Ben Barr is introduced as the new men's ice hockey head coach at the University of Maine on May 14, 2021. Credit: Ronnie Gillis / UMaine Athletics

University of Maine head men’s hockey coach Ben Barr is ready for the inevitable.

The Supreme Court’s ruling last summer opened the door for student-athletes to receive Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) monetization meaning they can be paid to endorse a product or business.

That used to be a no-no in the eyes of the NCAA, which insisted on its student-athletes maintaining amateur status and being ineligible for paid endorsements.

That ruling means the landscape of NCAA sports is going to change dramatically, NCAA representative Greg Dana told the crowd at the American Hockey Coaches Association’s annual convention in Florida last week.

Moving forward, it could mean an elimination of athletic scholarship limits in the various sports, no limit on the number of assistant coaches and an open transfer window, meaning players can transfer as many times as they want without having to sit out a year.

A recent NCAA ruling allows players to transfer one time without having to sit out a year. It used to be that student-athletes had to sit out a year whenever they transferred in certain sports.

“It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when,” said Barr.

“It means that you have to make sure you are running a program that has a good culture and that you are developing players. It also means you have to bring in the right student-athlete who fits your culture and you have the right coaching staff and support staff around them.”

In hockey-specific items, coaches discussed the three-on-three overtime rule. If a team loses in the three-on-three overtime, it goes down as a loss on its record even though the winning team gets 55 percent of the percentage points in the Pairwise Ranking formula and the losing team still gets 45 percent.

Barr said coaches were concerned because the loss goes on their record, and the record is how they are judged by their athletic directors.

“It can get coaches fired,” he said.

There was sentiment for adding a column so it goes down as an overtime loss instead of a regular loss.

A shootout follows the three-on-three if nobody scores and that is reflected as a tie.

“I understand their reasoning. But it doesn’t change anything in the Pairwise,” he said.

There was also discussion about reducing the number of game misconducts that are often attached to five-minute majors. Referees will often review penalties to decide whether they should be two-minute minors or five-minute majors and if it warrants a game misconduct, in which the player is ejected from the game.

Another item that came up was the reduction of the number of video reviews by forcing coaches to make challenges and, if they lose the challenge, they either lose their timeout or their team receives a two-minute minor penalty.

Barr said the problem with any situation involving video is the available video technology varies from rink to rink. Some arenas are better than others.

“Your league is only as good as its lowest denominator,” Barr said. “You have to make sure all of the schools in your league have a certain level of technology.”

Coaches also discussed going to home rinks for NCAA tournament games instead of sending four teams to the four regionals.

Barr understands both sides of that discussion. Host schools would get an unfair advantage if it goes to home rinks but it is a good alternative if attendance numbers are low at the regionals and money is being lost.

He said having best-of-three series at home rinks in league playoffs can provide a memorable environment and atmosphere for the respective teams.