Upon the recommendation of the Rules Committee, the ECHL Board of Governors approved the adoption of the following new rules for 2005-06:
* Passes from behind the defensive blue line to the attacking blue line will be considered legal. The center red line will be ignored for purposes of the “two-line pass”.
* A team that ices the puck cannot make a line change prior to the ensuing face-off.
* Dimensions of goaltender equipment will be reduced by approximately 11 percent, including a one-inch reduction in the width of leg pads to 11 inches as well as reducing the size of the blocking glove, catcher, upper-body protector and pants. Goaltenders in the ECHL must be in compliance with the new regu lations no later than December 15, the same date mandated by the American Hockey League.
* Goaltenders may play the puck behind the goal line only in a trapezoid-shaped area defined by lines that being six feet from either goal post and extend diagonally to points 28 feet apart at the endboards. Goaltenders who play the puck behind the goal line but outside the designated puck-handling area will be penalized for delay of game.
* Any player who shoots the puck directly over the glass in his defending zone will be penalized for delay of game.
The Rules Committee recommended the league work with the on-ice officiating staff to tighten the standards for the three main areas of obstruction. The league will closely monitor the new standard of enforcement being applied in the NHL and the AHL.
The ECHL has had the “tag-up rule” for several seasons, which permits play to continue if offensive players who preceded the puck into the zone return to the blue line and “tag” up. The ECHL will continue to use “no-touch” icing and will continue to use five shooters in the shootout.