The Champions Hockey League instituted a handful of rule changes prior to the start of the 2023-24 season, all aimed at increasing scoring. Nearly 50 games into the season, it looks like those modifications are paying off as intended. 

  • Penalties are still assessed when a goal is scored on a delayed penalty
  • Minor penalties are served for the full two minutes
  • Shorthanded goals end a minor penalty  
CHL CEO Martin Baumann offered an update on how things are going from the league’s perspective.
“The implementation of the new on-ice rules during the first four game days was smooth and has already an impact. In average, 0.4 goals more were scored compared to last season which leads to the assumption that the new rules enhance the scoring opportunities.”
“Additionally, a shorthanded goal has been scored in every fourth game which is twice as much as in 2022-23. Consequently, penalty-killing has become more attractive due to the fact that teams take more risk as they get an additional incentive if they score shorthanded.”
“Of course, this analysis is only a snapshot after 48 games played, but after the first experiences we are very positive that the new on-ice rules are changing the game in an exciting way. Also, the feedback received so far underlines that the changes have been the right decision.”
We took a look at the data and can confirm the uptick Baumann referenced.
Power play time has increased by 13% per game, with teams maintaining the man-advantage even after scoring.   Five times this season, teams have scored multiple power play goals on the same penalty. 
The additional time has boosted power play goals overall, with extra-man markers up 44%  – from 56 this time last season to 86 now – making special teams even more critical.

“You can look at the new rules two ways,” said Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe. “Penalties can always cause you problems, especially in the CHL, but with the new rules you could find yourselves a couple of goals down if you’re not careful.”

“On the flip side, we can also look at it in that we could get ourselves up by a few in games if we take our chances.”

The only thing cutting a power play short – a shorthanded goal – has also prompted a shift in how teams approach the game.  Shorthanded goals are up 71%, with 12 scored this season, compared to seven over the same span prior year.  
Oceláři Třinec is making the most of the changes, having picked up a multi-power-play goal penalty and two shorthanded goals to improve their special teams. Red Bull Salzburg has one of each, while Skellefteå AIK has played their ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card twice with two shortganded goals. 
The Champions Hockey League season is early, but it looks like those rule changes are already paying dividends.  The games resume on October 10.  We’ll see if this trend continues – or possibly even magnifies, as more teams refine their strategies.