The North American Hockey League, which in its 37th season is the oldest junior hockey league in the United States, last month announced improved player safety standards for its almost 600 players.

The rules, as they are related to dangerous actions and behaviors, have been strengthened through an NAHL Code of Conduct policy.

“Player safety is not a new priority for the NAHL,” NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld said. "Our supplemental discipline structure that we currently utilize has performed extremely well for many years."

Part of the code is a progressive suspension strategy. which will identify repeat offenders -- and presumably give them tougher penalties -- and serve as a deterrent.

These negative behaviors include: unsportsmanlike actions, increased stick work and other violent or intimidating actions.

The 24-team NAHL has also continued to be proactive with its equipment suppliers to continue their commitment to provide all players with the best, most protective equipment possible.NA