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There are certain rules in sports casual fans often fail to understand. In football, for example, your average viewer has no idea what the difference between pass interference and illegal contact is. In baseball, the comparison is probably the balk, and for hockey, it’s without question icing. It takes people like an entire year of sporadically watching hockey to understand what the hell that rule is. Luckily, for those who never bothered learning, the rule has now officially been changed.

According to ESPN, when the 2013-2014 season officially kicks off tomorrow night, the referees will adopt so-called hybrid icing, but in order to explain what that is, I first must explain what the hell icing is. Basically, if both teams are at even strength, the player with the puck, if he has not yet crossed the center (or “red”) line, is not allowed to shoot the puck down the ice and past the opposing goal. If he does, players from both teams race to the puck. If the defensive team gets there first, the refs blow the whistle and a faceoff happens on the other side of the ice. If the attacking team gets there first, play continues. This season, however, if the defensive player gets to the faceoff circle in his race for the puck first, the whistle blows as if he touched it.

That might sound stupidly complicated, but unfortunately, racing to the puck has led to numerous very serious injuries over the years. The NHL’s competition committee seems pretty convinced this alteration will cut down on the number of players who get hurt without altering the game very much. Considering how many tweaks the NFL has made in order to cut down on concussions and the MLB added an entirely new playoff team last year, fans should be able to get used to this.

To check out the new rule in action, tune in to the NBC Sports Network on Tuesday evening to watch the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks play the Washington Capitals.