Four days before the season opener, the MISL competition committee finalized a series of seven major rule changes:
The shootout following the overtime period has been eliminated in favor of 15-minute sudden-death overtime periods that will be played until an outcome is reached.
Substitute players serving a five-minute penalty for ejected players will be released from the penalty box if a power-play goal is scored prior to the expiration of the penalty. The substitute serving the five-minute penalty had been confined to the penalty box regardless of goals scored.
All three-line violations shall be restarted from the center of the defensive red line instead of where the official spotted the ball crossing the first red line. A dot nine inches across will be painted on each red line. This change is intended to speed up play.
Any player can make a three-line pass if his team has a two-man disadvantage. In the past, goalkeepers were not permitted to make that pass. This could result in goalkeepers scoring more goals on downfield throws.
Teams will continue to be assessed two-minute bench penalties after they receive their sixth non-time penalty foul in each quarter. However, additional penalties will be rendered after the 12th and 18th team fouls in a quarter rather than after the ninth and 12th fouls.
If a goalkeeper touches the ball outside of the penalty area, he may not handle it with his hands inside the penalty area unless the ball is touched by another player or there has been a stoppage in play. This is intended to prevent the goalkeeper from baiting the opponent by standing over the ball outside of the penalty area and then stepping into the penalty area and picking it up. When violations occur, an indirect free-kick from the top of the restraining arc will be awarded to the opposing team.
If non-playing personnel are guilty of ungentlemanly conduct or other misconduct so that he would be issued a caution (yellow card) or ejection (red card), a two-minute penalty will not have to be served. The referee will report the misconduct to the Commissioner's office for disciplinary action.