Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Sept. 14, 2015 — And one change that wasn’t

In what is the first scoring rules change to any field hockey competition this space has ever encountered, the Hockey India League (HIL) is reportedly considering adding a two-point goal to the rules of the game, according to a report from The Indian Express.

The professional men’s league, which will be entering its fourth season in January, is considering the two-point goal as a way to open up play and to prevent offenses from playing “negative” hockey, or dumping the ball into the feet of an opposing defender instead of continuing a promising attack.

The two-point goal would count for all field goals from open play, and from any penalty stroke which constitutes the denial of a goal-scoring opportunity from open play. At the same time, only one point would be scored from any goal from penalty corner and from any penalty stroke awarded before the corner criteria is off.

Herein, I think, is a major problem with the rule. With the two-point score, there is every incentive for an inventive team to develop a corner which, by definition, ends corner criteria and allows a team to score a two-pointer. That is to say, a corner play that is sent outside the dashed lines and controlled by the attack could simply be sent back into the scoring circle at speed. This would be reminiscent of the era when the NCAA allowed penalty corners to be scored inside the 25-yard line and teams like Trenton State College would set their corner battery way outside the circle, but with a player with enough power and pace to shoot the ball from that distance.

On the other hand, this rule change could change the way that defenses play the game. Knowing that a penalty corner goal is just one point, it’s likely that defenders on a team with good and skilled forwards would rather concede corners rather than allow goal shots in the run of play for the risk of conceding a two-point goal.

In other words, I don’t think this rule change will do great wonders for team defense. What do you think?


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