USA Hockey eliminates icing the puck on penalty kills for 14-and-under players

USA

Well this is an interesting idea.

On Saturday the Boston Globe reported that USA Hockey is no longer allowing teams in 14-and-under leagues to simply dump the puck the length of the ice on penalty kills.

Instead, players on the penalty kill will now be required to clear the center red line before dumping the puck. And if they dump in the length of the ice like they had previously, the play will be whistled for icing and a face-off will happen in the zone of the team on the penalty kill.

But we’re not here just to bring you the news of this happening, since this HOTSPROTSTAKES, I’m here to offer my never-wrong opinion on the matter:

I think it’s a great idea, for a number of reasons.

First, just because a team commits a penalty and is playing with one (or two) fewer players doesn’t mean they should be able to just grab the puck, wing it down the ice from where they’re standing, and wait for the play to come back to them. They should have to play under the rules of the game at 5 on 5. The team on the power play doesn’t get to dump it in from behind the red line, or get to skate in off-sides just because they have an extra guy. So from that standpoint, it’s a great idea.

Second, and this is more at the youth levels, this will be such a boost to promoting team play and developing on-ice skills. Taking a puck and shooting it as hard and as far as you can and then not moving is not a skill. Instead, these #youths will have to either make a great play to skate through the team on the power play to gain the red line and then dump, or they’ll have to string together some passes on a breakout to allow a dump in. Again, these are both good things.

Third, this is going to create more goals. While the youths will have to try to dance their way through the neutral zone or make passes, it’s also going to lead to an increase in turnovers, and that in turn is going to create more chances for the team on the power play, and in a sport that is starved for goals, that’s a good thing.

Now, the important thing to remember is that this is only for 14-and-under leagues, so this isn’t coming to high school, juniors, college, or the NHL any time soon. But it should. The NHL talks about how scoring is down and they want to make subtle changes that don’t dramatically change the game, well here you go.

The main reasoning would be the first and third reasons I listed above. These are pros, they shouldn’t be allowed to just whip it off the glass/boards and get a free line change. Make them show off real skills to kill the penalty. And if they don’t, hey, there’s probably more scoring chances because of it!

But then again, this is the NHL, when this idea is finally presented to them in 2025, they’ll probably hem and haw on it, and then come up with some stupid reason for why they won’t put this rule in place.

But good on USA Hockey for being proactive and trying something different.

 

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