The ACHA Annual Meetings, which coincided with the American Hockey Coaches Association convention from May 1-4 in Naples, FL, recently concluded after providing its usual blend of celebration - Penn State head coach Patrick Fung was formally presented with his ACHA Women's Division 2 Coach of the Year award announced last month - instructional sessions, and networking opportunities.
They also provided a series of rule changes that will affect the Women's Ice Hockey Club.
Among the more significant alterations in PSU's Division 2: the recommended period length has been provisionally increased to 20 minutes for 2014-15, up from 17 minutes. Teams will still be permitted to play 17 minute periods in the coming season, but the old minimum of 12 minutes has been abolished. The move was made with the idea of fully moving to 20 minute periods by 2015-16, matching the length used in Division 1.
Consolation games at the national championships have been eliminated for both Divisions 1 and 2. The third-place games had come under heavy scrutiny at the 2014 tournament after the California (PA)-North Dakota State matchup in Division 2 ended prematurely with a fight. Meanwhile, the Division 1 contest between Liberty and Rhode Island was played at 9:00 a.m., after both teams played into the evening the day before, and required overtime - which also had the consequence of delaying the WIHC's D2 national championship game against Iowa State.
Furthermore, efforts will be made to eliminate the two-games-in-one-day scheduling at nationals as soon as possible. Under the current tourney format, each qualifying team in both divisions plays three preliminary round matches over two days in attempting to advance to the semifinals.
Games against teams outside of the ACHA will no longer be reported on the ACHA website. Previously, they were presented using the catch-all label "Non-ACHA Team" for the opponents.
Several adjustments were also made to the ranking system:
- The ranking committee - a anonymous group of two team representatives from each conference - a computer ranking and the coaches' vote will now "comprise a three-pronged approach and [be] equally weighted to compile the ranking."
- Games between Division 1 and Division 2 teams will count towards the rankings for the Division 2 team, but not for the Division 1 team.
- For Division 1, the ranking cut-off dates were adjusted to October 26th, November 23rd, January 18th and February 22nd.
- A preseason poll will also be introduced.
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