This season, the USHL instituted a new rule which has specified a number of penalties that the league has termed as “dangerous play” to include minor penalties (ie: elbowing, head contact, kneeing). Also, the USHL will monitor and review the above penalties as well as all major penalties throughout the season.
When players start accumulating multiple penalties they will be notified and addressed by the USHL Commissioner’s office. This action is being presented as a way to educate the league’s players. If league office deems it necessary they will punish players via supplementary discipline.
Translation, the league is sending a message to their players – if the players rack up penalties that the league has deemed as dangerous play the players are going to pay the consequences for their actions.
The Ontario Hockey League has put a limit on the number of fights that a player can participate in during the course of a hockey season after a player reaches 10 fights the offending player will begin serving a two game suspension for each fight over 10.
The OHL and the USHL are not alone the Western Hockey League is also enacting some stiffer rules of their own to address on ice play.
During the summer the WHL has adopted this as a rule:
Adoption of a staged fighting rule. Should a fight occur following a face-off during a game, it will be considered a staged fight. Should a stage fight occur during a pre-season, regular season or playoff game, the players involved shall each receive an automatic game misconduct in addition to the major penalty. Should one player clearly initiate or instigate the fight, only that player will receive the game misconduct in addition to a minor penalty for instigating the fight. Should the linesmen intervene and prevent the fight from starting, the players involved will each receive misconduct penalties. [WHL.CA]The WHL is also going to address player’s safety and deal with the repeat offenders and issue supplemental discipline where it’s necessary.
The WHL also announced it remains fully committed to the Seven Point Plan introduced this past season to address player safety concerns in the area of head blows and concussions. The Seven Point Plan includes continued emphasis on discipline as it applies to repeat offenders; production of an education video on player safety; seminar for all General Managers and Head Coaches on September 11, 2012; continuing to provide players with best available protective equipment; working with the WHL Arena Advisory Committee to adopt acrylic glass as a standard for all WHL arenas; continuing to collect and study research data on concussion injuries and their causes.That makes at least three Junior Leagues in North America are looking to stop a certain type of player in their ranks and have taken steps to address those issues. In reading and interpreting these new rule changes, it would appear that the various leagues are going after the predator/agitators that skate up and down the ice taking liberties with the opposition players – truth be told, these players have been put on notice and their days could be numbered in junior hockey if they don’t change their behavior.
Also, the message should be – if you don’t change your on ice behavior – we will compel you to change your on ice behavior. The Western Hockey League has a page that lists the players that have been given supplemental discipline. To date, 10 players have been suspended a total of 21 games.
Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine