With 115 games played so far in this season’s Elite Ice Hockey League, the EIHL’s Hockey Operations Department is pleased to share some statistics concerning penalties in this season’s games.
“The most positive thing so far this season is that number of dangerous penalties, the so-called ‘physical fouls’, are down,” explained Mike Hicks, Head of Hockey Operations. “These are penalties such as a Check from Behind, Check to the Head, Boarding. We are seeing less of these called, and less needing supplementary reviews, which is a good thing for our league and, more importantly, player safety in general.”
On the other hand, so-called ‘restraining fouls’ are the most called, with some 38.1% of infractions called in the EIHL falling into this category. These are Holding, Hooking, Interference and Tripping infractions.
“We are collecting more data about penalties in games, and then sharing it with the teams and coaches,” revealed Hicks. “We’re able to see if certain teams are being called for one infraction in particular, and work with them to clarify explanations and how the rules are called. We also compile data of the number of penalties for each team by period, so coaches can see if their players are, for example, taking more restraining penalties in the third period, and look into why that might be.”
He continued: “If we can work with coaches to reduce the restraining fouls, it will open the game up, and create more speed and goal-scoring opportunities. Ultimately that’s more entertainment for the fans, while keeping the elements of the game that we all love – speed, skill, clean hits, great goals, and fantastic saves.”
Dealing directly with coaches is done also in conjunction with using video footage to help the in-game officials, too. “Additionally we continue to work with the referees, with the increasingly better video we get from each team. Of course there are going to be things that referees may not see because they are obstructed, or following something else on the ice; but being able to give the officials clips of incidents and work through with them is a big part of the way we can keep improving” Hicks concluded.