CALGARY, AB – Minor hockey at all levels of play in all 13 Branches across Canada will get a facelift this season with the implementation of a new standard of play and rule emphasis initiative, placing the focus squarely on the building blocks of the game: skating, puck possession and proper body positioning. These changes will enhance player opportunities for skill development at all levels of play, with the goal of providing a positive minor hockey experience for all involved.
Approved at Hockey Canada’s 2006 Annual General Meeting in St. John’s, NL in May, the new standard of play initiative includes a strict enforcement of restraining fouls – hooking, holding, tripping and interference – and stick fouls – slashing and cross-checking – all of which can be classified as any infraction which impedes the progress of the offensive player.
To get the information out to all involved, Hockey Canada developed a DVD resource and an area on the Hockey Canada website (www.hockeycanada.ca) that provides visual illustrations of all the changes – check out the It’s A New Game icon on the Hockey Canada home page.
The DVD provides players and coaches with clear illustrations of restraining fouls and how officials will view these infractions and apply the rules of the game. By eliminating these elements in the game, the emphasis in hockey will return to skill, speed and offensive development.
Hockey Canada distributed the DVD last month through all of its Branches, to its general membership, as well as the officiating community, with the goal of it being used at coaching and officiating clinics, and potentially team and minor hockey association meetings throughout Canada.
The new standard of play and rule emphasis is directed at not only the more than 550,000 minor hockey participants across the country, but also the hundreds of thousands of coaches and officials that make it possible for players from Initiation to Major Junior to play the game.
“With a new season of minor hockey upon us, we felt it was a perfect opportunity for our rules to come in line with those of the International Ice Hockey Federation and the National Hockey League, which have implemented similar changes over the past two years,” said Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada. “We feel that with proper education and patience, we can enhance the focus of the game at the minor hockey level all across Canada that will lead to the development of skilled hockey players.”
The changes also include the “shared respect initiative”, which will place an emphasis on calling checking to the head and checking from behind infractions.
Officials have been asked to be diligent in the application of the new rules initiative, which will have an immediate influence on the game across the country, at every level.
For more information on the new rules emphasis and standard of play, contact your local Hockey Canada branch or minor hockey association.
Also, coaches, officials, parents and players can check out Hockey Canada for clips from the DVD showing examples of the new rule emphasis, as well as more in-depth information on all the changes.