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NCAA rescinds controversial icing proposal

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A controversial college hockey rules proposal that would have enforced icing at all times next season, including on shorthanded teams during the power play, was rescinded Thursday.

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The NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee announced the decision following a month of objections from several collegiate coaches.

"I think that is a good thing - the best thing for us in college hockey right now," Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said.

Serratore, North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol and Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais were among the coaches who publicly criticized the proposal when it first came out in June. The WCHA coaches voted unanimously against the proposal before it reached the rules committee.

"The committee appreciates the membership feedback and values the opinions of coaches and administrators," Rules Committee chair Forrest Karr said in a statement. "Responses indicate that while several coaches like the concept, there are concerns about the potential unintended consequences. By using the rule in exhibition games over the next two seasons, the committee will have more concrete information."

It may not take long for coaches, players and fans to see how the rule plays out in a game. Bemidji State's lone exhibition on the schedule is an Oct. 2 home game against the University of Manitoba.

That game will be played only if construction is complete at the Bemidji Regional Event Center and the facility is ready for use.

BSU opens the regular season Oct. 15 against North Dakota at the Bemidji Regional Event Center.

"We as coaches really appreciate the committee's hard work on overturning this proposal," Serratore said. "Now we can look at how this is going to work in exhibitions and we'll be able to make better decisions and have better opinions next time this comes up for discussion."

Serratore said the icing proposal has been a topic of discussion in leagues outside college hockey as a way to increase scoring in the game. The rules committee also considered making icing a penalty even for teams defending the power play as another way to help boost offense.

"I think that a North American sanctioned league has to experiment with this first," Serratore said. "It was tough to ask us in college hockey to do this and a lot of us were frustrated. We appreciate that the rules committee values our opinions."

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Pioneer staff reports
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