The American Hockey League announced a number of changes heading into the 2016-17 season. The AHL announced division realignment and also indicated that light colored jerseys would be worn at home prior to the league’s Christmas break. After the break, teams will wear their dark jerseys on home ice.
One of the biggest changes that hockey fans will notice will be the crackdown on fighting. Changes to Rules 46 (Fighting) and 23 (Game Misconduct) are stated below:
• Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
• During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
• During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
• In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.
This is the first step by the board of governors to address fighting in the AHL. Suspensions are handed out for accruing 10 fighting majors. Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski notes that the AHL had 22 players with 10 or more fights. After a player receives his 14th fighting major, the automatic suspension becomes two games.
One other game change revolved around icing calls. On an icing call (Rule 82), offending teams not only cannot make player substitutions, but cannot use a time out.