AHL testing new rules for NHL

The American Hockey League has announced a variety of new rules meant to curb the number of staged fights.

The rules, released Thursday, include assessing an automatic game misconduct to any player who engages in a fight “prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff,” on top of any regular penalties that would be assessed.

Any player who reaches 10 fighting majors will also be automatically suspended for one game, and will receive an extra one-game suspension for each fight afterwards up to 13 fights. So, after a player’s 11th fight, he will receive another one-game suspension, and so on for his 12th and 13th fights.

Once a player reaches 14 fights, each fight thereafter will trigger an automatic two-game suspension.

The rule changes could be a precursor to it being added to the NHL, as the AHL has been a testing ground for rule changes in the past.

Last year, Michael Liambas of the Rockford IceHogs led the AHL in fighting majors with 20. Under the new rules, that would mean 18 total games in suspensions.

For an NHL comparison, only four players reached the 10-fight threshold last season. Colorado’s Cody McLeod led the league with 12 fights, while Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett and new Maple Leaf Matt Martin each had 11, and Mike Brown had 10.

Some current and former hockey players reacted to the rule changes on social media:

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The AHL also made a few other rule changes.

In addition to not being able to substitute players after an icing, teams will now not be allowed to call a timeout, a tactic often used to give players time to rest.

The league also made a change to the jerseys teams will wear, with the home team now wearing their light jerseys until the Christmas break, and switching to their dark jerseys after the break.

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