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OHL announces a few rule changes

Included is a new coach's challenge for goalie interference
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Officials will have tablets available at ice level this season. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday file photo

Ontario Hockey League referees have a few weeks to get used to some new rule changes approved by the Board of Governors at their annual meeting.

That includes a coach's challenge for goaltender interference.

Here's an explanation of the rule from the league:

Each OHL member team shall have the ability to initiate a "coach's challenge" in situations where goaltender interference is involved in a "goal" or "no goal" call. Accessing video tablets in the penalty box, referees will be enabled to issue a ruling in the event of a coach's challenge. A team may only request a coach's challenge for interference on the goaltender if they have their timeout available and the coach's challenge must be effectively initiated prior to the resumption of play. If the coach’s challenge does not result in the original call on the ice being overturned, the team exercising such a challenge will forfeit its timeout. If the coach’s challenge does result in the call on the ice being overturned, the team successfully exercising such challenge will retain their ability to challenge an additional call for goaltender interference and will retain its timeout. Only one coach’s challenge per team, per stoppage will be permitted.

The other change will see expanded video review of major/match penalties and offside scenarios:

The addition of video tablets at the penalty box as well as the installation of new overhead cameras at each blue line will enhance accessibility to video review league-wide starting this season. Video tablets will provide on-ice officials with an additional resource. Based on their discretion, referees and linesmen will have access to video review to ensure that the correct call on the ice was made as it relates to the assessment of major/match penalties as well as offside situations when a goal has been scored. In the case of an assessed major or match penalty, referees shall automatically review such infraction on the tablet in the penalty box to substantiate the call (including whether such penalty was assessed to the correct player) or to reduce it to a double minor penalty (in the case of checking from behind), a two-minute penalty or no penalty at all. The use of enhanced video replay shall not be utilized to assess penalties that were not called in the first instance nor shall it be utilized to increase the severity of the major penalty called.

But it's not anticipated the rules will be enforced right away, as the new technology needs to be installed in all 20 rinks.

"We brought in additional cameras above the bluelines to assist in video replay ... of offsides, so those cameras will be installed in addition to the tablets and the Wi-Fi that needs to be in place for the tablets in the penalty box," said Ted Baker.

Baker added they should all be in place by sometime in October.

The league will also debut two new awards this season.

The Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award will go to the league's best general manager, as chosen by his peers and a select panel of print media and the Jim Rutherford Goaltender of the Year Award will go to the OHL's top netminder.

with files from Blair Adams and Mark Pare