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College Hockey:
2003-04 Rules Changes Finalized

The NCAA has released the final set of approved rules changes for Division I men and women, with the aforementioned chang to the fast faceoff rule prominently mentioned. That change will now increase the total time between faceoffs to 18 seconds instead of 15.

The points of emphasis include a new rule that automatically grants a penalty for any contact to the head, urging officials to “take a zero tolerance policy in this area.” Referees are also being instructed to further make sure each player is wearing the proper equipment, particularly that chinstraps are tight. The officials will physically check the chinstrap of each goaltender prior to each game.

Goaltender interference, a seemingly perennial point of concern, is stressed as a point of emphasis again, with officials asked to crack down. And, for women’s hockey only, the rules committee expressed a concern for increased physical play; checking is not allowed in women’s hockey. The rules on checking were altered to make it more clear, with the goal of getting the penalty called more consistently.

Among some of the other minor rules changes:

  • A disqualification penalty was added for “excessive roughness.” The rule says, “A player shall not commit an action not permitted by the rules that may cause or causes an injury to an opponent, to team personnel or game official.”
  • Referees have more discretion on whether to hand out warnings or penalties for crowd control issues.
  • Updated the criteria for when it’s permissable to use video replay to include a decision on whether a goal was scored after the puck hit the protective netting above the glass. Play is supposed to be stopped after the puck hits the netting.
  • Officials are now instructed to call penalties for tripping for any diving sweep check when an offensive player in taken down. In the past, if the defender — for example, on a 2-on-1 — slid on the ice to break up the play and knocked the puck away while also taking down the offensive player, it was allowed. Now, that is supposed to be called tripping.
  • Visiting teams are now permitted to wear light-colored jerseys on the road, with the home team’s permission.

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