Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Focus on skating in Suns hockey rules

Stricter fighting penalties

If you like the rules changes in the National Hockey League, you're going to like what the Sun Valley Suns men's hockey team will be doing this winter.

Last week, the Suns Foundation Inc. which oversees the Suns' team, announced 2005-06 rules changes that reflect the changes in the NHL and are aimed at discouraging fighting and encouraging more skating.

In a public statement the Suns Foundation Inc. said:

"Our desire is to bring you a fast, physical and exhilarating contest minus thuggery and disrespect. When played with speed and skill, the game is elevated to an art form. Our goal is to be the classiest Senior A program in the country. We owe that to ourselves and to our loyal and supportive fans."

Rules changes are:

1—A player penalized for fighting will also be ejected from the game and suspended for the following contest.

Body checks and collisions that are integral to the sport will still be allowed, but, as the statement said, "We intend to emphasize the speed and fluidity of the game when played at its best levels, be it college, Olympic or professional."

2—Referees will more strictly enforce the rules against any player impeding other players by holding, clutching, grabbing or hooking. This is in keeping with the emphasis on speed and skill.

3—Suns Foundation Inc. will enforce a zero tolerance policy for abuse of officials.

The statement said, "As role models for our Youth Hockey members, we must set the standard of respect for referees and other game officials. The consequence for abuse of officials will be as severe as that for fighting. We know the officials will show that same respect to our players, coaches and opponents."

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