New return-to-play rules for concussions rules highlight changes by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for the 2010-2011 high school ice hockey season.
Under the new rule, "Any player (including goalkeeper) who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional."
In an effort to reduce head and neck injuries in hockey, the rule against contact with a player's head or neck has been strengthened: Rule 6-19 now reads "A player shall not make contact with an opposing player's head or neck area in any manner." The penalty for doing so is a minor or major or disqualification at the discretion of the referee. This infraction was previously located in Rule 6-40-3 ("Unnecessary Roughness"), and it now becomes a separate rule with some language modification.
Two referees on ice now required
As a means of specifically identifying and streamlining the officiating systems that are legal in high school ice hockey games, the rules committee revised Rule 5-2-1. It now reads as follows:
"The two-official system consists of two referees. The three-official system consists of two referees and one linesman. The four-official system consists of two referees and two linesmen."
"The officiating systems were changed to provide for two referees on the ice at all times," NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee chairperson Rick Majerus said. "Because of the speed of the game and other risk minimization factors, it was felt that there should be two officials on the ice who can call penalties at all times. The removal of the one-referee system helps reduce risk and produces a better flow to the game.
"Previously, the only way a state could use the two referees-two linesmen system was under the experimental protocol offered by the NFHS. With this change, any of these systems now can be legally used in regular-season or tournament competition."
Video replay now permitted
With the addition of Rule 6-42, by state association adoption, state association-authorized video replay may be used in games for reviewing goals and undetected goals, and for determining the correct time on the clock. Procedures shall be determined by state association policy and procedures.
"Video replay was added to the rules book as an optional process to be determined by each state association," Majerus said. "Some states have been experimenting with video replay for the past few years and have found that it works well. It is important that video replay is used to get the call right the first time. In addition, it removes further scrutiny of any game after its completion."
Updated participation numbers Ice hockey is played by 37,255 boys in 1,601 high schools nationwide, according to the 2008-09 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. Additionally, 8,261 girls in 558 high schools nationwide participate in ice hockey.
Source: National Federation of State High School Associations
Created: June 15, 2010