Goalie interference calls are subjective and have been the bane of the 2017-18 season. Every referee has had a different interpretation, leading to confusion and little consistency between games. Understandably, that lack of consistency made it one of the hottest topics at an annual meeting of all of the league’s general managers.
In a press release by the NHL, GMs overwhelmingly voted in favor of having the Situation Room in Toronto make the final decision on goalie interference.
Per the NHL’s press release:
“At their annual March meeting, that concluded today, the general managers overwhelmingly voted to adopt this change to bring an added level of consistency to goaltender interference rulings and add the input of experienced former on-ice officials to the review process,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “While since the adoption of the coach’s challenge there have been relatively few controversial calls on goaltender interference, perhaps half a dozen of approximately 170 challenges this season, the objective is to be as close to perfect as possible. However, goaltender interference ultimately is a judgment call.
“The video review process was designed to enable our referees to determine, upon viewing video replays, whether to overturn their original calls. In the vast majority of cases, their final decision has concurred with the Situation Room’s view.
“The recommended change is intended to help resolve the rare cases in which the Situation Room and the referees might have different opinions of a particular play and is intended to produce more predictability for our players and coaches.”
Currently, on-ice officials have the final say over whether or not a goal should be allowed or disallowed if goalie interference is determined. By shifting the responsibility to the NHL Hockey Operations Department – which will involve a member of the NHL Officiating Management Team, made up of former referees – the hope would be that it would lead to more consistency between calls. The Situation Room would still confer with the on-ice official over their original call.
No changes have been suggested to the Goalie Interference rule. The calls will still be judged by the same criteria.
The NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee still need to approve the rule change. The hope is that the GMs recommendation will be enacted before the end of the 2017-18 season.
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