PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL Board of Governors held its Preseason Meeting on Thursday in Atlanta, Ga.
Mississippi’s Voluntary Suspension Request Approved
The Board unanimously approved the Voluntary Suspension request of the Mississippi Sea Wolves for 2005-06 under the league’s hardship provisions as a result of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The Sea Wolves reported to the Board that they were informed on Thursday that the Mississippi Coast Coliseum has been declared structurally sound and that the team fully intends to return for the 2006-07 season. The ECHL and its member teams will release the revised 2005-06 playing schedule next week.
Ice Pilots Sale Approved
The Board unanimously approved the sale of the Pensacola Ice Pilots from Hockey Enterprises of Pensacola, L.L.C. to Henley Sports Inc. and Mario Forgione. Forgione has more than 30 years of experience in the sports industry including interests in other minor-league and major junior hockey organizations, including the Mississauga IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League.
Storm Management Request Approved
The Board approved the request of the Toledo Storm to permit Barry Soskin to operate the team in 2005-06. Soskin is the original owner of the Toledo membership.
Rules Changes Approved
Upon the recommendation of the Rules Committee, the Board 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 regulations no later than December 15, 2005, 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.