The ECHL announced some minor rule changes stemming from the recent Board of Governors meeting with a handful of minor rule changes.
The changes mirror recent changes made by the National Hockey League. The ECHL, being one of the NHL’s two developmental leagues, often mirrors NHL rules (with one notable exception being the shootout – ECHL shootouts feature five players instead of three).
- The trapezoid was extended two feet on each side to begin seven feet outside the crease (instead of five). The effect of this rule is that it gives goaltenders a bit more room to play the puck behind the net. Often referred to as the “Martin Brodeur rule,” a goaltender who plays the puck below the red line outside the trapezoid is assessed a minor penalty. Brodeur was one of several goalies who once acted as a third defenseman by getting to the corner on dump-ins and playing the puck out of the zone.
- A player whose helmet comes off must immediately either skate to the bench or put the helmet back on (and fasten the chin strap) or he will receive a minor penalty. The NHL also adopted this rule, which has been in place in international hockey for some time, this summer.
- On faceoffs after icing, there were two changes. First, the center will no longer be thrown out of the circle for a faceoff violation. Instead, he will be given a warning, and on the second infraction, be assessed a minor penalty. Second, the center has five seconds to get to the face-off spot (the lineseman will drop the puck immediately after five seconds). Both are designed to curb delay tactics by the team that has iced the puck, which is not allowed to change players. Teams often would have a winger intentionally commit a faceoff violation and get thrown out of the circle to delay after an icing. The first change mirrors an NHL rule modification from the offseason, while the second (the “five-second rule”) is unique to the ECHL.
The Indy Fuel are getting set to play their first season in the 21-team ECHL, which begins play on Friday, Oct. 17. That night, the Fuel will host the Fort Wayne Komets in the first regular season game at the new Fairgrounds Coliseum.