Hybrid icing is coming to the NHL for the 2013-14 season. The NHL Players' Association passed the motion to implement the rule change on Monday.
The goal of hybrid-icing is to lessen the threat of injuries that typically occur when players collide with the endboards following a race for an icing call. Hybrid icing is a combination of no-touch and touch icing, and it simply moves the finish line of that race from the goal line to the faceoff dot -- further away from that collision point with the boards.
If the attacking player is determined to be more likely to touch the puck before the dot, then the play is allowed to continue. In the event of a "tie," the linesman is instructed to side with the defending player and blow the play dead. If the linesman calls an icing but the puck doesn't cross the end line, then the faceoff will go to center ice.
Hybrid icing is controversial in its own right because linesmen are given discretionary control over the play, and it necessitates split-second decisions that could come under fire in a close game. The NHL and the NHLPA had to weigh that balance with making the game safer.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced the news during an appearance on NHL Network's NHL Live.
The NHLPA's willingness to pass hybrid icing was surprising because a considerable amount of national reports indicated that a majority of players disliked the rule. Apparently, that's not the case, as the vote required a majority vote to pass.
Ultimately, hybrid icing will make the game safer. While it seems that danger still persists on races that aren't blown dead and the potential for blown calls could increase controversy, the measure is progressive in nature. As long as it keeps players healthy, then that's all that matters (although, the first fan base to get a bad call will disagree with that).