AHL announces details of rule test

American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews today announced the details of a seven-week rule test, designed to restrict the areas where goaltenders may play the puck in an attempt to increase offensive opportunities without wholly eliminating a goaltender’s ability to assist his defensemen.

The test was approved by the AHL’s Board of Governors at their Annual Meeting earlier this summer.

In July, a thorough on-ice trial, led by AHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Jim Mill, was run to determine the size and the location of the restricted area. Participating in the trial were AHL goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier; defensemen Ed Campbell and Brian Chapman; Portland Pirates head coach Tim Army; NHL associate director of hockey operations Claude Loiselle; St. Louis Blues goaltending coach Keith Allain; AHL referee Dave Hansen and AHL linesman Marty Demers.

The product is a rule test for the seven weeks of the 2004-05 regular season. The test features two lines, beginning six feet from either goal post along the goal line and extending back to the end boards on diagonals to points 28 feet apart. Goaltenders will not be permitted to play any puck behind the goal line that is outside the restricted area; violation of this rule will result in a minor penalty for delay of game against the goaltender.

Following the completion of the test period on Nov. 28, the AHL will evaluate the results and determine whether the rule’s application will continue.

See the diagram accompanying this release for the new ice markings.

The American Hockey League continues its tradition of excellence when its 69th season begins on Oct. 13, once again serving as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League clubs. More than 100 alumni recently competed in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey tournament, and over 80 percent of all players to compete in the NHL in 2003-04 were AHL graduates, with more than 400 players taking the ice in both leagues.