Thursday, July 08, 2010

NCAA Committee Regains Senses, Repeals Controversial Change

Last month, we told you about a set of proposed rules changes in college hockey. Coaches in the sport were less than pleased with some of the ideas, and it was clear many of them didn't have the kind of say in the process you would expect coaches in the sport to have.

To a certain extent, it appears the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee listened to the coaches and outraged fans.

The proposal didn't get a full heave-ho, but the committee has made a common-sense move that greatly lessens the potential (and virtually unknown) impact of this change.

Instead of the rule that would prohibit teams from icing the puck while shorthanded taking affect this season, it will be used in exhibition games only during this two-year rule cycle.

“The committee appreciates the membership feedback and values the opinions of coaches and administrators,” Forrest Karr, outgoing chair of the committee and athletic director at Alaska, said in a statement. “Responses indicate that while several coaches like the concept, there are concerns about the potential for unintended consequences.”

After talking to a few hockey people, this isn't the worst idea known to man. On one hand, it makes some sense to tell teams that just got in trouble for breaking a rule that they can't spend two minutes trying to break a different rule.

On the other, as one person told me, coaches have been teaching kids to ice the puck while shorthanded for years. A kid playing college hockey has spent at least a decade having that concept beaten into their heads. Cutting this rule out now doesn't make a ton of sense, especially when no other North American league does this, and there has been no time to experiment with the rule and see if it even works as desired or intended.

In the end, this rule might get implemented, but it won't happen until the NCAA has more information on how it would work, and they have a chance to see if there are any consequences that come from this that are not desirable and can be avoided.

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