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AHL approves changes to overtime, fighting rules

Colin Peddle / AHL/@TexasStars

The NHL's primary farm system will once again be experimenting with rule-changes that could eventually make their way to the top level.

The American Hockey League was the first to implement the elongated crease shape now used in the NHL and also tested the hybrid no-touch icing rule that the NHL introduced last season. Now, the AHL is taking on overtime and fighting.

"With the full support of the league’s Competition Committee and Player Development Committee, the Board has approved these changes with the betterment of our game and the safety of our players in mind," AHL president and CEO David Andrews said in a statement.

Under the new rules, overtime will last for seven minutes instead of five and will be reduced from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 play after the first whistle following the opening three minutes of the extra frame in an attempt to decrease the number of shootouts.

In order to deter players from engaging in multiple fights each game, any player who receives more than one major penalty for fighting in a game will receive an automatic game misconduct. Any player who receives three major penalties in a game will also receive an automatic game misconduct.

The league is also cracking down on equipment infractions, implementing a minor penalty for playing without a helmet. If a player's helmet comes off during play, he must either skate directly to the bench or put his helmet back on with his chin strap properly fastened.

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