St. Paul, MN – September 18, 2018 – The Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors, as well as USA Hockey, have instituted multiple rule changes for the upcoming 2018-2019 season. Minnesota Hockey enacted rules designed to align its policies regarding concussions with USA Hockey, enhance the experience of players at the Squirt/10U level and USA Hockey adopted a policy for more strict enforcement of coaches wearing helmets during practice.
Concussion Safety: In 2017-18, Minnesota Hockey launched rule changes requiring concussion training for coaches and a Minnesota Hockey Concussions Reporting and Return to Play form and protocol. For the 2018-19 season, slight updates have been made to each of these policies.
Starting this season, each coach will be required to complete concussion training once every two years. Coaches must provide an acknowledgement form with proof of training to the association prior to participating in any team activities. The acknowledgement form and a list of concussion training options can be found here.
In addition, the Minnesota Hockey Concussion Reporting and Return to Play form will now need to be completed by a third-party health care professional. No coach, team doctor, team trainer, parent, guardian or relative can execute the Return to Play Form as a health care provider. The Minnesota Hockey Concussion Reporting and Return to Play form can be accessed here.
Squirt/10U Rules: Minnesota Hockey made two changes to its rules regarding Squirt/10U hockey to strengthen the emphasis on development at an age group that is frequently referenced as the “Golden Age of Skill Development.” Beginning with the 2018-19 season, Squirt/10U teams will be limited to a maximum of 35 games (league, invitational tournament and exhibition), excluding district playoffs. This will allow for more practice time for players to work on skill development. Minnesota Hockey also added language stating coaches at this age group should strive to make playing time for all players approximately equal, excepting reduced time for disciplinary reasons.
Coach Helmet Rule: At its Annual Congress in this past June, the USA Hockey Board of Directors strengthened its policy on coaches wearing helmets while on the ice. There will now be a mandatory 30-day suspension for any coach not wearing a helmet during an on-ice activity. Minnesota Hockey has long had a policy of “up to 30 day suspension” so the primary change is the penalty will now be automatic.
The Minnesota Hockey Handbook, including all youth rules and regulations, can be found here.