TORONTO (AP) -The NHL is one step closer to a new rule on blindside hits to the head.
The league's board of governors has unanimously approved the proposed penalty that would ban hits to the head against on an unsuspecting player.
According to a statement released by the NHL on Tuesday night, the timing and details of implementation are being worked on by the league's hockey operations department and the players' Association. General managers first proposed the rule earlier this month.
Florida Panthers forward David Booth missed 45 games this season after getting hit by Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards - a play that was legal at the time, but will no longer be tolerated under the new system.
An unpunished blindside hit by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke against Boston's Marc Savard on March 7 also increased pressure to enact a new rule. Savard sustained a concussion that will likely sideline him for at least the rest of the regular season.
The GM meetings began the day after Savard was hit.
According to the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the players' association, the new rule also needs approval from the 10-man competition committee. That group is comprised of five players, four general managers and Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider.
"The league's proposal cannot take effect until it first receives the support of the joint NHLPA/NHL competition committee, and then is endorsed by the NHL board of governors," the players' association said in a statement. "To date, the competition committee has neither agreed on a proposal, nor forwarded a proposal to the board of governors for its vote.
"As we have previously stated, the NHLPA's competition committee members are finalizing their response to the NHL's proposal regarding blindside hits to the head and will be responding back to the league this week."