TEWKSBURY/WILMINGTON — The Field Hockey teams from Tewksbury and Wilmington were among the fortunate teams that were able to participate in their regularly scheduled fall season, adjusting to the COVID related modifications to the sport. Despite some hiccups and stops and starts along the way, particularly on the Wilmington side, both teams made it through what had to be considered successful seasons, just for the mere fact they were able to get on the field.
With any luck, both teams will once again be able to compete in the fall of 2021, while several other schools will be taking the field on the new “Fall 2” season, which gets underway on February 22. Whenever field hockey programs do resume play, they will do so under several new rules, and this time they are not COVID-19 related.
The MIAA Field Hockey Committee met Thursday morning and the major item on the agenda was voting on the National Federation of High Schools rules change proposals. While most of the 24 proposals involved minor clarifications in language to existing rules, there were a couple of significant recommendations put forth by the committee.
Probably the most significant change going forward will be the reinstatement of one timeout per game per team. Timeouts were eliminated this year when field hockey moved from halves to quarters, deemed unnecessary due to the extra stoppages, but going forward they will be reinstated, passing by aa margin of 7-2 with four abstentions.
Another rule change dealt with the officiating of penalty strokes. Currently, if a player attempts a stroke before the whistle and scores, they are permitted to retake the stroke. The new rule would immediately end the stroke if taken before the whistle. This proposal was overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 15-0.
Not every proposal was approved, however. For example, one proposal put forward was a switch to the college rule that a player entering the circle early on a penalty corner not be sent out and replaced, but rather the inserter sent out and replaced. That proposal was overwhelmingly voted down by a vote of 0-14-1.