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NHL players approve 'hybrid icing' rule to prevent injuries

  |   Sept. 30, 2013 at 10:30 PM
NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- NHL players Monday voted to approve the use of the "hybrid icing" rule, meant to reduce the risk of injury from races to the end boards for the puck.

Mathieu Schneider, NHL Players Association special assistant to the executive director, said in a statement NHLPA members approved the adoption of the rule beginning Tuesday at the start of the 2013-14 season.

Under the traditional rule, a player from the attacking team can negate an icing call if he beats the defender to the puck and touches it first, generating full-out sprints.

Such high-speed races have produced serious injuries as the players crash into the end boards.

"After testing hybrid icing during the preseason games, the players participated in a survey and a majority of teams supported this rule change in an effort to make the game safer," Schneider said.

"We are hopeful that the implementation of the hybrid icing rule, which is a middle ground between the old rule and no-touch icing, will help minimize the incidence of player injuries on icing plays."

The new rule allows officials to judge the race, and if the defending player is clearly ahead of the attacking player, they will sound the whistle and icing will be called.

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