18 April 2019

Competition Committee new for 2008/09


Since the Competition Committee’s inception, it has reviewed, discussed, and created rules and regulations for hockey leagues in North America.  In implementing some of new or revised sets, the league employs representatives from various relevant bodies.  Roughly a dozen or so members make up the body, with various areas of representation.  There were a number of changes to the committee.   I thought that with such important motions and discussions taking place, it would be prudent to observe and call attention to them again at the onset of the season.


The owners have a stake for obvious reasons.   Interestingly enough, Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers is staying on as the league’s emissary. I cannot see Henry Samueli and his cohorts would not be sitting down for these meetings, throuw a little scandal aboard.  Joking aside, it is widely known that Snider is a close individual confidant to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.  A shrewd character with tremendous might in a number of scopes, Snider has great pull on the game of hockey.  I liken Snider to a large cat, relying on an ingrained killing skill and imperctible movements.  Inspecting his empire in the Philadelphia area, one is immediately impressed with the vastness.  Also interesting, Snider co-founded a non-profit think tank in 1985, the Ayn Rand Insititute.


Clubs from around the NHL have also got an interest in the goings-on from the discussions and meetings and thus have four representatives.  David Poile from Nashville, Bob Gainey from Montreal, Don Waddell from Atlanta, Brian Burke from Anaheim, and Kevin Lowe hailing from Edmonton, are the choices from each Divison.  I bet there is more than one of us who would love to record some of those conversations.  These are very smart hockey people with four ex-players that have all started to build valuable time in service in the management aspects.  A shrewd General Manager in Poile, he has consistently built his team through the draft and cultivated ambience in a volatile situation in Nashville with Barry Trotz.  League policeman Colin Campbell is a present member as well, though exercises no voting rights.


The Player’s Association (NHLPA) is present with highly regarded and influential players from around hockey.  One-time superstar centre Eric Lindros is a NHLPA representative that holds the ability to speak, though he too holds no power to vote.

As far as the previously mentioned player’s representatives, the board consists of five completely new members as of late April, 2008.  Brian Campbell (Chicago), Jeff Halpern (Tampa Bay), Mathieu Schneider (Anaheim), Jason Spezza (Ottawa), and Ryan Miller (Buffalo) make up the designated party.   The appointments replace the voices of Rob Blake, Jarome Iginla, Brendan Shanahan, and the recently retired Trevor Linden.  New Jersey Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur quit the committee, citing that he just did not want the responsibility anymore.  Brodeur was an original member from 2004. 

Finding these choices refreshing, one wonders about the selection process.  I thought it wise to include one of the league’s premier rushing defencemen in Campbell.  A fluid skater who is joining a youth-crazed market in Chicago, this appointment makes a ton of sense in the sense that his offensive tendancies should be regarded in decisions. The addition of Schneider allows the committee to examine changes and existing rules, while keeping the larger picture in focus.  Spezza and Miller include two top-tier players at their position.  This is important to keep in mind and was something I give the league full marks in continuing.  Jeff Halpern is an attention-grabbing choice and one that grows on me as I reflect.  The current USA Men’s Hockey Team captain will undoubtedly have a positive affect on players in Tampa Bay, his team attitude may mesh nicely with young players such as Andrej Meszaros and Steven Stamkos.

Within the parameters set out earlier this year, the committee has implemented three rules changes for the coming year.  Beside these, it seems that a renewed interest in limiting goalie equipment is being brought to the forefront and we will see changes soon.  That may just be why Brodeur walked away.

The first is rather simple and one that many will applaud in an obvious effort to increase powerplay production.  Rule 76.2 reads to the layman that the faceoff following a penalty will be held in the defending team’s zone immediately.  Anyone got a center adept at draws and with a huge point producing defender in their back pocket?  Watch out goaltenders.

The next, Rule 81.1 tells us that any contact between opponents rushing headlong down the ice in an attempt to gain possession of a puck that is a potential icing call, will be called for unnecessary or dangerous conduct in doing so.  Detractors cite the low instances of injury per year, tradition, and competitiveness.  I lay my loyalty on the side that even one more career-ending (or worse) injury that happens is another too many and that the game is better for it.

Rule 85.5 states that a puck that is shot in the offensive zone, ringing clearly off the goal frame and leaves the zone of play was once brought outside the offensive zone for a faceoff.  This is no longer the case.  I believe in an attempt to add offensive chances, the faceoff will be held to wither side of the goaltender in the offensive zone.  This is a subtle but potentially rewarding change.

In conclusion, changes to the game are in an effort to improve our game.  The input in this manner, using some of the best minds in a hockey symposium can go a long way to ironing out kinks and deficiencies, rewarding us all.



1 October 2008

Robin Keith Thompson

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