ZURICH – The inaugural 2008 Victoria Cup between the New York Rangers (NHL) and Metallurg Magnitogorsk (RUS) on October 1 in Berne, Switzerland, will be played according to a rule book which will be a blend between the International Ice Hockey Federation and the National Hockey League rule books.
This has been jointly decided and announced by the IIHF, the NHL and the NHLPA. It is a novelty as this is the first time that a hockey game will be played with blended IIHF-NHL rules and blended four-man crews.
Also the four-man officiating crews will be blended, as they will feature one IIHF referee and one NHL referee as well as one IIHF linesman and one NHL linesman.
The September 30 exhibition game between the New York Rangers and SC Bern (SUI) will be played according to the same system.
The Victoria Cup was introduced to showcase the European club champion against an NHL challenger in a head-to-head match-up for an annually awarded trophy, named after the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, where the first organized hockey game was played on March 3, 1875.
For the players and the fans, the most noticeable effect will be the way the referees will call the icing. The NHL-rule, whereby a team that ices the puck is not allowed to make a line change, will be in place. However, icing will be called according to IIHF’s non-touch icing rule (i.e. Icing called when puck crosses the goal line).
The Victoria Cup event games will be played with international ice markings in Berne’s PostFinance Arena, meaning that the NHL’s trapezoid area behind the net (outside which the goaltender is not allowed to handle the puck) will not be in place.
NY Rangers vs. Metallurg will be the first Russia vs. NHL club match-up for 17 years. The last time NHL clubs faced Russian teams was during a 21-game series between December 1990 and January 1991. Dynamo Moscow vs. Quebec Nordiques (4-1) on January 15th remains the last occasion when a Russian club faced an NHL team.