockey.com for all of our membership to see.”

“The Playing Rules Committee will meet once more during the Annual Congress in an open forum and will review each proposal, taking into consideration any feedback received from the respective councils/sections and committees. At this time, they will make a final recommendation on each proposal to be presented to the board of directors for adoption or defeat. The board can accept the recommendation of the Playing Rules Committee or can make its own determination. Once the board has voted and adopted the changes, work on editing the rulebook gets started right away so the new version can be ready at the start of the season.”

Some of the submissions that didn’t make the cut are interesting. The defeated suggestions include:

  • #30 & #31 – Requiring mouthguard be strapped to facemask – Defeated
  • #33 – Specifying that officials are not to wear jewelry not covered or taped  – Defeated
  • #50 – Asking officials to review replays of major or match penalties before making the call – Defeated
  • #59 – Guidelines and certification for off-ice officials – Defeated
  • #63 – Bumps “disputing a call” from a minor to a misconduct – Defeated
  • #145 – Using a laser to create a center line for cross-ice games – Defeated
  • Post-Dated Proposal #3 – Handing out a penalty if an official is hit by a puck – Defeated

Final decisions on rule changes will be made at USA Hockey’s Annual Congress in June 2017. Any changes to the rulebook would go into effect for the 2017-18 through the 2020-21 season.