Rule changes approved by the NCAA’s Division I Council on Friday will change the recruiting timeline for Division I men’s hockey prospects with the goal of slowing down the recruiting experience.

The changes affect the timing of recruiting, creating two starting points for various recruiting activities. The most impactful changes:

• Eliminating recruiting conversations (whether initiated by the coach or prospect) before Jan. 1 of a prospect’s sophomore year.

• Establishing Aug. 1 before a prospect’s junior year as the first date when NCAA coaches can make a verbal offer.

“The college hockey community recognized recruiting has accelerated to a point that isn’t healthy for prospects, our programs or the sport as a whole,” said Josh Fenton, NCHC commissioner who led a committee of commissioners, coaches, and administrators that developed the rule change proposal. “Our underlying goal is to improve the recruiting landscape for prospects, families and coaches, and we believe these changes will make a significant impact.”

Before these changes, which will go into effect May 1, prospects were able to initiate conversations with coaches at any time, and schools could make verbal offers at any time.

“I’m very excited about these proposed changes,” said Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin, whose Bulldogs won their second NCAA title recently. “… A 14- or 15-year old shouldn’t feel the pressure of deciding what college they want to attend.”

Region sites picked

The NCAA Division I men’s hockey committee announced the host sites for the 2020 and 2021 region tournaments.

For 2020, the East region tournament was awarded to the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.; the Northeast region to the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.; the Midwest region to the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.; and the West region to the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.

In 2021, the East region was awarded to the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.; the Northeast region to SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H.; the Midwest region to Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D.; and the West region to Budweiser Events Center.