Victoria Cup will be played using blended IIHF, NHL rulebook

The inaugural 2008 Victoria Cup between the New York Rangers and Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Oct.1 in Bern, Switzerland will be played according to a rulebook that will be a blend between the rules of the IIHF and the NHL.

The four-man officiating crews will also be blended, as they will feature one IIHF referee and one NHL referee as well as one IIHF linesman and one NHL linesman.

The Sept. 30 exhibition game between the New York Rangers and SC Bern (SUI) will be played according to the same system.

The Victoria Cup was introduced to showcase the European club champion against an NHL challenger in a head-to-head matchup for an annually awarded trophy, named after the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, where the first organized hockey game was played on March 3, 1875.

For the players and the fans, the most noticeable change will be the way the referees will call the icing. The NHL rule, whereby a team that ices the puck is not allowed to make a line change, will be in place. However, icing will be called according to IIHF’s non-touch icing rule.

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The Victoria Cup event games will be played with international ice markings in Bern’s PostFinance Arena, meaning that the NHL’s trapezoid area behind the net (outside which the goaltender is not allowed to handle the puck) will not be in place.

The Rangers-Metallurg game will be the first Russia vs. NHL club match-up in 17 years. The last time NHL clubs faced Russian teams was during a 21-game series between December 1990 and January 1991. Dynamo Moscow vs. the Quebec Nordiques on Jan. 15, 1991 was the last occasion when a Russian club faced an NHL team.