Hybrid icing likely to be approved

March 13, 2012, by

The big story around the league yesterday came from the GM meetings, where player safety was the topic du jour. While many ideas are often bounced around a small group of GMs, one seemed to stick: hybrid icing. Dan Rosen of explains hybrid icing:

Hybrid icing is a mixture of touch and no-touch icing. It gives a linesman the discretion to blow his whistle and stop the play if he believes a defending player will reach the puck first. If the linesman believes the attacking player has a chance to reach the puck first, he keeps his whistle in his pocket and lets the race to the puck play out. The linesman always will side with the defending player and blow his whistle if he feels the race is a tie by the time the players reach the faceoff dots.

This is an attempt to prevent injuries to players that result from a race for the puck. The most famous of these is when Kurtis Foster –then with Edmonton– suffered a gruesome injury in a race for the puck with Torrey Mitchell of San Jose. Foster fell awkwardly after being pushed from being and broke his femur (the bone between the knee and the hip). To put this into perspective, the two were racing so fast for the puck, that Foster hit the boards with over 1,100 lbs/in2, the force required to break the bone.

The rule, which was “approved” yesterday, will go to all 30 GMs today for further discussion. If it becomes a unanimous decision, then the rule will be recommended to the competition committee and the board of governors for approval.

Other areas discussed were eliminating the hand pass in the defensive zone, reinstating the red line, and allowing for “bear hugging” along the boards to prevent boarding penalties. None of these gained any real traction, but reinstating the red line might in the future.

Categories : Around the League


  1. Leatherneckinlv says:

    This is a good move, however they need to look into hits from behind as well…the rule as is now…stinks…there should be a penalty assessed to a player who deliberately turns his back to get hit as well….and positions himself to get hurt. I heard some where might have been on a telecast of a game about clutching a player near the boards for a hit on the boards…something has to change…and it is not taking hits out of the game

    • Justin says:

      Good points leather…I am all about taking dangerous hits out of the game, but you are absolutely right that there are players who deliberately put themselves into dangerous situations, either to induce the incoming player not to hit them (thus allowing them to retain control of the puck) or to draw a penalty.

      Oh, and take out the trapezoid!

  2. rwa says:

    anyone know what happened to michael gleich, bleeding all blue

  3. Chris F says:

    Honestly, hybrid icing makes no sense. Not only does it elevate the safety of one group of players (defensemen) over another group (forwards), but it also really only targets those situations that rarely lead to injury anyway.

    If there is a clear defensive winner at the face-off dots, that play likely wasn’t going to result in players crashing into the boards to begin with. So why blow a whistle? If it’s too close to call, though, then the play continues and we’re still left with a dangerous race to the boards.

    What’s more, how can you blow the whistle to protect defenders, but not blow the whistle when forwards are winning at the face-off dot, thereby allowing the play to continue and putting forwards in jeopardy of getting violently tossed into the boards by the chasing defenseman?

    This smacks of a rule change simply for the sake of changing the rules. It’s a farce. It gives the appearance of elevating player safety, nothing more.

    • Jackson says:

      You definitely have a point, but imagine a defender is at the dot and only has a couple steps on the forechecker and gets slammed into the boards right as the whistle is being blown. Wouldn’t you rather it be blown dead right at the dot?
      I see this rule not as if it’s meant to protect any one player over another, but to potentially limit late/unnecessary hits on icing calls.

  4. The Suit says:

    I like the hybrid icing, but boy that could be tough to call as a ref.

    I doubt they will remove the trapezoid or bring back the red line as those two rules keep dump and chase hockey alive and 90s era trapping in the coffin.