Originally created 09/12/99

ECHL makes rules changes in effort to shorten games



With the East Coast Hockey League's 12th season a month away, the league took steps last week to make several rules changes designed to shorten the length of its games in the 2000 season.

No longer will a defensive player be required to touch the puck when icing is called. The linesman will blow the whistle after the puck has crossed the goal line.

Delayed offsides returns to the ECHL. Players will be given the chance to return to the neutral zone before offsides is whistled. During the past two seasons, offsides was immediately whistled when the infraction occurred.

The pace of face-offs also will be addressed. After each stoppage of play and respective line changes, the linesman will blow the whistle, signifying that each team has five seconds to be lined up for the face-off. The puck will be dropped after five seconds. Players not lined up for the face-off are subject to being removed from the face-off or may even incur a delay of game penalty.

ECHL's Board of Governors also voted to follow the same Kelly Cup playoff rules as last season -- eight teams from the Northern Conference and 11 from the Southern Conference qualify for the playoffs.

Seeds 6 through 11 in the Southern Conference will play in a best-of-three Wild Card Round before advancing to the quarterfinals.

The Lynx open their second season in Augusta on Oct. 14, playing the Pee Dee Pride at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. Preceding the opener, the Lynx will play the Greenville Grrrowl in a exhibition game at the civic center on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 5:05 p.m.