The NHL has issued the updated rule book for the 2018-19 season. The league opted not to make any large-scale changes — no rewrite of the offside rule, no sweeping changes to the Coach’s Challenge, no modification to the language around late hits on injury definitions as was made for this season in the IIHF Rulebook. No, for 2018-19, the only changes in the National Hockey League are a minor change to awarded goals and stricter rules regarding goaltender equipment.
Rule 25.1 – Awarded Goal
The previous rule dictated that a goal would be awarded to a player fouled in the neutral or attacking zone with possession and control of the puck while the opposing goaltender was pulled for an extra attacker.
The change for the upcoming season results in an awarded goal also to a player who would have gained possession and control of the puck. The new rule:
A goal will be awarded to the attacking team when the opposing team has taken their goalkeeper off the ice and an attacking player has possession and control of the puck (or would have gained possession and control) in the neutral or attacking zone, without a defending player between himself and the opposing goal, and he is prevented from scoring as a result of an infraction committed by the defending team.
Rule 10.2 – Goalkeeper’s Stick
One minor change was made to 10.2, allowing an exemption for paddle length. Paddle lengths were previously capped at a maximum of 26″. Goaltenders over 6’6″ are now able to request an exception to allow a longer paddle.
Requests for an exemption to the length of the paddle (only) may be submitted in writing to and must be approved by the League’s Hockey Operations Department prior to any stick being approved for use. Only players 6’6” tall or more will be considered for exemption.
Rule 11.3 – Goalkeeper’s Chest and Arm Pads
The NHL requires that chest and arm protectors must be “anatomically proportional and size specific based on the individual physical characteristics of that goalkeeper.” Changes to this rule have increased the specificity of that requirement.
The NHL has added a section limiting torso padding.
Layering at the lateral edge of the torso is permitted to add rib protection, however, said thickness shall not exceed the thickness of the blocks on the front of the chest and, provided further, that the flank protection must wrap around the contour of the player’s torso.
Elbow padding was previously required to be no more than seven inches across the front or down the sides. The new rule is much more precise. Break out your tape measures.
On each side, the elbow floaters shall:
- Not exceed six inches (6”) in width across the front of the elbow;
- Not exceed seven inches (7”) in depth;
- Have a total length that does not exceed six and one-half inches (6 1⁄2”) when measured from the proximal end of the biceps segment to the distal end of the forearm segment; and
- Be symmetrically positioned relative to the underlying elbow.
On each side, the arm protection shall taper such that:
- The upper portion of the bicep pad shall not exceed five and one-half inches (5 1⁄2”);
- The lower portion of the bicep pad shall not exceed four and one-half inches (4 1⁄2”);
- The upper portion of the forearm pad shall not exceed four and one-half inches (4 1⁄2”); and
- The lower portion of the forearm pad shall not exceed four inches (4”).
Similarly, clavicle protectors were previously limited to seven inches (7″) in width with a maximum thickness of one inch (1″). They’re cut by one-and-a-half inches to a maximum width of five-and-a-half (5 1/2″) inches.
On each side, the clavicle floaters shall:
- Have a maximum thickness that does not exceed one inch (1”);
- Not exceed five and one-half inches (5 1⁄2”) in width when measured at the widest point of the clavicle/floater pad;
- Not project/extend beyond the lateral edge of the player’s shoulder;
- Not project/extend beyond the armpit at the level of the axilla;
- Not project/extend beyond the lateral edge of the player’s torso below the level of the chest;
- Not project/extend vertically above the player’s shoulder more than two inches (2”) when measured at its lateral edge;
- Not project/extend vertically above the player’s shoulder more than one and one-half inches (1 1/2”) when measured at the midpoint of its width; and
- Not project/extend vertically above the player’s shoulder more than one-half inch (1/2”) when measured at its medial edge.
On each side the shoulder caps shall not project/extend laterally beyond the player’s shoulder more than one and one-half inches (1 1⁄2”).
Rule 11.4 – Goalkeeper’s Pants
The previous rule said only that Hockey Ops would determine the maximum size of goalkeeper’s pants based on measurements including waist circumference and length of pants above and below waistline. For 2018-19, that determination becomes much more specific, even assigning pants size based on waist measurement.
Each goalkeeper will be assigned a pant size appropriate for their waist size and based on the following waist circumference measurement ranges, measured in inches:
All measurements made by NHL Hockey Operations will be at the maximum circumference and/or width of the waist and thigh/leg opening. All measurements shall be made with a cloth tape.
The waist on the pant may not exceed six inches (6”) in height as circumference of the thigh/leg opening may not exceed thirty-two inches (32”) in length.
No lacing, rib knit, belts or eyelet may be worn in a manner that allows for an increase in the waist circumference beyond a reasonable amount above the goalkeeper’s assigned size.
Thigh guards were previously limited to a maximum width of ten inches (10″), taken five inches (5″) above the bottom of the pants when the goaltender is standing upright. That has been cut to nine inches (9″), including any groin/hip pad.
Each thigh guard shall comply with the following:
- A constant outer and inner curvature must be maintained and the outer width may not exceed nine inches (9”). The curvature depth must be at least four and one-half inches (4 1⁄2”) and not greater than five and one-half inches (5 1⁄2”).
- The inner arc length shall be determined by the actual thigh guard depth and width using the attached formula, and shall be between fourteen and sixteen inches (14”-16”)
- The length of the thigh guard shall be at least eight inches (8”) and not greater than eleven inches (11”)
- The thickness of the thigh guard may not exceed one and three-eighths inches (1 3/8”) at its widest point
Padding on the inside or outside thigh cradle may not exceed one inch (1”); it must be attached to the inside of the curved thigh guard; and it cannot create a seam, ridge, or extend beyond or increase the width of the curvature of the thigh guard.
If that’s not enough, here’s the mathematical formula the league is using regarding the thigh guard dimensions. Hope you’ve brushed up on your algebra.
Thankfully, it’s up to NHL Hockey Ops to measure the equipment, not the referees and linesmen. The league will be taking measurements for each goaltender, including torso and arm length, to determine the maximum sizes of their equipment.