Starting on Sept. 1, Mercyhurst men’s ice hockey coach Rick Gotkin became a member of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee. Gotkin’s appointment by the National Atlantic Hockey Association comes as another major accomplishment in his successful 29-year career at Mercyhurst. Gotkin himself is an alumnus of the SUNY Brockport hockey team, having played from 1980-82 on their squad.
He joined Mercyhurst after working as an assistant in the hockey programs for first SUNY Brockport and then Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1988, he joined Mercyhurst as the head coach of the men’s ice hockey team. Since then, Gotkin has accumulated a 510-367-80 overall record, with a Division I record of 358-192-60 to boot. Gotkins’ teams have averaged 18 wins per season, and have made the postseason in all but two of the 29 years he has been coaching the Lakers. “I just think it’s a great responsibility,” said Gotkin. “It’s a really neat way to maybe make a little impact on the game that I love, that a lot of people love.”
The NCAA Rules Committee oversees the rules of both men’s and women’s hockey for all three division levels. The committee enacts its policies through a series of conference calls and meetings.
Rules are implemented across the country in a formal process, with the committee discussing and reviewing the rules in their current state. Surveys are sent to different schools asking about their feelings on the rules. These surveys are then analyzed by the committee, who looks for an issue that the participating schools appear to have a consensus on.
Coaches, referees and administrators are then interviewed on their opinions of the rules. From this, the committee dissects the data and debates on what to change. As far as what these topics are, Gotkin specifically brought up how the implementation of technology is up for discussion. Gotkin mentioned that the committee will continue to debate on rules about how technologies such as video replay and placement of cameras are implemented. Another pressing issue is overtime. Gotkin commented that different conferences that play Division I men’s hockey have different rules about overtime.
“I just can’t believe that we don’t play the same overtime across the board,” said Gotkin. “The game itself is in pretty good shape, in terms of the rules. I don’t think it needs an overhaul of the rules.” As a rules committee member, Gotkin will serve for four years.