Notice of game changes too short, coach growls

By Cameron Leslie

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Angeline Waetford
Angeline Waetford

A new set of rules for this season's Ford National Hockey League could have been communicated better, Northland women's coach Angeline Waetford believes.

The new rules are being called a game changer for hockey, with games to now be played in four 15-minute quarters rather than the traditional two 35-minute halves.

Other changes involve the clock stopping when a penalty corner is awarded, with teams given 40 seconds to set for the corner to be taken, while the clock will also stop for 40 seconds after a goal has been scored.

The rules come as international rules change from September 1, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) stipulating all international games adopt the changes.

New Zealand players and fans are getting a taste of the new format in the NHL.

Waetford believes the rules are not a bad thing, but being told of them three weeks out from the start of NHL is.

"I'm not unhappy with it. I think three weeks is not enough, and particularly they did it after you'd selected your team - who knows you may have chosen to pick more attacking players?" she said.

However, what was done was done and Waetford was taking a practical view to the news.

"Just get on with it. I certainly gave them feedback on how I felt, and they'll just say everyone is in the same boat."

Hockey New Zealand high-performance director Terry Evans said it was a good chance for players to have extra time adapting to the change.

"The decision to play the new format at NHL is a no brainer for us. The FIH will change the rules at their international competitions from September 1, so we need to change our rules at a domestic level to give our players and coaches the most experience as possible

"This is quite a big change and it will be exciting to see the impact the new format has on games. It's expected to be more spectator friendly, help television ratings and commercial interest, and will speed up the game.

"Playing the new format at NHL gives us a good jump on the rest of the world in terms of preparation, especially with the Black Sticks Women heading off to Champions Trophy in three months' time."

To get used to the new rules ahead of next weekend's opening round, Northland will play two games in the next week with the changes.

- Northern Advocate

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