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2021 Rule Changes


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Well, it's official. Delayed offsides was eliminated from all levels of youth hockey except high school at the USA Congress last week. From the USA Hockey website, a summary of the rule changes (with my emphasis added):

Quote

PLAYING RULES CHANGE YEAR

The USA Hockey Board of Directors approved the rulebook for 2021-25. The organization modifies/updates the playing rules on a four-year cycle. Highlights of modifications include:

  • The principles of the declaration of safety, fair play, and respect that were originally passed by the Board in 2019 will be fully implemented into the new rulebook, including zero tolerance of hateful and discriminatory language and as well as hits from behind, hits to the head and late hits.
  • All levels of youth hockey outside of high school will include both immediate offside and the removal of the exception to ice the puck when shorthanded. 
  • Major and match penalties will be determined on the principle of reckless endangerment, not based on injury.
  • All major penalties will now also include a game misconduct penalty. 
  • Modified the length of penalties based on length of period.

The explanation from the rules committee says this:

Quote

Removes delay/tag-up off-sides rule from all levels of Youth, Girls and High School. This rule has brought great success with the development of younger players, but why should that development stop at the 14U, 16U and 18U categories? While other levels (Junior, College, Pro, Intl., etc.) use delayed/tag-up off-sides, using automatic off-sides at the grassroots level encourages development until they achieve the chance to participate at those levels.

This is absolute malarkey, in my view. It's inconceivable that this rule change would be voted for by hockey players at any level, at all. (Not a big fan of not being allowed to ice the puck on the PK, either, but I find that much less egregious.) Note that while the explanation suggests that high school shouldn't have delayed offsides, too, the summary says that high school will still have it.

We'd discussed this when it was proposed sometime last year, and here it is come to fruition.

There's our wiser masters at work. I'm disgusted.

Edited by Lifelongbender
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On 6/15/2021 at 9:44 AM, Lifelongbender said:

Well, it's official. Delayed offsides was eliminated from all levels of youth hockey except high school at the USA Congress last week. From the USA Hockey website, a summary of the rule changes (with my emphasis added):

The explanation from the rules committee says this:

This is absolute malarkey, in my view. It's inconceivable that this rule change would be voted for by hockey players at any level, at all. (Not a big fan of not being allowed to ice the puck on the PK, either, but I find that much less egregious.) Note that while the explanation suggests that high school shouldn't have delayed offsides, too, the summary says that high school will still have it.

We'd discussed this when it was proposed sometime last year, and here it is come to fruition.

There's our wiser masters at work. I'm disgusted.

Yet another reason for Canadian teams that travel to the US for tournaments having the ability to laugh at our stupid rules.  

Edited by fafa fohi
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So their solution is to have kids learn this facet of the game only IF they make it to Juniors/College/Pro. Um....what?

Also, can someone clarify the icing on the PK rule for me, does the shorthanded team have to gain the red line to dump the puck? Or is it this subjective "they have to make a play to get it out of the zone" rule?

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For years I have assumed that the reason they REALLY didn't allow tag-up for younger players was the fact that refs at that age could be pretty young themselves, and they were trying to make it easier for the younger refs. That wasn't why they said they didn't allow it, but it made more sense than the BS they did give us about it.

I guess they're trying to make it easier on the refs still willing to work games at any level, then? The creativity argument is silly. You're not learning to play hockey that way, or at least not learning to play it right.

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3 minutes ago, forbin said:

Also, can someone clarify the icing on the PK rule for me, does the shorthanded team have to gain the red line to dump the puck? Or is it this subjective "they have to make a play to get it out of the zone" rule?

Based on the rule change proposal document explanations, it's gain the red line. It's changes 114-117 in that document.

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3 minutes ago, Jack Handey said:

How does voting work at the national level?  Assuming we have some kind of representation.  And is there any public record of how our representative(s) voted?

See this page.

As far as I can tell, rule changes are proposed, reviewed by the relevant subcommittee, and discussed in a open forum where the committee also makes a recommendation on acceptance. The Board of Directors then votes on each.

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2 minutes ago, BeaverFalls said:

All these rules lead to is a slower, choppier game. 

The upper level games are going to get longer, especially since delayed offsides is permitted at high school games. I wonder if we will see an increase in curfew games.

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6 minutes ago, Loach said:

So, no delayed offsides at 18U and 16U even though these kids may also be playing high school and have delayed offsides?

Makes about as much sense as checking allowed in PAHL at 14U but not in MS PIHL play.... let's just keep adding more confusing elements for these players to keep track of.

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On 6/15/2021 at 2:15 PM, forbin said:

Makes about as much sense as checking allowed in PAHL at 14U but not in MS PIHL play.... let's just keep adding more confusing elements for these players to keep track of.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen officials get confused about the different rules for the same age levels, too.

Also, can anyone make sense of the fact that JV uses 13 minute periods, while both midget age groups (16U and 18U - the same age range as JV) use 15 minute periods? By the way, that means that JV penalties will now be 1:30 minutes long. Midgets, too, but JV? Come on.

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2 hours ago, Lifelongbender said:

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen officials get confused about the different rules for the same age levels, too.

Also, can anyone make sense of the fact that JV uses 13 minute periods, while both midget age groups (16U and 18U - the same age range as JV) use 15 minute periods? By the way, that means that JV penalties will now be 1:30 minutes long. Midgets, too, but JV? Come on.

Period length depends on how much ice time you buy.  Crazy here in the East:

Tier 1 Midget - 17 minute periods with an ice cut

Tier 2 Midget - 16 minute periods, no ice cut

Varsity - 16 minute periods, no ice cut (Flyers Cup is 17 with a cut)

JV - 15 minute periods, no cut

Prep School - 17 or 18 minute periods with 1 or 2 ice cuts

Local Tournaments - midget is typically 13/13/15, no cuts

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25 minutes ago, carroll81 said:

Period length depends on how much ice time you buy.  Crazy here in the East:

Tier 1 Midget - 17 minute periods with an ice cut

Tier 2 Midget - 16 minute periods, no ice cut

Varsity - 16 minute periods, no ice cut (Flyers Cup is 17 with a cut)

JV - 15 minute periods, no cut

Prep School - 17 or 18 minute periods with 1 or 2 ice cuts

Local Tournaments - midget is typically 13/13/15, no cuts

Ah. So is that rule an effort to reflect the realities of programs and ice scheduling, you think? That would make sense.

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1 hour ago, Saucey said:

Ah. So is that rule an effort to reflect the realities of programs and ice scheduling, you think? That would make sense.

I think so.  As for the adjustments to the penalty times, that also more closely reflects what was happening locally.  Many districts/affiliates were already adjusting the penalty time based on period length, which was allowed.

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On 6/15/2021 at 10:02 AM, forbin said:

So their solution is to have kids learn this facet of the game only IF they make it to Juniors/College/Pro. Um....what?

Also, can someone clarify the icing on the PK rule for me, does the shorthanded team have to gain the red line to dump the puck? Or is it this subjective "they have to make a play to get it out of the zone" rule?

Icing is now always in effect at all times. 

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Waaaayyyy back when - the first time they got rid of delayed offsides at all levels, the reason stated was to force defensemen to have there heads up, stop\backup\regroup instead of just banging the puck in deep. I can attest that at that point in time most would just drive the puck in with their head down like they said. Intentional offsides was almost never called and probably should have been called on many occasions..... If the puck didn't do "directly to a defensive player" we were supposed to kill play and bring it out for a face off. Most officials didn't call it that way and allowed play to continue if it went if the puck wrapped around behind the net to the weak side winger. Not exactly how it was supposed to be called. Then they said it had to go to a defensive player before (IIRC) the top of the circle - I can remember NCAA having the same issues and actually put a line on the side boards that they wanted an immediate whistle for intentional offsides if it went below it. I can still remember the debates over what was legal and when to whistle the play. It was VERY inconsistently called and evolved into all was good as long as it wasn't on net and everyone cleared the zone. At that point in time I agreed with the assessment that it allowed players to be lazy and not work to develop skills. After a year or two I saw the skill and creativity increase (for some players). Did the skill and creativity regress again??? I dunno, you folks tell me. As for different rules once the players get to JR\College.... well if they are good enough to play at that level then they ought to be able to adjust to the different rules.

 

As for whether it's good or bad for the game, having seen it flip-flopped a few times I figure that it should not matter if coaches adjust the way they have the team play and work to develop player skills. To those that say it will slow the game down, I say they gotta change the way they play.... tell the D to play several feet inside the blue line if being aggressive or back off to just inside the line and let your desired gap dictate when to give up the line if he isn't. Puts more pressure the D to be aware and manage his position better cuz they have to be able to pull the puck back and regroup rather than just bang it back in. I have seen a whole lot of really crappy passing made by the D over the past 15 years. Crappy D to D regroups, Crappy half-assed slap it up the boards in the direction of the winger break out attempts.... maybe they do need to do this, but I have no dog in this fight anymore and I'll just sit back with my beer n wings and watch the show.....

 

Now as for icing while on the PK, good to get rid of it at all levels... It's a relic from when  the Montreal Canadians had a world beating PP. Maybe a legit compromise is to make the shorthanded team gain the neutral zone before dumping it.

Edited by GrumpyOldPucker
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On 6/18/2021 at 11:25 PM, GrumpyOldPucker said:

Waaaayyyy back when - the first time they got rid of delayed offsides at all levels, the reason stated was to force defensemen to have there heads up, stop\backup\regroup instead of just banging the puck in deep. I can attest that at that point in time most would just drive the puck in with their head down like they said. Intentional offsides was almost never called and probably should have been called on many occasions..... If the puck didn't do "directly to a defensive player" we were supposed to kill play and bring it out for a face off. Most officials didn't call it that way and allowed play to continue if it went if the puck wrapped around behind the net to the weak side winger. Not exactly how it was supposed to be called. Then they said it had to go to a defensive player before (IIRC) the top of the circle - I can remember NCAA having the same issues and actually put a line on the side boards that they wanted an immediate whistle for intentional offsides if it went below it. I can still remember the debates over what was legal and when to whistle the play. It was VERY inconsistently called and evolved into all was good as long as it wasn't on net and everyone cleared the zone. At that point in time I agreed with the assessment that it allowed players to be lazy and not work to develop skills. After a year or two I saw the skill and creativity increase (for some players). Did the skill and creativity regress again??? I dunno, you folks tell me. As for different rules once the players get to JR\College.... well if they are good enough to play at that level then they ought to be able to adjust to the different rules.

 

As for whether it's good or bad for the game, having seen it flip-flopped a few times I figure that it should not matter if coaches adjust the way they have the team play and work to develop player skills. To those that say it will slow the game down, I say they gotta change the way they play.... tell the D to play several feet inside the blue line if being aggressive or back off to just inside the line and let your desired gap dictate when to give up the line if he isn't. Puts more pressure the D to be aware and manage his position better cuz they have to be able to pull the puck back and regroup rather than just bang it back in. I have seen a whole lot of really crappy passing made by the D over the past 15 years. Crappy D to D regroups, Crappy half-assed slap it up the boards in the direction of the winger break out attempts.... maybe they do need to do this, but I have no dog in this fight anymore and I'll just sit back with my beer n wings and watch the show.....

 

Now as for icing while on the PK, good to get rid of it at all levels... It's a relic from when  the Montreal Canadians had a world beating PP. Maybe a legit compromise is to make the shorthanded team gain the neutral zone before dumping it.

'Most officials didn't call it that way' is a big one. Most officials around here do not call 'there must be a play for the puck before hitting'. If the officials aren't on board, forget it and it's just confusing for everyone. And there is a shortage, so they've got the power.

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1 hour ago, Saucey said:

'Most officials didn't call it that way' is a big one. Most officials around here do not call 'there must be a play for the puck before hitting'. If the officials aren't on board, forget it and it's just confusing for everyone. And there is a shortage, so they've got the power.

Looks like they added some wording regarding the contact before playing the puck.  Lots of updates to the glossary regarding contact, not to mention how to apply Major penalties when there is an injury.

"Adds new Glossary definition for “Physical Engagement” and is defined as: Two players who are in pursuit of the puck are allowed to use competitive contact provided that possession of the puck remains the sole objective of the two players. This includes opposing players competing for the puck in front of the goal or along the boards."

The first month or so of the season during rule changes years is always interesting,

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7 hours ago, carroll81 said:

Looks like they added some wording regarding the contact before playing the puck.  Lots of updates to the glossary regarding contact, not to mention how to apply Major penalties when there is an injury.

"Adds new Glossary definition for “Physical Engagement” and is defined as: Two players who are in pursuit of the puck are allowed to use competitive contact provided that possession of the puck remains the sole objective of the two players. This includes opposing players competing for the puck in front of the goal or along the boards."

The first month or so of the season during rule changes years is always interesting,

What's the definition of competitive contact?😅

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3 hours ago, Saucey said:

What's the definition of competitive contact?😅

All new and improved  Body Contact:

"Changes “Body Contact” to “Competitive Contact” and incorporates language from Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play and Respect to more completely define competitive contact."

We also now have "Physical Engagement""

"Adds new Glossary definition for “Physical Engagement” and is defined as: Two players who are in pursuit of the puck are allowed to use competitive contact provided that possession of the puck remains the sole objective of the two players. This includes opposing players competing for the puck in front of the goal or along the boards."

Can't be good when there are as many changes to the Glossary than there are to the actual rules in Section 6.

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