An­other Sea­son of Skatey-stick

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News -

was the ice and skates, with many of the rules be­ing the same in­clud­ing the use of the “bully.” “Bul­ly­ing” was far dis­tant from to­day’s def­i­ni­tion, mean­ing op­pos­ing cen­ters would meet at cen­ter ice and bang their sticks to­gether three times be­fore touch­ing the puck to ini­ti­ate play. The mod­ern face­off, as we know it, was in­tro­duced in 1913 and some be­lieve this im­por­tant rule change was one of the first demon­stra­tions of anti-bul­ly­ing and to this day we are con­cerned about bul­ly­ing in hockey.

A year be­fore the face­off was adopted, there was an­other ma­jor change that is still in ef­fect to this day: the num­ber of play­ers on the ice. The seven play­ers al­lowed on the ice in­cluded the goalie, two de­fence­men, three for­wards and a sev­enth player who was a “rover” be­tween de­fence and for­ward. At that time, the “bench” was only one or two play­ers, so the strat­egy was to have the rover stay on the ice but rest­ing af­ter a rush. With both sides us­ing the same strat­egy, it was ob­vi­ous a change should be made. I have played many out­door shinny games where there were as many as 20 play­ers a side. They ranged in age from five to 75 years of age with­out team colours and it was magic. I do not see the NHL adopt­ing that change…hmm maybe for over­times. Even back in the early days, equip­ment im­prove­ments were a fac­tor in some rule adap­ta­tions. As a re­sult, the mod­ern ver­sion con­tin­ues to im­prove. Up un­til the 1917 sea­son, goal­tenders were not al­lowed to drop to the ice while mak­ing a save. If they did, they were pe­nal­ized for the in­frac­tion. This ma­jor rule change not only im­proved the game im­mensely, it now al­lowed goalies to still be “stand-up” guys while drop­ping to their knees to make the save. I know a lot of goalies who are still stand-up guys… per­haps a lit­tle crazy, but still stand-up guys. Crazy comes with be­ing a goalie.

The 1911 sea­son saw a change that is still as much a part of hockey as sticks and skates. That was when they di­vided the hour-long game into three 20 minute pe­ri­ods. Up un­til then, the game was two pe­ri­ods of 30 min­utes, with enough time at half­time for a cof­fee and a cigar. Sadly, there was no half­time show or wardrobe mal­func­tions. My old-timer’s hockey be­gins this week and I doubt if there will be any rule changes to speak of, but there will be one rule that will re­main the same for us old guys, as it should for the young­sters.

Just have fun!

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