The NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee continues in its belief that the main threat to the health of high school ice hockey is violent and reckless play. The committee wishes to address the following areas in the hope that violence and reckless play will be minimized.
A fair body check is one in which a player checks an opponent who is in the possession of the puck, by using his upper body from the front or diagonally from the front or straight from the side, and does not take more than two strides (steps) in executing the check.
Hits to the head are never to be considered a part of the game. Hits from high hands, elbows, forearms, high sticks and shoving the head into the glass add no value to the game and only increase the risk of injury to players. It is imperative to have helmets securely fastened.
Hits on defenseless players (blind side hits) are illegal and are very dangerous plays in the sport. Late hits and unnecessary body contact are acts that need to be eliminated from high school hockey to create a safer environment for all participants.
CONCUSSION RECOGNITION AND MANAGEMENT
For the past several years, the NFHS has been at the forefront of national sports organizations in emphasizing the importance of education, recognition and proper management of concussions. Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be immediately removed from the game. State association protocol pertaining to concussion management must be reviewed and followed. Please review Rule 2-6-1 and the Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussions on page 82.
COMMUNICATION AND YOUR ROLE
It is imperative that coaches, officials, administrators, parents and participants all understand their role in school based athletics and activities. Coaches, parents, administrators and participants need to understand that officials are forced to make difficult decisions and will make mistakes, however officials must call penalties to create a safer environment for the participants.
Officials need to understand that penalties must be called “by the book.” Officials must not allow outside pressures, such as coaches, administrators, parents and players influence calls made or not made on the ice.
Tooth and mouth protectors are required to be worn by all players and goalkeepers in high school hockey. Coaches and players must take the responsibility to make sure mouthguards are worn.