The Elite League Board of Directors met on Wednesday November 8th 2017 to discuss the future of the Department of Player Safety and officiating in the league for the remainder of the 2017/18 season and beyond.
The Board have agreed to continue to outsource all Player Safety matters to former NHL linesman Lyle Seitz and the Player Safety Committee (PSC). Seitz and the PSC will also oversee education and development for Elite League officials over the next season. This will include video analysis and feedback of current officiating.
The Board has also unanimously agreed to introduce the 4-Man officiating system for all Elite League, Challenge Cup and Playoff games from January 2018. The need to continue to develop, educate and improve officials has been recognised by the Board and the move to a 4-man system is seen as a major step forward in that regard.
The new system is expected to come into effect from January to allow sufficient time to consider the logistics of the change and to ensure that enough quality officials are available to work EIHL games. The plan is for the EIHL to use senior officials working in tandem with officials who are new to the league, to ensure the transition to the UK’s top flight is smoother than the 3-man system has previously allowed for.
This is part of a long term plan to improve officiating standards within the UK and to grow the number of officials available. Members of the Elite League Board will be meeting with Joy Johnston, Refereeing Chief and Director of the Officiating Education Programme for Ice Hockey UK (IHUK), on November 28th to further discuss these plans.
“We feel that the EIHL is too good of a league to be running the 3-man-system going forward.” Cardiff Devils Managing Director Todd Kelman said.
“All of the top leagues around the world are using the 4-man system, and this change should result in a speeding up of games and improved player safety. We can’t make the change to the 4-man system overnight. We have to look at what is out there and how we transition to the 4-man system, but the aim is to start using the 4-man system in January, if we can find enough quality officials that are ready to make the jump to the EIHL.”
Furthermore, the Board has agreed to increase the scope of which penalties will be automatically reviewed by the Department of Player Safety with immediate effect.
As well as continuing to automatically review all 2+10 and 5+Game penalties for Checking to the Head, all 2+10 and 5+Game penalties for Checking from Behind and allMatch penalties, the Department of Player Safety will now also automatically review all 5 minute Major penalties and any body contact penalties which result in an injury.