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Sunday News (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Changes to the length of penalties for certain infractions in youth hockey may appear to be in response to last season's CPIHL Tier 2 title game.
However, the changes, as ordered by USA Hockey, youth hockey's national governing body, came independent of that game, in which 61 penalties were called for a total of 243 minutes.
The notable changes include two minutes plus an additional 10-minute misconduct for charging, boarding and head contact penalties.
The new penalties were designed to curb any physical contact involving a player's head and were presented to the league's team representatives by Tom O'Connell, the supervisor of the local officials organization.
"USA Hockey had been contemplating the changes,'' O'Connell said. "The stress is on the high hits, the targeted head contact, hard hits and things of that nature. That's why they made those inflicting penalties more painful, so to speak, 2 and 10.''
The new penalties may also deter a player from retaliation. Instead of a player who feels he was unfairly hit going after an opponent, he may think twice, knowing he could be in the penalty box for 12 of the game's 45 minutes.
In addition, two misconducts in one game will result in a one-game suspension.
"A very good rule is the charging rule,'' Manheim Township coach Kevin Dean said. "Charging can get out of control, especially for kids between 16 and 19.''
The penalty changes could go a long way in preventing a repeat of what happened in last season's Tier 2 title game, one of the league's showcase games.
"Officials tell me it's been well-received,'' O'Connell said. "I haven't seen the intimidating hits of the past. It seems like the message has gotten out there loud and clear. Don't drill somebody through the boards or else you're going to sit for 12 minutes. I think the message is getting there.''