This morning I was checking out the video the NCAA put out on the new points of emphasis. [click to view video]
First off, I really don’t have a problem per se with the new rules or the new points of emphasis. That being said, the new point of emphasis is the direct contact with the head or neck – that is what the NCAA officials are going to be concerned with the most.
While I agree that there needs to be better on ice officiating when it comes to contact with the head "in all" levels of hockey – having the right officials in the game of hockey is going to be paramount. I believe that you will see legal hard shoulder to shoulder checks that will be called a major penalty – resulting in the offending player being thrown out of the game. I also don’t have confidence in the current WCHA’s on ice officials to make the right calls. Here is a perfect example of this happening.
This is taken from page 11 of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules and Interpretations.While I applaud the fact that the NCAA wants to pay closer attention to hits to the head – you can also color me as cynical as well. Like I briefly mentioned earlier – if the NCAA used refs that were of the same level and quality as the NHL officials I wouldn’t be as worried, however, hockey is a fast game and mistakes are made by the on ice officials – some of these mistakes are more serious and will have a dramatic impact on the game as well. In the end, you will end up seeing players pull up on checks that they would have made a hit on in the past.
• Direct contact with the head or neck in any manner from any direction;
• A player that is reckless;
• A player that has just released a shot or pass;
• A player that is about to receive a pass;
• A player that delivers a late hit;
• A player that extends and directs the arm, elbow, forearm or shoulder to contact the head and neck area of the opponent;
• A player that extends the body and targets the opponent’s head or neck
• A player that leaves their skates or launches in order to deliver a blow
to the head or neck area of the opposing player; and Points of Emphasis 9
• A player that uses the stick in any way to target the head or neck area
(e.g., cross checking, butt-ending, etc.).