MHL to test new faceoff rule in Summerside during pre-season

They Valley Wildcats hit the ice at Kings Mutual Century Centre in Berwick. (Twitter)

Training camps are in full swing in the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) as teams across the region are gearing up for the 2019-20 season.

The exhibition schedule kicks off Tuesday with an Eastlink South matchup as the defending Canadian Tire Cup champion Yarmouth Mariners host the South Shore Lumberjacks. The teams will meet again on Thursday, this time in Bridgewater. South Shore and Yarmouth have met in the divisional final in each of the last two seasons, with the Mariners winning both.

The league then heads into a very busy Labour Day weekend with seven games on Saturday and five more on Sunday. The bulk of those games will be in Summerside as the Western Capitals host the first-ever Battle of the Bridge tournament. The Amherst Ramblers, Edmundston Blizzard, and Pictou County Weeks Crushers are all taking part in the event at Credit Union Place.

The MHL will also use this tournament as an opportunity to test out a potential rule change for future seasons. For the start of a powerplay and on icing calls, the non-offending team can choose which side of the ice the faceoff will be on. The decision from the head coach must take place during the normal time allotted for a line change (five seconds for the visitors, ten seconds for the home team). Should the coach of the non-offending team not indicate which side of the ice they would like the faceoff to take place, the location will default to where it normally would under the current rules. This pilot project will only take place during the Battle of the Bridge tournament as a way to gather feedback as the rule is being considered in other Junior A leagues across the country.

Catch all of the action this pre-season live on HockeyTV.