I wanted to bring up a situation that I saw today involving an illegal equipment penalty. I'd be interested to hear some of your thoughts on the whole situation....
Here's what happened:
It's district playoffs (Bantams). Tight game, tied 2-2 in OT. Whoever loses the game is finished for the season. Winning the game means going on in the playoffs and a chance at going to the state tournament.
At about 8:00 left in OT, a Roughing penalty is called on the away team, resulting in a 5-on-4. About 25 seconds into the PK there's a stoppage. The away coach calls the referee over, and points out that the home team's goalie has thigh boards on his leg pads, which was made illegal by USA Hockey (I believe the rule passed in 2007 and was first implemented this year). The officials checked the rule book and eventually decided that the goalie's pads were illegal, resulting in a 2:00 penalty for the home team (and therefore a 4-on-4 situation).
The away goalie's pads were also checked and did not have the illegal thigh boards attached.
At the end of the day, the penalties ran their course and no goals were scored until the 2nd OT. The team receiving the illegal equipment penalty ended up winning, so it didn't seem to have any direct impact on the outcome of the game.
After the game, the league director was upset that the coach asked the officials to enforce the illegal equipment rule, mainly because the coach waited until the game was at a critical point before mentioning the illegal pads to the officials.
I'd be interested to hear some of your opinions as coaches. Do you think it was unsportsmanlike to ask for the penalty?
I know the away team's coach personally, so I'm interested to hear some of your opinions.
Personally, I have a hard time calling it unsportsmanlike to enforce a rule that is written in the rule book (however trivial it might seem). Whether it's intentional or not, it's the player's (and coach's) burden to make sure their equipment is legal.