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Competition Committee makes recommendations

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

The new-look Competition Committee held its first meeting today and took action on several issues surrounding the game.

Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to NHLPA executive director Don Fehr, led the meeting which was attended by five NHL executives (general managers, owners, coaches), five NHL players and long-time referee Don Van Massenhoven. Among the league's contingent was Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, Flyers owner Ed Snider, Predators GM David Poile, Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.

The meeting concluded around 5 p.m. ET at the NHL's offices in Toronto. According to, players present for the meeting were David Backes, Cory Schneider, Mike Cammalleri, Alex Pietrangelo and Ron Hainsey.

Among the items headed to the league's Board of Governors for approval: grandfathering mandatory use of visors for NHL players. After scary eye and facial injuries brought the issue of visors to the fore this past season - namely Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, who missed the remainder of the season and playoffs - the topic of grandfathering in mandatory use became more prevalent.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported this afternoon that in the proposed rule, players who have 26 or more NHL regular season/playoff games of experience will not have to wear a visor under the new agreement. According to Sportnet's Chris Johnston, only 30 percent of NHL players were in favor of grandfathering the mandatory use of visors. Times have changed, yes, but everything's subject to change when the long-term health of players is at risk.

Hybrid icing, tested in the AHL this year during the NHL lockout, will also be recommended to the Board of Governors for implementation during the 2013-14 NHL preseason. The AHL ceased use of hybrid icing once the NHL season began in January, but the main objective of lowering risk of injury due to icing "races" was evident.

According to, the league intends to eliminate the "attainable pass" when making icing calls. You can read more detail on what that means by clicking here (Rule 81.5).

If the proposed change is approved, hybrid icing will be tested during the preseason and if successful, will be re-visited for potential use during the upcoming regular season.

Other topics and changes headed to the Board of Governors for approval:

- Shallower nets, for the purpose of allowing more room to operate behind the net.

- The ability for referees to review double-minor high sticking penalties.

The following is a brief statement released by the NHL today:

"The National Hockey League's Competition Committee has recommended making visors mandatory starting in 2013-14.

The recommendation of the committee was to have visors mandatory for all new players in the NHL next season, while allowing current players to decide on their own if they want to wear them. It's the same procedure the League used when implementing mandatory helmet usage in 1980.

Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to the executive director of the NHL Players' Association, said "a significant majority" of players voted for grandfathering in visor usage.

Other recommendations made by the committee included testing hybrid icing in the preseason; video review for high-sticking penalties ruled to be four-minute minors; and the use of shallower nets to allow for more room behind them.

All recommendations from the Competition Committee must be approved by the NHL Board of Governors."

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