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When businessman J. Ambrose O'Brien acquired a franchise in the NHA (National Hockey Association) on December 4th 1909 to make it an all French-Canadian team, hockey was miles away from what it is today. First off, It was a seven-man instead of six-man game and games would be played using a two 30-minute non stop period formula. Goalies could not drop on the ice to make a save, and forward passes were forbidden!

In order to improve the show, increase the dynamic aspect of the game or for other reasons, many rules have changed over the years. Don't be surprised to learn that the regular season overtime disappeared for over four decades (1942-1983), that the first penalty shots were taken from a static point 38 feet from the net (1934-1935), and that Jean Béliveau is the one responsible for ending power plays after a goal when he took 44 seconds to score a hat trick on a single one.


Each team must have a substitute goalie. He has to be in uniform but can only be used if there is an injury. Also, he can be employed by either one of the teams.

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Each team must have a back-up goaltender. He must be dressed but can only be used in the event of an injury.

The size of the net is increased by a foot in width and a foot in length. It is now 8 feet wide by 4 feet long.

Local teams to wear their white uniform, visiting team to wear their coloured uniforms.

Number of players in the line-up is reduced, from 17 to 15, without the goalies.

The faceoff circles are enlarged. Their radius is now 15 feet, 5 feet more than its previous format.


Teams can dress up 15 players on the road, and 16 at home.

Number of players in uniform is increased, from 15 to 16.


Number of players in the line-up is established at 18 plus goaltenders until the 1st of December, and 16 after that.

Teams agree to switch jersey colors. They will be wearing their coloured version at home, and their white version for road games.

Following Jean Béliveau's hat trick in a record-breaking 44 seconds inside a one and only powerplay, the rule is changed. The player serving the minor penalty can therefore come back on the ice and play at even strengths if the opponent scored a goal during his penalty.


It is strictly forbidden for a player to leave his bench to participate in a skirmish.

Penalty shots to be taken by the player against who the infraction took place. If the infraction wasn't against any particular player, the coach has to choose among the players on the ice at the time the infraction was called.


No contact is allowed during faceoffs.

For the playoffs, each team must include a substitute goaltender in its lineup.

From now on, for every regular season game, each team must include a substitute goaltender in its lineup.

Maximum length of sticks increased, from 53 to 55 inches long.


When major penalties are called on each side, substitutions are allowed, thus making the play 5 on 5 for the next 5 minutes. Players to exit the box on the first whistle after the 5 minutes is over.

Time of intermissions increased by 5 minutes, from 10 to 15.

If a goaltender is given a 5 minute major penalty, a teammate present on the ice when the penalty took place must go to the penalty box to serve his goaltender's time.

Limit of blade curvature reduced to an inch and a half.


Limit of blade curvature reduced to an inch.