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NHL players approve hybrid icing rule, which goes into effect for regular season

Hybrid icing will be in effect for the start of the NHL regular season after it was approved by the players.

The NHLPA gave the go-ahead for the rule change that makes icing a race to an imaginary line across the faceoff dots instead of the puck, which was given a trial run during the preseason.

The goal is to prevent serious injuries, such as the one that sidelined Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen for the entire season.

Pitkanen broke his left heel bone in eight places on an icing touch-up in April. It's a similar injury to the one suffered by former Washington Capitals forward Pat Peake, whose career ended not too long after.

"After testing hybrid icing during the preseason games, the players participated in a survey and a majority of teams supported this rule change in an effort to make the game safer," NHLPA special assistant to the executive director Mathieu Schneider said in a statement.