Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Extra enforcement will be out

When the college hockey season begins in nine days, don’t be surprised if you start seeing more penalties, more power plays and, perhaps, more scoring.

Referees have been directed to crack down on obstruction and interference this season, WCHA supervisor of officials Greg Shepherd said during the league’s annual preseason conference call on Tuesday.

The WCHA has been criticized for turning a blind eye to such infractions, which can take away scoring chances and result in low-scoring games. However, Shepherd said, it’s a concern throughout the sport.

“This is around all hockey, all leagues,” Shepherd said, “that we kind of slacked off on the standard of play.”

Shepherd said the NCAA rule committee stressed to supervisors of all conferences this summer the importance of enforcing rules that improve the standard of play.

“Holding along the boards, obstruction, holding a player up trying to get in the zone, faceoff interference, things like that will be called and will be called tightly. No ifs, ands or buts. … We want players to play. We want them to skate.”

Rule changes for this season include the requirement that all players and officials on the ice wear helmets at all times except during the national anthem. The rule is a reaction to the death of WCHA referee Oliver “Butch” Mousseau. Mousseau suffered critical head injuries after falling on the ice during warmups prior to a WCHA Final Five game March 18 in Grand Rapids, Mich. He died a week later.

At the same time, the NCAA has now said that mouthguards are recommended but not required for players, since they wear full face shields.

Also, coaches may challenge offsides and too many players on the ice on goal-scoring plays prior to the last two minutes of the game. In those final minutes and overtime, review is the referees’ responsibility.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

We've heard this song and dance before. I have no doubt they will do this in the first month. The real test is going to be whether they continue to call it in February and March. Personally, I'll believe it when I see it.