IHL to trial “stick above the shoulder” rule

The Irish Hockey League will follow the EHL’s lead and trial the new “stick above the shoulder” rule for the 2011/12 season though these changes will not be implemented in the Leinster league this term.

Under the FIH Rules of Hockey, Rule 9.7 states that “Players must not play the ball with any part of the stick when the ball is above shoulder height except that defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height”.

The new EHL ruling allows a player to “stop, receive and/or deflect the ball in a controlled manner in any part of the field when the ball is above the shoulder”. However, players must not play the ball dangerously or in any way that leads to dangerous situations for any player. The EHL hope that the rule change will “add an extra element of excitement” to the game.

Three other rules were also confirmed for inclusion in the EHL statutes which the IHL is guided by. Firstly, the breaking the line at penalty corner ruling has been tweaked to be consistent with FIH regulations.

The rule now reads as follows: “Any defending player breaking the line at a penalty corner will be removed to the centre line and will not be replaced. The defending team will therefore defend the PC with one player less.”

The FIH regulations also require that an attacking player who enters the circle before the ball is played should also be removed to beyond the centre line.

“If an attacking player enters the circle before the ball is played, the offending player(s) shall be
required to go beyond the centre line and can be replaced by another attacker.”

For Temporary Player Suspensions, the EHL rules clarify that the umpire shall immediately restart the game after the issuing of a green or yellow card unless there is another reason to stop time, such as for attention to an injury.

The Video Umpire procedure has been changed but, as yet, is not a factor in the Irish Hockey League while the EHL have followed a move taken in the IHL already in penalty shoot-outs, increasing the number of one-on-ones to five from three.

** For more clarification on any of these rules, umpiring expert Ray O’Connor is available to answer queries. Leave a comment below or email hookresults@yahoo.com

** The document outlining the changes can be found here

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