OHL announces new “blindside hit rule” and more fighting limitations

Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey

Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey

 

By @MichaelCaples –

The Ontario Hockey League announced some rule changes today that should make the game safer for the Major Junior league when the puck drops on the 2016-17 season.

The OHL’s Board of Directors adopted a new “Blindside Hit Rule” today, along with new rules to discourage fighting.

With the new ‘blindside’ rule, OHL referees will have the discretion to assess a minor, major, game misconduct or match penalty based on any play where a player checks an opponent from the blindside.

The league also lowered their threshold for automatic disciplinary action for fighting – players will now be assessed a two-game suspension after three fights, instead of ten.

The announcement does have one exception – if the player is instigated upon, the fighting major will not count towards their limit of three.

“As the number one development league in the world for the NHL and CIS, the OHL continually challenges ourselves to improve the on-ice environment and evolve the game for the benefit of the most important people in our game, our players,” said David Branch, OHL Commissioner, in a release.