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Dear Ed Snider and the NHL Rules Committee,

As a lifelong fan of the NHL, and specifically the Philadelphia Flyers, I am appalled by some of the rules coming into effect in this new season. While some rules seem for the better, such as the touch up off sides and two-line passing, others are completely uncalled for. I speak specifically of three rules that I have found to upset the fans of the game.

The first rule is the fighting instigator rule, where, as I understand it, a player who starts a fight in the last five minutes of a game will be suspended and the coach fined. I find this to be ridiculous. This is not what the fans what at all! Allow me to cite the Flyers v. Ottawa game in 2004 where the last two minutes was basically brawls. That game was replayed over and over again because the fans loved it and the next Flyers v. Ottawa game was sold out in minutes because fans wanted to see if it would happen again. Not only that but fights happen, usually, because of a previous infraction not called by the referees such as elbowing or high sticking which can cause serious injury. In lower levels of hockey, such as college, where fighting is not allowed at all there are more stick infractions because there is no other recourse for the players. Instead of activating this rule make visors mandatory; give harsher penalties for elbowing and other infractions to the players heads that would cause harm. Fighting does not usually injure the players, aside from some bruises, which do not stop them from playing, and it is not as important to end the fighting, as it is to end the cheap tactics that actually lead to the fights. You can plainly see how penalizing a player, and their coach, for protecting themselves and their teammates against cheap shots is hardly worth it! Not to mention the fans love it! This rule should not take effect because its not at all what the fans what to see, and stopping last minute fights will not increase the fan base as I think the rules committee hopes to do nor will it end the cheap shots but instead just aggravate the players when dangerous penalties do not get called and leaving them with no protection since the cheap shot will go uncalled and unrequited which could increase the number of cheap shots at the end of a game.

Secondly limiting the goalies ability to play the puck to the trapezoid is a bit ridiculous. I went to AHL games and saw this in practice and I did not believed it did what it was suppose to do-that is increase offensive production. Limiting the goalie to the trapezoid does nothing since it forces the goalie to play the puck where they would normally and where it is safest for them to play the puck. (It is very difficult to score a goal from behind the net) It is riskier for a goalie to leave that area and go to the corners-which creates more excitement and stress for both sides-than it is for them to stay so close to the net, so get rid of the lines altogether, theyre unnecessary and really serve no true purpose to the game and just seem silly. Besides, it only adds more lines to the ice surface and yet another rule for the new fans would have to learn. Get rid of this rule as well because its a joke to the game.

Finally, the last rule that should not be put into effect is the shoot out. This is absurd! By ending a game in a shoot out you take away the team spirit of things and place the burden solely on the goalie. Ive participated in shoot-outs and watched them and I have found that they are just not what the game is about. If overtime does not end the game, let it be a tie because both teams deserve it to be that way. Shoot-outs are much more focused on luck that skill, getting that strange bounce off the goalies gear to get a puck in or some other random occurrence during those few seconds of one player taking a puck and shooting. Hockey is a team sport, it is meant to be played as a team, and if two teams are overall equal enough to tie after 65 minutes of play than so be it! You cant let one outstanding player beat a team that the rest of the team couldnt beat, that makes no sense. I find this analogous to ending a basketball with a three-point shooting contest or ending a baseball game with a home run derby. Neither of those sports would ever think of using such ridiculous methods in order decide their games. I urge you, stick with the previous rule here and let it end in a tie, maybe its not as satisfying for the teams but its how the team did not how a handful of players individually do. Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet and many of those games end in ties, so why not keep hockey the way it was meant to be, a team sport, and let how the team does decide the end of the game.

Mr. Snider I urge you to bring this petition to the NHL rules committee and to let the fans voices be heard, an out cry against the new rules of the NHL which are set to alienate fans from the game as they know it. Your new rules wont bring in a larger fan base but may only hurt the fans who remain true despite the lock out of the past year. It will be hard enough to retain the many fans but to bring in new rules that the fans are against; well its an atrocity. Please read this petition and the signatures of true fans that are behind it and realize that the committee has made a mistake and fix this mistake because without fans there is no NHL.

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