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U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Karyn Bye Dietz, Brian Rafalski, Jeff Sauer and Lou Vairo

08/06/2014, 6:45am MDT
By USAHockey.com

LISTEN: Class of 2014 Media teleconference

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Karyn Bye Dietz (River Falls, Wis.), Brian Rafalski (Dearborn, Mich.), Jeff Sauer (St. Paul, Minn.) and Lou Vairo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2014, it was announced today by USA Hockey.

“The class of 2014 is an extraordinary collection of individuals that have had an immensely positive impact on hockey in our country,” said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. “Cumulatively, they have been involved at every level of hockey and this group is a big reason why our sport has advanced to the point it has in the United States."

Karyn Bye Dietz

Karyn Bye Dietz, a pioneer in women's hockey in the United States, has had a significant impact on the sport's continued growth and evolution. She was one of the world's elite forwards during her time on the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1992-2002. During that span she represented the United States at both the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games. An alternate captain in 1998, Bye Dietz helped Team USA win the first gold medal ever awarded in women’s ice hockey at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. In that tournament she led the U.S. with five goals in six games, while her eight points were tied for first on the team. At the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Bye Dietz registered three goals and six points in a silver-medal showing in Salt Lake City, Utah. She participated in six International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships (1992, ‘94, ‘97, ‘99, 2000, ‘01), receiving a silver medal at each tournament. She also skated in the 1995 and 1996 IIHF Pacific Women’s Hockey Championships, at which the U.S. placed second both years. Bye Dietz accumulated 84 points (47-37) over 51 career games in a Team USA jersey. In 1995 and 1998, she was honored as USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year. In 2011, Bye Dietz became just the fifth woman to be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. A native of River Falls, Wisconsin, who currently resides in Hudson, Wisconsin, Bye Dietz played college hockey at the University of New Hampshire from 1989-93, racking up 164 points in 87 games. She was enshrined into the UNH Hall of Fame in 1998.

Brian Rafalski

Brian Rafalski played 15 seasons of professional hockey, including 11 in the National Hockey League. The defenseman, who grew up in the Detroit suburbs, began his NHL career in 1999-2000, helping the New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup and receiving NHL All-Rookie Team honors. Three years later in 2003, he hoisted the Stanley Cup yet again with the Devils. In 541 regular-season games with New Jersey, Rafalski racked up 44 goals and 311 points. He was selected to play in the 2004 and 2007 NHL All-Star Games. He spent the last four seasons of his career with the Detroit Red Wings, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2008. He recorded 204 points (35-169) over 292 regular-season contests for the Red Wings. Overall, the 515 career points he accumulated in the NHL are 10th-best among American defensemen. Rafalski began his professional career playing from 1995-99 in Sweden and Finland. Internationally, Rafalski was a member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games. He helped Team USA earn the silver medal at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics. At the 2010 Games in Vancouver, British Coumbia, Rafalski was named to the media all-star team and was honored as the tournament's best defenseman by the directorate after tallying four goals and eight points in six games. Across three Olympics, he tallied five goals and eight assists in 17 games. He also played for the 2004 U.S. World Cup of Hockey Team, 1995 U.S. Men’s National Team, and 1992 and 1993 U.S. National Junior Teams. During his four-year career at the University of Wisconsin, Rafalski amassed 20 goals and 98 points in 146 games. As a senior in 1994-95, he received a number of accolades, including American Hockey Coaches Association West All-America First Team, Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defensive Player of the Year and All-WCHA First Team. Rafalski spent two seasons playing junior hockey in the U.S., including one year (1990-91) with the Madison Capitols of the United States Hockey League and the other campaign (1989-90) in the North American Hockey League as a member of the Melvindale Blades.

Jeff Sauer

Jeff Sauer, who grew up in St. Paul, Minn., and now calls Middleton, Wis., home, has spent more than 40 years coaching hockey, and has had nothing but success in his varied endeavors. Sauer’s 31-year NCAA Division I men’s college coaching career featured 655 wins (seventh all-time) and two national championships, both of which came at the University of Wisconsin (1983, 1990). Sauer led Wisconsin to three NCAA Men's Frozen Four appearances, 12 NCAA tournament berths, six Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff titles and two WCHA regular-season crowns in 20 seasons (1982-2002). He also spent 11 years (1971-82) as head coach of the men's ice hockey team at his alma mater, Colorado College, where he was twice named WCHA Coach of the Year (1972, 1975). Throughout his college career, he served as head coach for multiple U.S. squads, including the 1995 U.S. Men’s National Team and U.S. teams that participated in the 1990 Goodwill Games, 1989 Pravada Cup and 1997 Tampere Cup. The 2014-15 season is Sauer’s fourth campaign as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. He led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2012 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship. Two years later, he was at the helm of the gold-medal winning 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia. Additionally, Sauer is president of the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association. He helped select the last five U.S. Deaflympic Ice Hockey Teams, while leading the team as head coach in the last three Winter Deaflympics, including a gold medal at the 2007 Deaflympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sauer has been honored with USA Hockey’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2000), the American Hockey Coaches Association’s John “Snooks” Kelly Founders Award (2004) and the NHL’s Lester Patrick Trophy (2011). He has also been inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame, Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame and the Colorado College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Lou Vairo

Lou Vairo, who has coached players at every level in the game, has been instrumental in the development of hockey in the United States for parts of the past six decades. In the 1960s, he was a leader in building grassroots programs in New York City. During the 1970s he transitioned to coaching, highlighted by a 1976 national championship while directing the Austin (Minn.) Mavericks of the United States Hockey League. Vairo’s coaching career expanded to USA Hockey in 1979. He served as head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team from 1979-82 and once again in 2003. On five occasions (1983, 2000-03), he was head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. After contributing as a scout to the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, he served as head coach of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and was an assistant coach for the 2002 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that received the silver medal in Salt Lake City, Utah. From 1984-86, Vairo moved to the National Hockey League and was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils. He then spent the next six seasons coaching in Holland and Italy, including stints working with both countries national teams. Vairo, USA Hockey’s director of special projects since 1992, was the driving voice in the formation of the Diversity Task Force that began in 1992 to help introduce hockey to inner city and minority children. He was at the forefront of helping develop many of USA Hockey’s most successful programs, including in coaching education and player development. Vairo was at the forefront of introducing European concepts of training and playing to the United States in 1972, including methods he learned when studying with legendary Soviet coach Anatoly Tarasov. A long-time member of the IIHF Coaching Committee, Vairo concepted the current IIHF Development Camp that brings together players, coaches, and support staff from all IIHF members each summer in both Europe and Asia to foster the continued growth of the game. He was honored twice in 1994 for his lifetime commitment to hockey, receiving both the John “Snooks” Kelley Founders Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association, and the Walter Yaciuk Award from USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program. Vairo received the NHL's Lester Patrick Trophy in 2000 and in 2010 was named the recipient of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Paul Loicq Award. In May of 2014, he was inducted into the New York State Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2014 will be formally enshrined on Dec. 4 in Minneapolis/St. Paul. More details on the induction celebration will be released over the next several weeks at USHockeyHallofFame.com.

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are chosen on the basis of extraordinary contribution to the sport of hockey in the United States.

NOTES: The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was incorporated in 1969 and inducted its first class in 1973. To date, there are 161 enshrined members in the Hall. For information on the members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, visit USHockeyHallofFame.com ... The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum, located in Eveleth, Minn., is open daily. For hours of operation and admission prices, visit USHockeyHallMuseum.com or call 800-443-7825.

Recent News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Karyn Bye Dietz (River Falls, Wis.), Brian Rafalski (Dearborn, Mich.), Jeff Sauer (St. Paul, Minn.) and Lou Vairo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2014, it was announced today by USA Hockey.

“The class of 2014 is an extraordinary collection of individuals that have had an immensely positive impact on hockey in our country,” said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. “Cumulatively, they have been involved at every level of hockey and this group is a big reason why our sport has advanced to the point it has in the United States."

LISTEN: Class of 2014 Media teleconference

Karen Bye Dietz

Karyn Bye Dietz, a pioneer in women's hockey in the United States, has had a significant impact on the sport's continued growth and evolution. She was one of the world's elite forwards during her time on the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1992-2002. During that span she represented the United States at both the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games. An alternate captain in 1998, Bye Dietz helped Team USA win the first gold medal ever awarded in women’s ice hockey at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. In that tournament she led the U.S. with five goals in six games, while her eight points were tied for first on the team. At the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Bye Dietz registered three goals and six points in a silver-medal showing in Salt Lake City, Utah. She participated in six International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships (1992, ‘94, ‘97, ‘99, 2000, ‘01), receiving a silver medal at each tournament. She also skated in the 1995 and 1996 IIHF Pacific Women’s Hockey Championships, at which the U.S. placed second both years. Bye Dietz accumulated 84 points (47-37) over 51 career games in a Team USA jersey. In 1995 and 1998, she was honored as USA Hockey’s Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year. In 2011, Bye Dietz became just the fifth woman to be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. A native of River Falls, Wisconsin, who currently resides in Hudson, Wisconsin, Bye Dietz played college hockey at the University of New Hampshire from 1989-93, racking up 164 points in 87 games. She was enshrined into the UNH Hall of Fame in 1998.

Brian Rafalski

Brian Rafalski played 15 seasons of professional hockey, including 11 in the National Hockey League. The defenseman, who grew up in the Detroit suburbs, began his NHL career in 1999-2000, helping the New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup and receiving NHL All-Rookie Team honors. Three years later in 2003, he hoisted the Stanley Cup yet again with the Devils. In 541 regular-season games with New Jersey, Rafalski racked up 44 goals and 311 points. He was selected to play in the 2004 and 2007 NHL All-Star Games. He spent the last four seasons of his career with the Detroit Red Wings, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2008. He recorded 204 points (35-169) over 292 regular-season contests for the Red Wings. Overall, the 515 career points he accumulated in the NHL are 10th-best among American defensemen. Rafalski began his professional career playing from 1995-99 in Sweden and Finland. Internationally, Rafalski was a member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games. He helped Team USA earn the silver medal at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics. At the 2010 Games in Vancouver, British Coumbia, Rafalski was named to the media all-star team and was honored as the tournament's best defenseman by the directorate after tallying four goals and eight points in six games. Across three Olympics, he tallied five goals and eight assists in 17 games. He also played for the 2004 U.S. World Cup of Hockey Team, 1995 U.S. Men’s National Team, and 1992 and 1993 U.S. National Junior Teams. During his four-year career at the University of Wisconsin, Rafalski amassed 20 goals and 98 points in 146 games. As a senior in 1994-95, he received a number of accolades, including American Hockey Coaches Association West All-America First Team, Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defensive Player of the Year and All-WCHA First Team. Rafalski spent two seasons playing junior hockey in the U.S., including one year (1990-91) with the Madison Capitols of the United States Hockey League and the other campaign (1989-90) in the North American Hockey League as a member of the Melvindale Blades.

Jeff Sauer

Jeff Sauer, who grew up in St. Paul, Minn., and now calls Middleton, Wis., home, has spent more than 40 years coaching hockey, and has had nothing but success in his varied endeavors. Sauer’s 31-year NCAA Division I men’s college coaching career featured 655 wins (seventh all-time) and two national championships, both of which came at the University of Wisconsin (1983, 1990). Sauer led Wisconsin to three NCAA Men's Frozen Four appearances, 12 NCAA tournament berths, six Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff titles and two WCHA regular-season crowns in 20 seasons (1982-2002). He also spent 11 years (1971-82) as head coach of the men's ice hockey team at his alma mater, Colorado College, where he was twice named WCHA Coach of the Year (1972, 1975). Throughout his college career, he served as head coach for multiple U.S. squads, including the 1995 U.S. Men’s National Team and U.S. teams that participated in the 1990 Goodwill Games, 1989 Pravada Cup and 1997 Tampere Cup. The 2014-15 season is Sauer’s fourth campaign as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. He led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2012 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship. Two years later, he was at the helm of the gold-medal winning 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia. Additionally, Sauer is president of the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association. He helped select the last five U.S. Deaflympic Ice Hockey Teams, while leading the team as head coach in the last three Winter Deaflympics, including a gold medal at the 2007 Deaflympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sauer has been honored with USA Hockey’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2000), the American Hockey Coaches Association’s John “Snooks” Kelly Founders Award (2004) and the NHL’s Lester Patrick Trophy (2011). He has also been inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame, Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame and the Colorado College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Lou Vairo

Lou Vairo, who has coached players at every level in the game, has been instrumental in the development of hockey in the United States for parts of the past six decades. In the 1960s, he was a leader in building grassroots programs in New York City. During the 1970s he transitioned to coaching, highlighted by a 1976 national championship while directing the Austin (Minn.) Mavericks of the United States Hockey League. Vairo’s coaching career expanded to USA Hockey in 1979. He served as head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team from 1979-82 and once again in 2003. On five occasions (1983, 2000-03), he was head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. After contributing as a scout to the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, he served as head coach of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and was an assistant coach for the 2002 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that received the silver medal in Salt Lake City, Utah. From 1984-86, Vairo moved to the National Hockey League and was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils. He then spent the next six seasons coaching in Holland and Italy, including stints working with both countries national teams. Vairo, USA Hockey’s director of special projects since 1992, was the driving voice in the formation of the Diversity Task Force that began in 1992 to help introduce hockey to inner city and minority children. He was at the forefront of helping develop many of USA Hockey’s most successful programs, including in coaching education and player development. Vairo introduced the United States to European concepts of training and playing in 1972, including methods he learned when studying with legendary Soviet coach Anatoly Tarasov. A long-time member of the IIHF Coaching Committee, Vairo concepted the current IIHF Development Camp that brings together players, coaches, and support staff from all IIHF members each summer in both Europe and Asia to foster the continued growth of the game. He was honored twice in 1994 for his lifetime commitment to hockey, receiving both the John “Snooks” Kelley Founders Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association, and the Walter Yaciuk Award from USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program. Vairo received the NHL's Lester Patrick Trophy in 2000 and in 2010 was named the recipient of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Paul Loicq Award. In May of 2014, he was inducted into the New York State Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2014 will be formally enshrined on Dec. 4 in Minneapolis/St. Paul. More details on the induction celebration will be released over the next several weeks at USHockeyHallofFame.com.

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are chosen on the basis of extraordinary contribution to the sport of hockey in the United States.

NOTES: The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was incorporated in 1969 and inducted its first class in 1973. To date, there are 161 enshrined members in the Hall. For information on the members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, visit USHockeyHallofFame.com ... The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum, located in Eveleth, Minn., is open daily. For hours of operation and admission prices, visit USHockeyHallMuseum.com or call 800-443-7825.

Most Popular Articles

Called up to The Show

09/26/2016, 10:45am MDT
By Kelly Erickson

Three USA Hockey officials earn the chance to officiate in the NHL for the first time this season

For the majority of young hockey players, their dream is to skate in the National Hockey League. They want to be the next Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Ryan Suter — the list goes on. This season, starting in NHL training camps, three young Americans will make their dream a reality, with one caveat — instead of playing, they’ll be officiating.

Ryan Daisy, Furman South and Cameron Voss, three USA Hockey officials, were each recently offered NHL contracts and will attend their first NHL training camps this fall.

“It’s been a dream come true, really,” South said. “I’ve dreamt of being in the NHL my whole life. I grew up playing hockey from a young age and have been a hockey fan my whole life. Ever since I learned to skate it was always a dream of mine to be in the NHL. For most of my life I have dreamt of being there as a player, but once I was done playing, my dream was to make it as an official. And I made it. I can’t wait to have my first NHL game.”

Daisy echoed the sentiment, noting that making it to the NHL level as an official has been a goal of his for awhile.

“It feels awesome,” Daisy said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of emotions going on in my first game, the first time I touch the ice in the NHL with the NHL crest on my sweater that I’ve been dreaming about for years. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

It’s a dream made reality for all three, and the ultimate payoff for many years of hard work and sacrifice.

“It’s an accumulation of all the sacrifices my family has made for me, all the supervisors and friends along the way that have helped me,” Voss said. “It wasn’t just me, it was a collection of people that pushed me and made me believe and work hard. It’s a pretty overwhelming feeling being at this point. I’m just glad all the sacrifices that we’ve made have paid off. I’m very blessed and humbled by the whole experience.”

Voss, South and Daisy were drawn to officiating from different paths, but once on it, they both climbed through the ranks and took advantage of the USA Hockey officiating development initiatives, including summer camps and the USA Hockey Officiating Program for South and Daisy to hone their skills.

Voss was the first of the three to don the zebra stripes, becoming an official at age 12, working alongside his father. It was his way to help pay for his hockey gear and get extra ice time. After closing his collegiate career at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, pursuing a career as a ref became a reality. He attended an officiating summer camp and saw all the opportunities available to work in higher-level hockey, and before long, he was working his way through them, spending time at the youth, high school, junior, NCAA Division I and professional levels in the American League.

“My eyes lit up really wide and I was just eager to start the process,” Voss said.

“USA Hockey gave me lots of opportunities to learn and hone my craft. The people involved in USA Hockey, they sacrificed a lot of time … they helped me out tremendously, especially at the grassroots level. They let me learn and grow and even let me fail and learn from those experiences. USA Hockey helped me from when I first started when I was 12 to when I got the call (from the NHL) in July.”

South played NCAA hockey at Robert Morris University. When he graduated in 2012 at age 24, he simply wanted to find a way to stay involved in the sport about which he was so passionate. He tried coaching, he instructed at camps and then he got a chance to ref a game and he loved it. He’s officiated everywhere from high school up, spending last season in the American Hockey League.

“It kind of came naturally to me and I realized it was something I wanted to pursue,” South said. “A couple of years later, it seems to have worked out.”

Daisy was drawn to officiating because it was a way to be in the game, to skate on the ice. His dream of becoming an official firmly solidified when he joined the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program during his senior year of college. With some early success, he was offered a contract to work in the United States Hockey League full-time, fueling his aspirations.

“(USA Hockey) will do everything in their power to help you achieve your dreams, no matter what level of hockey it is,” Daisy said.

From his Level 1 seminar to summer camps to his job in the USHL, Daisy has felt extreme support from every manager and mentor along the way, noting they all wanted to help him be a better official.

“You’re learning from the best,” Daisy said. “You’re learning from guys that are either currently in the NHL, have been in the NHL, officials that have worked international hockey and college hockey. They’re out there helping you become better.”

South also credits the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program as a factor in his success, noting Scott Zelkin, the Officiating Development Program manager, and the program itself gave him every opportunity to succeed as an official. To make his dreams come true.

“I can’t say enough about USA Hockey and the Officiating Development Program,” South said. “I wouldn’t have had this chance with the NHL if it wasn’t for those guys, that’s for sure.”

USA Hockey Mourns Passing of Walter L. Bush, Jr.

09/23/2016, 6:30am MDT
By USA Hockey

Hockey giant dedicated more than 50 years of service to USA Hockey

3

How do we come up with the rules?

09/26/2016, 11:00am MDT
By USA Hockey

Q-and-A with USA Hockey Director of Officiating Education Program Matt Leaf on the playing rule change process

Every season, USA Hockey strives for improvement in the game and its rules. Every four years we get to take steps toward making the rule changes official, thanks to the playing rule change process. We enter that period this season, with the final decision on prospective changes taking place at USA Hockey’s Annual Congress in June 2017. The new rules will go into effect for the 2017-18 through the 2020-21 season.

So how does the process work? In order to get a handle on what this rule change process entails, we caught up with USA Hockey’s Matt Leaf, director of the Officiating Education Program and staff liaison to the Playing Rules Committee. He helped us answer some need-to-know questions.

USA Hockey: Walk us through the process from when a proposal is received, to having it get into the official playing rules.

Matt Leaf:
The first thing you need to know is that USA Hockey has a very diverse and experienced Playing Rules Committee that thoroughly reviews and considers each proposal. The committee is made of key USA Hockey volunteers that represent coaches, officials, players and administrators. Contrary to what some people believe, it is not one or two people sitting in an office deciding rule changes.

Playing rule change proposals are submitted to me as the staff liaison to the committee. Once received, I format them into a document that compares the current language to the proposed change for each proposal. The Playing Rules Committee meets early winter and will discuss and make a preliminary recommendation on each proposal. These recommendations are then forwarded on to the various councils/sections and committees and are also posted on USAHockey.com. The board of directors will review and make any amendments to the proposals during the Winter Meeting and they are again posted on USAHockey.com for all of our membership to see.

The Playing Rules Committee will meet once more during the Annual Congress in an open forum and will review each proposal, taking into consideration any feedback received from the respective councils/sections and committees. At this time, they will make a final recommendation on each proposal to be presented to the board of directors for adoption or defeat. The board can accept the recommendation of the Playing Rules Committee or can make its own determination. Once the board has voted and adopted the changes, work on editing the rulebook gets started right away so the new version can be ready at the start of the season.

USA Hockey: So a lot of people are involved. Who can submit playing rule change proposals and how can they do so?

Leaf:
Any member of USA Hockey can submit a playing rule change proposal.  According to our bylaws, they can be accepted until Nov. 1 prior to the Annual Congress when they get voted on. A formal proposal form can be found on USAHockey.com.

USA Hockey: What are the types of changes USA Hockey is looking for? Is there a certain philosophy that the Playing Rules Committee tries to follow?

Leaf:
The Playing Rules Committee is looking for any change that will make the game better and/or will make the rules clearer and easier to understand without compromising the spirit and intent of the rules.

There are four main areas dealing with the game that the committee takes into consideration when reviewing possible changes:

  1. Fair Play – No competitor gains an advantage and the rules are equal for all participants.
  2. Safety – Players must be allowed to compete in a safe environment where players committing dangerous actions are held accountable. Although this does not exclude physical play, it must be done so within the rules and with a respect for the opponent.
  3. Adaptability – Proposed changes must recognize the changing game and also the wide range of ages, skills and participation that has to be included.
  4. Balance between offense and defense – A natural fairness between the two, where neither side dominates. This includes a special emphasis on encouraging puck possession and development of all hockey skills.


In addition, there are five areas from a rules writing style standpoint that are taken into consideration. This includes making sure common rules are placed within the same rule or section (codification); minimizing exceptions to the rules; clear and precise language (brevity); use of clearly defined words and expressions relevant to the game (definitions); and use of fundamental statements that allow readers to understand and properly apply the rules without learning each rule verbatim (local organization).

USA Hockey: You are entering your 23rd year as staff liaison to the Playing Rules Committee, and you’ve probably seen nearly every type of proposal. Is there one that stands out in your mind that might be considered a little bit “out there?”

Leaf:
There have certainly been a few submissions over the years that caused some head-shaking and gave members of the Rules Committee a reason to chuckle. A few that stand out include the creation of a two-point line where any goal scored from behind the designated line would be worth two points. The rationale was that it could boost scoring and give a team that was behind a better chance to catch up. The second memorable one was a proposal to add a section in the rules pertaining to goalkeepers that would allow for a “shooter tutor” to be used in an official game if one team did not have a goalkeeper present.

I’m sure there are a few others that I could dig up, but those are the two that immediately come to mind.

USA Hockey: Anything else you want to share with our readers?

Leaf:
Yes. After being involved and working with this core group of volunteers who make up the Playing Rules Committee for so long, I can say they are an extremely knowledgeable and diligent bunch.  They really do put the time and effort to consider every single proposal and are extremely thorough in discussing the impact the change would have while looking at the big picture of protecting the game. Regardless of whether you agree with every rule or decision they made, you have to respect the process and their determination to do what is best for the game. I am very proud to work with this group and our membership should be equally as proud to know the rules of the game are in very capable hands.

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