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From the National Federation of High School Associations

2008-09 High School Ice Hockey Rules Changes Announced

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 15, 2008) - In an effort to minimize risk of injury in high school ice hockey, a significant change in goalkeeper equipment during the 2008-09 season will include a flapper-style throat protector.

This revision in Rule 3-3-1 was one of six changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Ice Hockey Rules Committee at its April 20-21 meeting in Indianapolis. The changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Beginning next season, all goalkeepers will be required to wear a flapper-style throat protector to reduce exposure to the throat if a goalkeeper is knocked down during play. The protectors must be separate, commercially manufactured, unaltered and properly attached to the helmet or face mask.

Besides minimizing risk to the goalkeeper, this revision will also ease officiating by providing a clearly visible item of legal equipment.

"This is a significant piece in goalkeeper protection," said Bob Gardner, NFHS chief operating officer and chair of the NFHS Rules Review Committee. "It will also be easy for the officials to tell if the goalkeepers are wearing the proper equipment."

The committee also revised three rules to reinforce sportsmanship by creating tougher team penalties.

When the rules indicate a "captain's choice of players" for serving a penalty, a new article in Rule 2-2 will require that a captain must select a player who was on the ice at the time of the infraction. This revision adds more weight to the penalty and will create a power-play opportunity for the opposing team.

Revisions in Rules 6-1-9 and 6-1-11 will create a team aspect to the penalties by adding a two-minute minor penalty to be served by any player, coach or bench personnel using obscene gestures or language. This creates another power-play opportunity for the non-offending team because the offender cannot be replaced during the penalty.

"This new penalty hurts both the individual and the team," Gardner said. "This is an issue that the committee feels is very serious and with these efforts, the committee is reinforcing good sportsmanship."

Other rules changes approved by the committee:

- Rule 2-5-11 clarifies that a goalkeeper who has been replaced by another goalkeeper during a stoppage of play may not re-enter until the next stoppage of play.

- Rule 6-12-8k changes the position of the puck during a faceoff to the location where the puck was last played, when the puck leaves the rink for any unnatural reason.

The committee also adopted five points of emphasis for the upcoming season. The identified topics include obstruction, sportsmanship with a focus on obscene language and gestures, hits to the head, checking from behind, and body contact versus body-checking in girls hockey.

According to the 2006-07 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, 1,576 schools sponsor a competitive boys ice hockey team with 35,955 boys participating, while 504 schools sponsor a girls team with 7,350 girls participating.
This press release was written by Jennifer Searcy, a spring semester intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department and a junior at Franklin (Indiana) College.