VALENCIA – USA Hockey’s newly implemented officiating rules, which emphasize changes designed to reduce physical contact and encourage skill, are expected to dramatically change the future course of the sport. But the changes will likely take some getting used to, and if last weekend’s Ice Station Valencia Labor Day tournament is any indication, that could take time. The most immediate impact of the rule changes is a dramatic increase in penalties, mostly for hooking and interference. At the Labor Day tournament, games averaged between 30 and 40 penalties, nearly twice as many as in typical games, Ice Station director of hockey operations Larry Bruyere said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los Angeles“It was tough on the eyes,” Bruyere said. “There were a lot of stoppages, and a lot of the games ran long.” The rules changes are outlined in an instructional video USA Hockey released titled “Points of Emphasis,” which highlights the new standards of play and rule enforcement guidelines. In the video, USA Hockey President Ron DeGregorio said the changes reflect enforcement of existing rules designed to reduce illegal impediments to skill and speed that officials have in past years had a relaxed attitude toward. DeGregorio said hard checking remains legal, but only when a player is properly positioned to issue such contact. “A greater emphasis will be placed on skating, puck possession and proper use of the body to establish proper position and a competitive advantage,” DeGregorio said in the video. Bruyere said officials at the tournament were quick to whistle players for illegal use of their sticks to impede a player’s progress, penalties that were simply not called in previous years. The new rules emphasis has coaches throughout the country scrambling to adjust. Bruyere, who coaches the Valencia Vipers Junior B 20-and-under amateur hockey team, said he’s spending extra time in practices working on killing and executing power plays in anticipation of penalty box overcrowding. “It’s a culture change,” Bruyere said. “It’s happening all over the country.” The USA Hockey video can be viewed online by searching “USA Hockey Points of Emphasis” at video.google.com. Champions: The Valencia Express Mites (8-and-under) B-team was among four Ice Station-based Labor Day tournament champions. Tournament MVP Garrett Foster scored the game-winning goal for the Express in a 3-2 victory over Aliso Viejo at the KHS tourney in Anaheim. Other Express standouts included defenseman Otto Endrezs and goalie Brandon McDonald. The Lady Vipers 14-and-under team, the Squirt (10-and-under) B team and the Midget (16-and-under) A team won their respective divisions at the Valencia tournament. firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 267-7802160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!