NEW YORK (July 22, 2005) - The National Hockey League's Board of Governors today approved a series of rule changes that will emphasize entertainment, skill and competition on the ice. Commissioner Gary Bettman, who presented the package to the Board, also formally announced the creation of a new Competition Committee which was responsible for formulating and recommending the proposed slate of rules changes for approval by the NHL Board of Governors.
One primary objective of the new rules will be to reduce the scope of defensive "tools" a team may effectively employ, and to create a corresponding benefit to the offensive part of the game -- thus allowing skill players to use their skills and increasing the number and quality of scoring chances in the game.
The Competition Committee is currently comprised of four NHL players, four General Managers and one owner and is supervised by Colin Campbell, NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations. The players are Rob Blake of Colorado, Jarome Iginla of Calgary, Trevor Linden of Vancouver and Brendan Shanahan of Detroit. The General Managers are Bob Gainey of Montreal, Kevin Lowe of Edmonton, David Poile of Nashville and Don Waddell of Atlanta. The owner is Ed Snider of Philadelphia. NHL Players' Association Director of Business Operations, Mike Gartner, also will provide input to the Committee.
"Over the past 18 months, we have spoken with hockey players, managers, coaches, executives and fans who have expressed their opinions on rule changes that will make a great game even better. We have listened, analyzed and debated," Colin Campbell said. "While all of the constituent groups will never reach complete agreement on what the changes should be, we felt it was our obligation to recommend a slate of changes that will succeed in doing one thing: entertaining our fans -- both those in the arena and those watching on television.
"I am confident these changes will meet that objective and the Competition Committee will continue to ensure a commitment to achieving this in future seasons."
The following rules changes will take effect for the 2005-06 NHL season:
DIMENSIONS OF THE RINK
Click the thumbnail images below for larger diagrams of the new rink dimensions.
FEWER STOPPAGES, INCREASED "FLOW"
Click the thumbnail image below for larger diagrams of the two-line pass and "tag-up" offsides.
ICING THE PUCK
LIMITS ON GOALTENDERS
Click the thumbnail image below for a larger diagram of the goaltender trap zone.
Goaltender Trap Zone
OFFICIATING POINTS OF EMPHASIS
A SUMMARY OF THE RULE-MAKING PROCESS
In February, 2004, the League began a thorough review of all aspects of the game at a meeting of the 30 club General Managers. Three current and former players also participated. Following the meeting, the League requested that six potential rule changes be tested in the American Hockey League during the 2004-05 season.
In July, 2004, the "Game Committee," comprised of current and former players, owners, general managers, coaches, on-ice officials and broadcasters met in New York to further discuss the direction of the on-ice product. Following that meeting, the League continued to review and assess the merits of a number of rule changes implemented in the American Hockey League during the 2004-05 season.
The League's General Managers and nine current players met in Detroit in April, 2005, to further discuss potential changes and the League conducted a Research and Development camp with OHL players and Canadian University players in Toronto last month to test the merits of several suggested rules.
In addition, the League did extensive polling to determine changes desired by NHL fans. The League also spoke to numerous NHL players and coaches as well as representatives of the American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League, Canadian Hockey League (major junior) and NCAA. As well, the League elicited input from managers, coaches and players from European leagues during the 2004-05 season.
The Competition Committee met for the first time on June 23 in Toronto and, after considering the significant body of information that had been developed over many months, arrived at a consensus for recommending the series of rule changes described above for the 2005-06 season.