Photo Above: Elite League Logo © Elite League
By Matt Farnham
Elite Ice Hockey League officials have agreed to introduce a fourth official into all Elite League, Challenge Cup, and Playoff games starting 1 January 2017.
The ruling increases the number of officials on the ice in order to reduce injuries to players and increase efficiency. Mike D’Orazio, Edinburgh Capitals Captain, said: “Anytime you can add an extra referee, have one at the front of the play and one at the back, they’re not going to miss much.”
D’Orazio also believes it’s time the Elite League caught up. He said: “A lot of leagues around the world, leagues that I played in, leagues a lot of these guys played in, there’s been a four man system. It’s good for the league.”
Player safety has become a major concern for all contact sports, and with recent advancements in the identification of concussion, players are starting to question their careers.
With the new ruling, D’Orazio said: “The main thing is players got to feel safe out there, or the game’s worthless.
“I think once the players feel great out there, you’re going to get more players attracted to the league.”
Also discussed in the meeting was the increased reach of the Department of Player Safety (DPS). Under the new rules, the DPS will now be able to review all five-minute major penalties and body contact penalties, issuing retrospective punishments where necessary.