SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League's Board of Governors has concluded its 2014 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded Thursday, saw the approval of the following rules changes to be implemented beginning in 2014-15:Rule 85 ("Overtime") During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a "dry scrape" of the entire ice surface. Teams will change ends at the start of overtime. Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period. If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.Rule 20.4 ("Major Penalties")
- An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.
Rule 9.6 ("Helmets")
- A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened.
"With the full support of the league's Competition Committee and Player Development Committee, the Board has approved these changes with the betterment of our game and the safety of our players in mind," said Andrews.In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 13th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2013-14.