A pair of professional hockey players found a hilarious way to circumvent one of the NHL’s newest rules.
Brett Gallant of the New York Islanders and Krys Barch of the New Jersey Devils decided that they wanted to fight each other on Thursday night, Yahoo Sports reports. However, a new NHL rule gives players a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct if they remove their helmets before a fight.
The NHL rule change, known as Rule 46.6, reads as follows: “Helmets - No player may remove his helmet prior to engaging in a fight. If he should do so, he shall be assessed a two minute minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Helmets that come off in the course of and resulting from the altercation will not result in a penalty to either player.”
Rather than accept the additional penalty, Gallant and Barch decided to help each other find a loophole. The two players took the time to remove each other’s helmets before repeatedly punching each other in the face. On the plus side, they did manage to avoid the automatic two-minute penalty. Yahoo Sports has a video of the exchange, which can be viewed here.
Gallant and Barch’s decision to remove each other’s helmets is not without precedent. Islanders Point Blank, a hockey blog, notes that junior hockey players often remove each other’s helmets before a fight to avoid similar penalties.
By the end of Thursday night’s preseason game between the Islanders and Devils, Gallant and Barch had each been involved in three fights and received a game misconduct, Yahoo Sports reports.
Gallant and Barch may have avoided a penalty this time, but don’t expect the helmet ploy to work for much longer. Yahoo Sports points out that the NHL will likely enact an additional rule to prevent other NHL players from following in their footsteps.