With unanimous support from the Minnesota Hockey board the Minnesota delegation made a presentation to the USA Hockey Youth Council at the USA Hockey Annual Congress in June to run a Pilot program reducing minor penalty times in Youth/Girls games to 1:30 minutes instead of the current 2 minute minor penalty time. The 1:30 minute penalty time will be in effect for all games (league, exhibition/scrimmage, tournament, etc.) with 15-minute periods or less. The USA Hockey Youth Council granted the Pilot project for the 2010-11 season to gauge whether this initiative should move forward as a permanent rule change the following year.
Why the shorter penalty time? Analyzing Youth/Girls penalty times and comparing them to the Pro and College players Youth and Girl players spend a disproportionate amount of time in the penalty box. A Pro/College player based on a game with 20-minute periods spends 3.33% of the game in the box per penalty. In comparison a Youth/Girl player depending on game length currently spends anywhere from 4.44 to 6.06% of the game per penalty in the box.
Although the differential in time percentages might seem insignificant the impact of this change is anything but. For example take a Peewee or Bantam game that plays in a one hour block of ice time with 11-minute periods, Minnesota Hockey HEP data shows there are an average 14:15 minutes of penalties per game. By reducing the minor penalty time it will reduce the man advantage situations by 25% increasing 5 on 5 playing time for the players. This translates to 3:54 minutes of added player time per game. Over the course of a 45 game season it adds 159 minutes of player ice time. Over the course of the season every team with 15 skaters will realize 5:30 minutes of additional ice time per skater. That is over 7 shifts per player within the current structure without adding any additional costs for the increase in playing time. It is a small change with big results for the players.
Following the 2010-11 season, Minnesota Hockey will measure the results and seek feedback from coaches. If you have any initial feedback, please contact your District Director or email email@example.com