NEW YORK, N.Y. - NHL referees will be armed with more ways to penalize dangerous hits next season.

The league's board of governors approved changes to rules governing boarding and head hits on Tuesday, broadening the wording of each in an effort to better protect players.

The change to Rule 41 governing boarding will see a minor penalty assessed when a hit is thrown on a defenceless player near the boards.

With a revised Rule 48, the league has outlawed any hit where the head is the principle point of contact — not just those that come from the blind side.

The changes were drafted by NHL general managers and the league's competition committee before being voted on by the board.