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New Icing Rule Wins NHL General Managers’ Support in Safety Move

A new rule on icing was approved by National Hockey League general managers, the first step toward adopting a change aimed at reducing player injuries from goal-line races.

The proposal was approved by the GMs during meetings yesterday in Boca Raton, Florida, the NHL said on its website.

Before submitting the proposal to the league’s Competition Committee, the GMs will draft a definition of the change to eliminate gray areas they believe exist in a similar rule used by U.S. college teams and a top U.S. junior league, the NHL said.

“It’s going to go forward as a recommendation, but there is some cleaning up as to how exactly it is going to work and what directives we’re going to give,” Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier said.

If approved by the Competition Committee, the rule would be added to the Board of Governors’ agenda for possible implementation next season.

An icing play would be negated under the change if an attacking forward outraces the opposing team’s defenseman to an imaginary line across the defensive-zone faceoff dots while chasing a puck shot down ice from behind the center red line. The proposed rule, which has been on the GM meeting agenda for six years, has been tested at the league’s research and development camp in Toronto the past two years.

Under the current icing rule, a forward must beat a defenseman to the puck after it crosses the goal line to negate an icing call. High-speed races for the puck have resulted in injuries as players crash into the boards or are hit into the boards from behind.

Defensemen Kurtis Foster of the Minnesota Wild and Taylor Fedun of the Edmonton Oilers both broke legs in recent seasons when hit into the boards on icing plays.

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