Ice Hockey Penalties

May 27, 2014

After each rules committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations meets, the list of changes is sent to all member state high school associations for advance examination before being finalized and publicized.

Recently, I took special notice of the work of the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee. What caught my attention first was the brevity of its list of rules changes for 2014-15 – just three items. And then I was struck at the stated purpose of each of the three changes: risk minimization.

  • The penalty for a check, cross-check, elbow, charge or trip that causes the opponent to be thrown violently into the boards is no longer a Major or Minor – it’s a Major (five minutes).
  • If a check is flagrant or causes the opponent to crash head-first into the boards, a Major and Misconduct or Game Disqualification penalty must be assessed.
  • The penalty for a push, charge, cross-check or body-check from behind in open ice is no longer a Minor and Misconduct – it’s a Major.

Only three rule changes .. three tougher penalties.
Committee chair Tom Shafranski of Wisconsin commented after the meeting: “In each case, the rule has been strengthened for officials to assess a stronger penalty than in the past – a good strategy for further protection of high school hockey players ... There will likely be traditionalists who don’t agree with the increase in penalty time; however, boarding and checking from behind (even in open ice) are high school hockey’s most dangerous contact situations.”
MHSAA Assistant Director Cody Inglis serves on the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee and supported these changes.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.