LONDON, ONT. - It doesn’t matter what you call it, the result will be the same.
The Ontario Hockey League is doing its own pounding away at fighters and dirty players hoping to eventually legislate those kinds of players out of existence.
The OHL, in cooperation with the Canadian Hockey League, is calling the rule changes “On-Ice Player Safety Initiatives to augment the ongoing support of all players.”
Most of the rules are geared to suspensions for accumulation of majors and fouls that deal with potentially dangerous situations.
The OHL is expanding the time when the staged fight rule applies. Right now players receive an automatic game misconduct for a fight occurring immediately following the drop of the puck at the commencement of a period or game. Now an automatic game misconduct will be handed out when a staged fight occurs immediately following any faceoff during the game.
The other significant change involves a reduction in the number of fights a player can have before getting tossed from the game. A player is now given a game misconduct after earning two fighting majors in a game instead of three.
The other changes involved additional suspensions.
If a player receives a third game misconduct during the season for a combination of any five minute major and game misconduct penalties for checking-to-the-head, checking-from-behind, boarding, kneeing and clipping, for which suspensions were not given before that player now gets an automatic one-game suspension. Each subsequent game misconduct penalty will see an increase in the penalty.
If a player receives a third minor penalty for instigating during the season, he shall receive an automatic one game suspension with additional suspension if a player takes additional instigator penalties.
If a player receives a fourth minor penalty during the regular season for checking-from-behind, checking-to-the head, kneeing, clipping or boarding, he gets a game suspension. For each subsequent minor penalty in any of those categories, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.
The OHL is going after undisciplined teams as well.
OHL teams have a threshold of three major penalties for fighting during each game. A fine is assessed if there are any more major penalties for fighting assessed.