The BCHL announced that it will have stiffer penalties for major infractions in the upcoming season. Jim Bailey photo.

The BCHL announced that it will have stiffer penalties for major infractions in the upcoming season. Jim Bailey photo.

BCHL introduces changes to make game safer

The BCHL announced more severe consequences are in store for major infractions next season

The BCHL will see stiffer penalties for major infractions.

The league held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) over a series of video conference calls in the last month and the league’s Board of Governors has approved several new initiatives and protocols for the 2020-21 season.

Earlier this month, the BCHL appointed a Return-to-Play Task Force which is responsible for outlining several different scenarios on how and when the league can resume its schedule, while working with the Provincial Health Authorities to develop return to play guidelines and safety measures.

In addition, the AGM agenda also addressed on-ice infractions and making the game a safer and more skilled affair.

The newly formed Department of Player Safety, comprised of head official Brad Lazarowich and BCHL executive director Steven Cocker, will monitor all penalties to ensure the correct call was made on the ice, and new changes enforced.

Fighting Majors: The BCHL is imposing stricter penalties for fighting next season. In 2020-21 a player will receive supplemental discipline on their second fight. The previous standard gave players four fights prior to receiving any further supplemental discipline. There will be a zero-tolerance stance on instigator and aggressor penalties, both receiving suspensions on first offence and will significantly increase on accumulation.

“As a leader of developing college-bound student athletes, we feel this is a progressive step for the BCHL,” said Cocker. “The safety of our players is an integral part of any decision we make as a league and a stronger stance on fighting and zero-tolerance on instigators and aggressors is a great step forward.

“The game continues to evolve and move in the direction of speed and skill and we want to be on the forefront of that movement,” said Cocker.

Charging Rule 6.3: The league has also implemented specific wording to address hits that come from outside of a player’s line of sight. Any hit that occurs from a player’s blindside, meaning outside a 90-degree angle of their line of vision, with significant force, will be called charging.

Slew-Footing: The BCHL has also imposed stricter penalties on slew-footing. It will now be categorized with clipping and kneeing as an accumulation category. Any player who commits a slew foot will be assessed a four-minute double minor penalty or a match penalty, depending on the severity of the incident as determined by the referee. An automatic match penalty will be assessed when an injury occurs due to a slew foot.

Portable Defibrillators: It will now be mandatory for each team to have a portable defibrillator on hand in case of an emergency involving a player or team staff member. Trainers will be required to carry one for every game, practice and team event.