NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League Board of Governors, at its annual meeting, today unanimously approved the sale of the Edmonton Oilers to Daryl Katz and the Tampa Bay Lightning to a group of investors led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie. The approval was granted pending the closing of the transactions by the prospective purchasers.
The Board also endorsed rules changes that had been recommended by the NHL General Managers and approved by the Competition Committee:
A change to Rule 76.2 (“Face-Offs”) will place the first face-off of a power play in the defending zone of the team that committed the foul.
A change to Rule 81.1 (“Icing”) states that “Any contact between opposing players while pursuing the puck on an icing must be for the sole purpose of playing the puck and not for eliminating the opponent from playing the puck. Unnecessary or dangerous contact could result in penalties being assessed to the offending player.”
A change to Rule 85.5 (“Face-Off Location”) provides that if a puck is shot off the goal frame, goal post or crossbar, the subsequent face-off will remain in the end zone where the puck went out of play.
Further, the Board endorsed immediate and long-term recommendations forwarded by the Goaltender Equipment Working Group and approved by the Competition Committee. Using the guiding principles that: (1) Goaltender equipment should not be any larger than it needs to be to provide adequate protection and (2) should be proportionate to the size of the goaltender, the Working Group will work aggressively with the goalies and manufacturers toward developing standards for the maximum size of all equipment that each individual can wear.
The Board also voted to increase significantly its funding of USA Hockey programs, in particular the National Team Development Program, and voted to create a committee to oversee that expenditure.