USA Hockey recently made some rule changes and I can't believe that this rule is something they are implementing...
You are no longer allowed to cheer the boys on by tapping your stick against the boards while on the bench. Yeah, you heard that right. The official stating of the rule is as follows:
You will now receive a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct when tapping the boards with your stick, hand or any other object when a goal occurs, a nice play, and more specifically when one of your teammates lands a clean hit against the opposing team. This rule almost ruins the very essence of the sport. We as hockey players live off the adrenaline and cheering we give our teammates when a big play is made. The sport thrives off of the chaos and excitement that occurs during those 60 minutes. When playing hockey, you need to be excited, paying attention, and "hyping" your teammates up in order to battle and ultimately win the game.
My issue with this rule is more focused on Junior Hockey as it affects whichever league falls under the USA Hockey umbrella. This might be a good rule for youth level hockey since they don't necessarily need to be cheering on a there teammates for a big hit, but we all know this rule extends far past just the younger age groups. What happens when your team scores? Are you not allowed to cheer and be excited anymore? That's ludicrous. What's next? No high-fiving or fist bumping your teammates after a good play? They assume this will help fight against kids feeling down and hurt by the other team cheering, but won't it do just the opposite? When you make a good play, you deserve the congratulations from your teammates and in hockey that is just how it's done, by tapping your sticks on the boards and making some noise. So now these players won't get the satisfaction that they earned and will not receive the loud cheers after a nice play, which will still cause the issues that made USA Hockey implement this rule.
When this rule was officially issued, many people in the hockey community took to twitter to share there opinions and see what others thought about it. Here is one of my favorite tweets, mostly based off the sheer genius that was behind it and how Dan Bogdan(@DBoogey3) was able to combine a nice little Happy Fathers Day to his dad while also harping on how awful this rule truly is.
Along with Dan's tweet, I felt the need to read some of replies to the Cawlidge Hawkey Insider (@CHInsider) twitter account that posted the rule change. Jim Ruggiero (@JRocca33) posted the following and I have to say I got a little chuckle out of it while also completely agreeing with his take:
Jim is right, throughout the past few years you have seen some aspects of the game changing, some for the better and some for the worse. This rule really ties it all together and is something that may start the avalanche of rule changes that we all have feared. This rule is something that could go way out of line. Like I mentioned above, sure maybe it will be a good thing to call a bench minor when a dirty hit occurs and the bench starts screaming and hitting the boards with there sticks. But are the officials really going to be able to draw the line? I really don't think they will be able too. The rule is generalized and allows a ref to make the call on almost any "Bench Tapping" that occurs, even when a goal is scored.
At the end of the day, there is no turning back as USA Hockey will need to see this rule play out for the next season and will not be able to make changes or remove this Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty until the 2020-21 season. So let's hope they can reign it in and figure out where exactly they will draw the line when making the decision to call a bench minor or not for simply cheering your teammates on.
Oh yeah, you better not tap the boards when an opposing player gets up off the ice after being injured. You will cause your team a bench minor, so don't be good sportsmen.