Oct 29, 2013, 2:50 PM EST
Anna Gonzalez, the official 2013-14 hockey beat writer for the Irish UNDerground blog, is currently a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. Over the course of the year Anna will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and stories from inside the team circle. You can follow Anna (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.
Because I like to be a well-informed reporter (channelling my inner John Buccigross at times if you look at the title) and spectator, I figured I should read up on the official rules of college hockey. I already know most of them from simply watching the game, but there are a lot of technicalities and intricacies that can’t be learned simply by watching. That’s why over break I decided to read the official NCAA Ice Hockey Rules and Interpretations book. Also, I needed to switch up my reading material away from my textbooks for a little bit. There are quite a few interesting things I learned. Maybe you already knew all of these, and maybe you didn’t. If you did, congratulations—you’ve successfully made me feel insufficient as a hockey writer. If not, now you do.
Head injuries are the plague and must be avoided. The “Points of Emphasis” section, which “calls attention to one area of the game that…must be improved, not through additional rules but by a stronger emphasis on existing rules,” is all about “Contact to the Head.” In short, any penalties involving intentional contact to the head automatically become major penalties plus a game misconduct penalty. Accidental contact to the head is a minor penalty. Basically, if it’s neck or up, it should be avoided at all costs. I’m pretty sure this goes for every sport, and it is really important, so it’s actually no surprise at all that this is the first thing in the book.
The Rink is a sacred (and very specifically laid-out) area. This isn’t really something new I learned, but I found out just to what extent the complexity of the rink layout goes. To be honest, I’ve been watching hockey for a few years now and still didn’t know what every mark on the ice was for, but I do now! For every line’s width, every circle’s diameter, and every crease’s area, there are very specific dimensions (and colors). I don’t feel it’s necessary to explain them all, but it’s very detailed in the rulebook.
Eight guys get to sit out each game. Each teams’ coaches are required to submit a roster of 18 eligible players before the game. With a 26-man roster, 8 of the Irish student-athletes don’t make that list each game.
The substitute goalkeeper is just as important as the starter. “A substitute goalkeeper must be on the bench at the start of the game and shall be at all times fully dressed and equipped and ready to play…A team shall not start a game with less than two goalkeepers.” The penalty for breaking this rule? Forfeiture. This one caught me by surprise.
Cpt. Goalkeeper doesn’t exist. “A goalkeeper shall not be entitled to exercise the privileges of a captain.” No matter how much of a leader he may be on the team, the goalkeeper can’t be captain. But he’ll always be captain of his net.
Hemophobes, stop reading here, and move on to the next paragraph. If there’s blood, the game has to stop, and medical personnel steps in. Here’s where this rule gets really specific: “When a player’s or official’s uniform has blood on it (whether it is the player’s or official’s blood or someone else’s blood), the official must stop the game at the earliest possible time and require the player or official to leave the game to have the uniform evaluated by medical personnel. If the team’s medical personnel determine that the blood has saturated the uniform, the player or official must change that part of the uniform. If saturation has not occurred, the player or official may continue to wear the uniform.” There’s also some stuff about number changes, but this rarely happens, so I won’t bother.
Rule 9 is my least favorite. “The visiting team shall wear dark-colored jerseys and stockings; the home team shall wear light-colored jerseys and stockings. All players of each team shall dress uniformly in that day’s game jersey.” Womp. So a few weeks ago, I tweeted about this. I said
Well, they can’t. Dagnabbit. Also involved in the uniform rule is the impressive specificity as it pertains to the sizing and placement of letters, numbers, and logos on the jerseys. As long as the NCAA doesn’t outlaw gold chrome helmets, we won’t have too much of a problem.
There’s so much protective equipment required it makes my head spin…but keeps the players’ heads from spinning. “The equipment shall include gloves, shin pads, shoulder pads, elbow pads, hip pads or padded hockey pants, protective cup, pelvic protector, and any other equipment prescribed in these rules.” (i.e. Helmet, face mask, and mouth guard) MSN Money lists Ice Hockey as the most expensive sport for kids to play, costing up to $1000 per year, which isn’t surprising considering all that gear.
Where’s the creativity? “Adhesive tape of any color may be wrapped around the stick at any place for the purpose of reinforcement or to improve control of the puck.” Boy, would I take this rule and run with it! Guys, where’s the colorful tape? I’m talking neon green and Superman tape! C’mon now! (I know that the black and white tape is usually related to strategy, but I’m a girl and I like pretty colors and patterns, so sue me.)
“Fight! Fight! Fight!” How about no? The penalty for fighting, punching, or kneeing in NCAA Ice Hockey is disqualification. I can’t tell you how many times spectators in Compton got angry about a fight not breaking out, but fights in college hockey are fights that no one wins. So if you want to watch a fight break out on the ice, you’ll have to turn to the NHL for that…or maybe Pee Wee hockey. Boys will be boys.
There you have it! Did you learn something new? If nothing else, you learned that I’m very picky when it comes to colors and that I was so tired of reading philosophy, I read the entire NCAA Ice Hockey Rulebook. If you’re tired of reading philosophy, too, or you’re just curious, you can access the rulebook here. Now let’s watch some hockey!
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