We have an update to the NHL’s rulebook, including policies for faceoffs, line changes, and of course, video review. Let’s get into it.

Rules are being sourced from tweets by Elliotte Friedman, Greg Wyshynski, and Chris Johnston from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s remarks at the NHL general managers meeting in Vancouver on Thursday.

UPDATE: Official explanations of rule changes from the NHL’s press release have been added below each section.

On-Ice Rules

  1. Teams that begin a power play of any kind will be given a faceoff in the offensive zone, even if they ice the puck.
  2. If the net comes off for any reason, there will be a faceoff in the offensive zone and the defending team will not be able to change lines.
  3. If the puck is shot in from beyond centre ice and the goalie freezes the puck, the defending team cannot change lines.
  4. In the cases of the above rules (1, 2, and 3) and icings, the offensive team will have choice on which side the faceoff is taken.
  5. If the puck is shot out of play in the offensive zone, the faceoff will remain in the offensive zone at one of the two faceoff dots (depending on which side the puck left the playing surface).
  6. If the goalie knocks their own net off during a breakaway, it is deemed an automatic goal. From hereon, this shall be known as The David Leggio Rule.
  7. If a player loses their helmet, they will have to go back to bench or put their helmet back on properly. If a player does not comply, it is a minor penalty. The chin strap does not have to be done up in any case. Only exception will be when there is an “immediate play on the puck.” The player will be given “reasonable opportunity” by the referee to comply.
  8. Referees will be required to conduct a review on any and all non-fighting major penalties to determine whether the call is a minor or major. Once under review, a major penalty can be reduced to a minor, but not rescinded completely.

Here are the official words from the NHL’s press release. The number above each quote associates with the corresponding rule above:

Rule 1, 4:

Following an icing as well as at the beginning of any power-play, the offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place.

Rules 2, 3, 4:

The defensive team will not be permitted a line change when a goalie freezes the puck on any shot from outside the center red line. Similarly, if the actions of a skater of the defensive team cause a stoppage by unintentionally dislodging the net from its moorings, the defensive team will not be permitted to make a line change. In both of these instances, the offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place.

Rule 5:

When the attacking team is responsible for the puck going out of play in the attacking zone, in all instances, the face-off will be conducted at one of the two face-off dots in the attacking zone.

Rule 6:

If the goal post is deliberately displaced by a goalkeeper during the course of a “breakaway”, a goal will be awarded to the non-offending team.

Rule 7:

Subject to further consultation with the NHL Players’ Association on precise language, a Player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play must (a) exit the playing surface, or (b) retrieve and replace his helmet properly on his head (with or without his chin strap fastened). A Player who is making a play on the puck or who is in position to make an immediate play on the puck at the time his helmet comes off, shall be given a reasonable opportunity to complete the play before either exiting the ice or retrieving and replacing his helmet. Failure to comply with the above will result in a minor penalty being assessed on the offending player. A Player who intentionally removes an opponent’s helmet during play shall be assessed a minor penalty for roughing.

Rule 8:

Referees will be required to conduct an on-ice video review for all Major (non-fighting) and Match Penalties they assess on the ice for the purpose of: (a) “confirming” the penalty; or (b) “reducing” the penalty to a two-minute minor penalty. Referees shall not have the option to rescind a called penalty altogether. The Referees will be provided with all available video to review their own calls but will not otherwise consult with the NHL Situation Room with respect to their review.

2019 Video Review

  1. Coaches Challenges are no longer associated with team timeouts. All failed coach’s challenges will result in a “delay of game” penalty. Two or more failed challenges in a game will result in a double minor following each offense. A team can challenge as many times as they want in a game.
  2. Expanded review: Coaches can now challenge missed stoppages in play in the offensive zone that lead to a goal. If the puck leaves the offensive zone between the missed stoppage and the goal, a review is not allowed. These stoppages include hand passes, puck in netting, puck in bench, etc. NOT penalties. This includes not being able to review puck over glass. The NHL does not want to review penalties.
  3. High-sticking penalties are now reviewable by the referees to see whose stick it was that hit the face. The on-ice referee does not require consultation with The Situation Room and will have final say on the matter. The penalty can be taken away in this case but not given because, again, the NHL does not want to review penalties.

Here are the official words from the NHL’s press release. The number above each quote associates with the corresponding rule above:

Rule 1:

The number of Coach’s Challenges that can be made will no longer be limited based on the availability of a team’s time-out. Teams will be permitted to exercise a Coach’s Challenge at any time, but with escalating “consequences” for unsuccessful Challenges. The consequences of unsuccessful Coach’s Challenges will be made consistent across all three Categories of Coach’s Challenges: (1) minor penalty for Delaying the Game on a Club’s first unsuccessful Coach’s Challenge; and (2) double minor penalty for Delaying the Game for each additional Coach’s Challenge that is unsuccessful.

Rule 2:

NEW CATEGORY: In addition to Coach’s Challenge for “Off-side” and “Interference on the Goalkeeper”, a third category will allow for the Coach’s Challenge of goal calls on the ice that follow plays in the Offensive Zone that should have resulted in a play stoppage, but did not.
This change will allow Challenges of plays that may involve pucks that hit the spectator netting, pucks that are high-sticked to a teammate in the offensive zone, pucks that have gone out of play but are subsequently touched in the offensive zone and hand passes that precede without a play stoppage and ultimately conclude in the scoring of a goal. Plays that entail “discretionary stoppages” (e.g. penalty calls) will not be subject to a Coach’s Challenge.
Coach’s Challenges for these types of plays (and for “Off-Side” Challenges) will only be available if the puck does not come out of the attacking zone between the time of the “missed” infraction and the time the goal is scored.

Rule 3:

Referees will have the ability to conduct an on-ice video review to confirm (or not) their original call on the ice, and, in particular, whether the stick causing the apparent injury was actually the stick of the Player being penalized.  The Referee’s review of all High-Sticking/Double-Minor Penalties will be discretionary and not mandatory and will be conducted without consultation with the NHL Situation Room.

And then Bettman answered some questions.


So that’s it. The changes. Let’s play a game of “how quickly can you find the flaws?” What do you think? I’m sure you’ll let us know in the comments.