Rules Changes ’20

Been a crazy few weeks (more in a bit), but thankfully Jason Iacona was there to point out when the new AHL Rulebook went up. Took a week to get a look at it, but fortunately all our Black Box hunting matched his. Sneakily, though, there’s at least one other rule change.

(Once again, the font size and/or margin size is just subtly different enough that trying to do a full side-by-side would give me a massive headache and take like all night. So we’ll focus on what we can find easily.)

9.6: A player whose helmet comes off during play now has to go to the bench, or, newly, retrieve and replace his helmet “within a reasonable period of time”: The rule says a player whose helmet comes off while he’s involved in the play may finish the play before either getting his lid back or getting off the ice.

The rule also clarifies that a player who’d lost his helmet and gone to the bench can’t come back on without his helmet on and chin strap fastened. Same goes for a player coming out of the penalty box.

It also provides a minor for roughing to any player who intentionally removes an opponent’s helmet during play.

25.2: With the goaltender in the net, when a defending player knocked the net off deliberately or accidentally, it used to be that the attacking player was awarded a goal when he was was in the act of shooting the puck into the net. Now, it’s enough to have “an imminent scoring opportunity” to award him a goal.

32.4: Adds a category to when a linesman can stop play: when an identifiable player who’s not on the ice interferes with the puck or an opponent.

46.15: A player who punches an unsuspecting or, now, “unwilling” opponent receives a match penalty. (The rule adds in parentheses, “i.e., ‘sucker punch’,” the first time the rule calls it that.)

51.1: The roughing rule adds a “slamming” motion to the old punching motion with the hand or fist.

51.1, 51.2, 51.4: As noted in 9.6, removing an opponent’s helmet is now roughing, and there are references to that added to 51.1 and 51.2. Rule 51.4 says there won’t be supplemental discipline from removing an opponent’s helmet.

60.3: The double minor for high-sticking rule. It clarifies that the penalty comes when a player carrying his stick above the shoulders “makes contact with his opponent’s neck, face, or head so that injury results, in the manner of drawing blood or otherwise.”

63.5/63.6: The Leggio Rule is no more: If a goalie deliberately knocks the net off while a breakaway is coming at him, it’ll now be an awarded goal instead of a penalty shot and a game misconduct.

63.7: A new section. If a defending player knocks the net off accidentally, his team won’t be able to make a line change before the next faceoff (in most cases). The same goes for a team whose goalie freezes a puck that the other team dumps in from the other side of the red line. Much like the draw to start a power play, the attacking team will get to pick the faceoff dot.

With that, the old 63.7 becomes 63.8.

82.2: The attacking team gets to pick the faceoff dot after an icing. The change appears to remove the exception for icing on a delayed penalty, when the faceoff would go outside the offensive zone.

86.1, 86.5: Thanks to Scouting the Refs for the heads up on these, which match an NHL change. A bunch of language comes out of this rule, regarding pucks that go out of play, which should result in fewer faceoffs in the neutral zone and more in one end or the other.

Michael Fornabaio