OHL Gets Tougher On Frequent Fighters
It has always been natural for hockey players who fight to count how many times they have dropped the gloves. They can come up with that number more quickly than a 15 year old can tell you how many days they have left until they are behind the wheel. It's a badge of honour for some of them. As legend has it, one of the Bonvie brothers of OHL's years gone by used to write the name of every player he had fought on the t-shirt he wore under his equipment. By the end of the year, that sweat-stained shirt looked a lot like Santa's "naughty" list. It was long.
On Wednesday the Ontario Hockey League announced a move that makes the days of the Bonvies and other brawlers seem like 1000 BC. Commissioner David Branch has implemented rules that will crack down on anyone who exceeds ten fighting majors in a season. After an 11th fight, the player will be suspended for two games. He will receive a two-game suspension for each subsequent fight as well. Should that player exceed fifteen fights, the punishment grows and begins to affect the player's team. A two game suspension will still be doled out for each fight, but the team will receive a one thousand dollar fine for each fighting major.
Ty Bilcke of the Windsor Spitfires led the OHL in fighting majors in 2011-12 with 37. A total of 31 players had at least ten fights.
As of now, the WHL and QMJHL have yet to follow in the OHL's footsteps with similar rules.
The OHL has also announced that alternating home venues in the playoffs will cease. The 2-2-1-1-1 format will be employed in every series.
The league has also changed video replay rules for the following:
Video Replay will apply through Rule 38.4 if:
1. The puck is hand-passed to a teammate in the offensive zone who subsequently scores.
2. The puck is high-sticked to a teammate in the offensive zone who subsequently scores.
The OHL has also instituted a refusal to play the puck rule which basically states that if a player is not moving the puck forward, the whistle will be blown and a face-off will take place at centre ice.