NCAA rules committee proposes relaxing rule covering contact with goaltender

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee thinks it may have gone too far last season in penalizing contact with the goalkeeper.

The committee earlier this month proposed reworking the rule instituted before the 2014-15 season that disallows goals when contact with a goaltender is initiated by an offensive player.

The rule book is allowed to be changed only every other year, and this is not one of those years. But the committee can make clarifications, and that’s what it is seeking to do.

In its June 3-4 meeting, the rules committee decided to give the referee latitude to determine whether incidental contact prevented the goaltender from defending the net when a goal is scored.

“The college hockey community, at all levels, voiced concern that goals were being disallowed more than they should be,” Tom Anastos, chair of the committee and Michigan State coach, said in a statement. “The committee is allowing the referee to use judgment when the contact is incidental and hopefully this will help allow goals we all believe should be legal.”

The committee also is clarifying rules defining where incidental contact between an offensive player and a goaltender is legal. Contact with the goaltender’s equipment outside the crease will be allowed if there is no deliberate attempt to impede the goaltender’s ability to defend the goal.

“The rules that were made last season ended up being too rigid,” Anastos said. “We have worked hard to find a solution that will still protect our goalkeepers, but allow the offensive creativity and scoring that is needed in the game.”

The experimental rule allowing officials to review video footage of major penalties to assist in determining whether to eject the offending player is being expanded to include conference championships. Last season, only games during the NCAA tournament were included in the trial.

The rules proposals go before the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on July 16.

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