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Ask the Official

USA Hockey's "Ask the Official" forum has returned for the 2021-22 season.

IMPORTANT NOTEDiscipline, Suspension, and Team Roster related questions cannot be answered at this forum. Please contact your USAH Affiliate for answers to these questions. Contact information is located in the Directory of the USA Hockey Annual Guidebook.


2021-22 ATO | WEEK 18

By USA Hockey 12/03/2021, 6:15am MST

This week’s features: Sweater patches...Sweater numbers...On-ice strength after penalties...and more.

QUESTION: A player gets two penalties on one play. Does the player serve two connectives minors, or does the team put a teammate in box and play short by two skaters?

ANSWER: In this situation, the offending player would enter the penalty bench and four minutes would be placed on the penalty clock (no additional player needed). The team would play 5 v. 4 for four minutes.


QUESTION: Is "00" allowed as a player jersey number?

ANSWER: Yes, a player can wear any number as long as the number is one or two digits and uniquely identifies the player on the roster.


QUESTIONI coach a girls high-school team. My player got a game misconduct penalty for head contact. The ref wrote on the score sheet as follows in the Penalties section under the Rule # column "DQ misconduct 7-6-2". I am trying to figure out what Rule #7-6-2 is?

ANSWER: While USA Hockey does sanction high school level hockey, not all high school teams and leagues play under USA Hockey sanctioning. Several leagues play under the National Federation of High Schools which is an entirely separate governing body with its own rule book and discipline process. If your team plays under NFHS rules, then you would need to contact your local HS Assignor and League to ask any non-USAH rule interpretation questions.


QUESTIONWhere can we place a small American flag patch (2"x3") on our official's jersey?

ANSWER: Any patches in addition to the USA Hockey Crest, should be placed on the upper-sleeve of one of the arms.


QUESTIONMy team was already shorthanded when a second penalty was assessed, putting us 5-on-3. On the ensuing face-off, the opposing team was given a penalty for a face-off violation. The officials said we would skate 5-on-4 instead of 5-on-3. Is this a correct application of coincidental minor penalties? Or should we have been 4-on-3?

ANSWER: Since the second penalty (on the opposing team) was assessed during the same stoppage and both penalties begin at the exact same time, both teams may add a substitute player and play resumes at 5 vs. 4.

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2021-22 ATO | WEEK 17

By USA Hockey 11/26/2021, 6:15am MST

This week’s features: Stacked penalties...Puck out of play...Penalty shots...and more.

QUESTIONDuring a shootout, a player skating in front of the goaltender, anticipates the poke-check, steps around the goaltender’s stick & scores. The official by the net says the player moved slightly backward to avoid the poke-check & did not continue toward the net therefore no goal. After discussion I reluctantly agreed but I argued the player & puck were always moving forward & they are entitled to deke the goalie. Essentially, I equate this to a player using the “spin-o-rama” move.

ANSWER: Shooters are expected to stay in a fluid forward motion toward the opponent’s goal during a shoot-out attempt. They may turn to either side of the goal, or peel-off to cut across the front of the net, or stickhandle the puck forward and back, as long as they stay in motion toward the goal. The “spirit and intent” of the rule is a shooter may not stop or turn-back to repeat his/her approach toward the goal.


QUESTION: An attacking player attempts a wrap around which is stopped by the goaltender but not covered. During the ensuing scramble in front, while the puck is still loose the attacking player pushes both the goaltenders leg and the puck into the net. Should a goal be awarded?

ANSWER: An attacking player may not physically interfere with a goalkeeper in his/her crease. While a puck that is located in the crease is “in play”, an attacking player may not push or otherwise force the puck into the goal by making contact with the goalkeeper.


QUESTIONIs it OK for a referee to purposefully not make calls due to a personal issue with a coach? And to go as far as to telling the team captain such when he asks about a call?

ANSWER: All USA Hockey Officials are expected to follow the On-Ice Officials Code-of-Conduct which is listed in the 2021-25 Playing Rules,


QUESTION: If a player takes a shot at the goal in the offensive zone and the shot goes directly out of play without touching anyone or anything is that a delay of game penalty?

ANSWER: A player may only be penalized for shooting the puck out of play if he/she did so intentionally.


QUESTION: Team A is short handed 3 v. 5. Penalties. Team B then has a breakaway. The Team B attacker is hooked, a delayed penalty is signaled, and then Team B scores. Is the delayed penalty recorded and stricken due to the goal, or does it become a stacked penalty?

ANSWERRule 409(b) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

If the Referee signals an additional minor penalty(s) against a team that is already shorthanded (below the numerical strength of its opponent on the ice at the time of the goal) because of one or more minor or bench minor penalties, and a goal is scored by the non-offending team, the goal shall be allowed. The delayed penalty(s) shall be assessed and the first non-coincidental minor penalty already being served shall terminate automatically under Rule 402(c) (Minor Penalties).

Therefore, the first minor currently being served would terminate after the Team B goal, and the offending player during the breakaway would enter the penalty bench and immediately begin serving his/her Hooking minor.

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 16

By USA Hockey 11/19/2021, 6:15am MST

This week’s features: Goal pegs...Taunting...Mouthpieces...and more.

QUESTIONCan a minor penalty be called for "snowing" a goalie in the face if he is covering a puck?

ANSWER: This would be classified as taunting and penalized under Rule 601.a.


QUESTIONAs I read the rule regarding mouth-guards it is a little confusing. It specifies mouth-guards for all 12U players through 18U. Does this mean that 10U are not required to wear mouth-guards?

ANSWER: You are correct. Mouthpieces are recommended for 10U hockey and below, but they are not required equipment.


QUESTIONTeams are at 4 v. 4 strength. At the face-off we did not see one team put a fifth player on the ice from the bench. Nobody left the penalty box prematurely. The team that had the extra player scored a goal. What is the correct call after the goal?

ANSWER: A team cannot score a goal if they have more players than they are entitled to on the ice. Therefore, the goal must be disallowed.

Assuming, the extra player was an error by the team during the line-change, and the officials who are responsible for counting players before dropping the puck, the offending team shall not be assessed any penalty. Play will resume with the proper number of players on the ice.


QUESTIONIs it mandatory to have pegs on the net during 10U hockey?

ANSWER: USA Hockey does not have any official policy regarding the use of goal-post pins. The decision of what playing levels should use them is left to the Local Associations, Team Officials, and Game Officials to make with the best interests of fair play and player safety in mind. We recommend contacting your local Youth Association to receive more information about their policies.


QUESTIONWhat is the official USA Hockey Rule for parents in the locker room with 10U players?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, we cannot answer this question at this forum since it does not regard the actual Playing Rules of USA Hockey, and does not regard referee decisions. For more information, we recommend consulting the Locker Room Policy in the USA Hockey Annual Guidebook which is available under the ABOUT tab at

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 15

By USA Hockey 11/12/2021, 6:15am MST

This week’s features: Facemasks and Age Levels...Officials' errors and face-off locations...Face-off procedures...and more.

QUESTION: Is there a specific facemask design that a 14U player must wear, as well as a 15U player?

ANSWER: Rule 304(c) & (d) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
(c) All players, including goalkeepers, in all age classifications except Adults, are required to properly wear a HECC approved helmet as designed by the manufacturer and with no alterations and chin strap properly fastened.
(Note) HECC certification includes an expiration date on the sticker and a helmet that has an expiration date that has expired is no longer considered certified. The player may not wear a helmet that does not have a valid and current certification sticker.
Players in the Adult classification must wear a hockey helmet (including non-HECC approved) with chin strap properly fastened.

All players on the players’ and the penalty bench must wear the protective helmet/facemask while in the bench area. For a violation of this rule, after a warning by the Referee, a misconduct penalty for an equipment violation shall be assessed to the offending player.
(d) All players, including goalkeepers, in all age classifications below Adults, are required to wear a facemask certified by HECC, plus any chin protection that accompanies the facemask.
(Note) Any helmet or facemask that is altered except as permitted in Rule 304(c) shall be deemed to be illegal equipment and shall not be allowed to be used in a game. The player, or such equipment, shall be removed from the game until corrected. (This shall include helmets from which a part has been cut or removed, facemasks from which the chin-cup has been removed or any other such alterations from the original manufacturing specifications.)

In other words, there is no type of helmet that is specifically “designed” for a specific age group. As long as the valid (check the date) HECC Sticker is present on the helmet, it is legal for play.


QUESTIONWhen a face-off is performed is it necessary for the puck to hit the ice between the two players before it can be touched, or can it be knocked out of the air before hitting the ice?

ANSWER: Situation 4 under Rule 613 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

The Linesman drops the puck and before it hits the ice, one of the centers hits the puck out of the air with the blade of his stick. Should the Linesman allow the play to continue?

Yes. Rule Reference 613(a).

As long as the player made a legal attempt to gain possession of the puck, the play shall be allowed to continue. If the Linesman had dropped the puck and it accidentally hit the stick or glove of either player facing-off, play must be immediately stopped and a new face-off conducted.


QUESTIONDoes a double-minor infraction count as one penalty or two? There was a game where a team earned either 14 or 15 penalties, depending on how many penalties a double-minor counts as. This difference would affect whether the coach receives a Game Misconduct or not.

ANSWER: Double-minor penalties are actually two separate minor penalties that are assessed at the same time under the Unnecessary Roughness rule. Therefore, they each count as a separate penalty (so two total).


QUESTION: The goalie makes a save during a scramble in front of the net. The referee is in the corner and loses sight of the puck, subsequently blowing his whistle. As he skates towards the net, he sees the puck is over the goal line, and now signals a goal. Does the referee need to see the puck crossing the goal line to award a goal? I don't think there was a way to determine whether the puck was already in the net, or if it ended up in the net after the whistle had blown.

ANSWER: If the official determines the puck entered the goal legally before the whistle was blown then the goal should be awarded. If he/she cannot determine 100% how the puck entered the goal, or confirm if it entered before the whistle, then the goal should be disallowed.


QUESTIONIf a defensive player completes a hand-pass entirely within the defensive zone and an official stops play in error since that play is legal, where should the face-off be?

ANSWER: This situation would result in a normal “last play” end-zone face-off in the defending zone.

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 14

By USA Hockey 11/05/2021, 1:00am MDT

This week’s features: Delayed penalties...No-show officials..."Net's off!"...and more.

QUESTIONIs there ever a situation where a goal may be allowed with the net dislodged? I have seen referees count goals since "the net was barely off" or "the net being off didn't affect the play.

ANSWERRule 610(e) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“Play shall be stopped immediately when the goal frame has been displaced from its normal position.”

Therefore, the officials must disallow a goal if they are 100% certain the goal frame was displaced prior to the puck crossing the goal line.


QUESTIONWe recently had an in-house game where the rink forgot to request referees. The game was played with the home team's head coach officiating the game. He does not have any official certifications through USA Hockey. Does the fact there are no certified officials on the ice have an impact on coverage?

ANSWER: This situation would be treated like a normal in-house scrimmage. Assuming you mean insurance when you say “coverage”, as long as all participants (coaches and players) are USAH Registered and USAH Playing Rules are followed then USAH Member Benefits would apply.


QUESTIONThe referee blows the whistle to line up for a face-off. A player calls "time out". Can the official refuse the time-out?

ANSWERRule 636(f) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“Time-outs must be requested during a stoppage of play prior to the conclusion of the line change procedure.”


QUESTIONI was under the assumption that if play is stopped for an injury, with a coach or trainer coming on ice that the player has to leave the ice.

ANSWERRule 206(a) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A player other than a goalkeeper, whose injury appears serious enough to warrant the stoppage of play, may not participate further in the game until the completion of the ensuing face-off.”


QUESTIONIf there is a two-man advantage power play in progress when a third penalty is called against the short handed team what happens? I believe that you can never have less than 4 players on the ice including the goalie so a three man advantage would you add a 6th skater or is the penalty delayed?

ANSWERRule 408(a) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“If a third player shall be penalized while two players of the same team are serving non-coincidental penalties, he shall proceed to the penalty bench immediately and may be replaced by a substitute on the ice. However, the penalty time of the third player shall not begin until the first such penalty has expired.”

Once one of the active penalties expires (or terminates after a goal), the third penalty begins. If this occurs during play, the player whose penalty expires may not return to the ice immediately since the team is still serving two penalties. The players would return either during stoppages, or during play assuming they are entitled to return to 5 v. 4 or 5 v. 5.

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 13

By USA Hockey 10/29/2021, 11:45am MDT

This week’s features: Picking up the puck..."C's" & "A's"...Off-ice Officials...and more.

QUESTIONOur team has five rostered coaches for a youth team. We know four are allowed on the bench during a game. Can the fifth coach operate the penalty boxes?

ANSWER: There is nothing preventing a coach from serving as an Off-ice Official during a game. However, if they serve as a Penalty Bench Attendant then they must act impartial and be willing to assist the On-ice Officials in any way needed. In other words, they must act like an Official during the game.


QUESTION: Can we have one Captain, and three Assistant Captains on a team?

ANSWERRule 202(a) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“Prior to the start of the game, each team shall designate one Captain and not more than two Alternates on the scoresheet.”

However, this rule extends to exercising the actual privileges of Captain during a game. There is nothing preventing a team from allowing more than one player to wear a Captain’s “C” (as long as the actual Captain for the game is clearly marked on the scoresheet) or having multiple Alternates.


QUESTIONDuring a penalty shot, attacking player touches the puck and immediately falls to the ice, sliding alongside the puck which eventually stops just before the blue line. Play is blown dead. Rule 406(c) seems to assume the failed penalty shot was taken from inside the attacking zone. After a failed penalty shot, is the only option to face-off at an end zone face-off spot in the attacking zone?

ANSWER: In all cases, a “failed” penalty shot attempt results in a face-off in the defending end-zone of the offending team.


QUESTIONA Team A player commits a penalty infraction while Team B has possession of the puck in Team B’s Defending Zone. During the delayed calling of the penalty, Team B advances the puck into its Attacking Zone whereupon a Team B player commits a minor penalty infraction. Play is stopped immediately and both penalties are assessed as coincidental minor penalties. Where is the ensuing face-off?

ANSWER: At the nearest Neutral Zone face-off spot. Rule References 612(b and c) and 409(a). The two infractions did not occur at the same time even though they will be recorded as such, and the reason play was stopped was because of the infraction committed by an attacking player in their Attacking Zone.


QUESTIONThe goalie is down in the butterfly position with the right foot at the post and the stick flat on the ice protecting the corner of the net. The puck is loose between the goalie's stick and the net so players from both teams are vying for the puck. The goalie lets go of her stick and picks up the puck off the ice with her blocker hand and raises it up to show she has possession so the ref blows the whistle. The ref then informs her that dropping the stick to pick up the puck is illegal. Is it?

ANSWERRule 618(a) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A minor penalty for delay of game shall be assessed to any player, other than the goalkeeper, who picks the puck up from the ice with his hand(s) while play is in progress.”

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | Week 12

By USA Hockey 10/22/2021, 6:15am MDT

This week’s features: Equipment entrepreneurship...First to intervene...Disabled Hockey officials...and more.

QUESTION: An attacking player takes a shot on goal, which deflects off of a teammate in the attacking end-zone, and is redirected into the netting above the goal. Where is the ensuing face-off located?

ANSWER: While the initial shot was "on goal" in this situation, the face-off must be located in the neutral zone due to the fact that the puck did not redirect out of play off of the goal frame, boards or protective glass.


QUESTION: An attacking player takes a shot towards the goal, which is deflected by a teammate, and is redirected off of the goal frame and out of play. Where is the ensuing face-off?

ANSWER: The "spirit and intent" of Rule 612.c is to reward a close scoring play with an attacking end-zone face-off. In this case, the face-off should be located in the attacking zone since the initial shot and deflection struck the goal frame and directly left the playing surface.


QUESTIONIs there an acceptable time to be a 3rd man in, in an effort for player safety? If one player is on the ground, defenseless, is it acceptable for a 3rd player to try to stop the player throwing punches?

ANSWER: There is never an acceptable time for an additional player to enter a 1 on 1 altercation. In almost all cases, the game officials will enter the altercation as soon as the players fall to the ice or when things become unfair for one player. Additionally, an additional player entering an altercation would turn it into a 2 on 1 altercation which would be regarded as very unfair and dangerous for the opponent.


QUESTIONHi, I’m looking for a business opportunity, and it is a foldable Hockey stick. Would this be legal in the rules or no?

ANSWER: Rule 301(a) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“The sticks shall be made of wood or other material approved by the Rules Committee, and must not have any projections.”

Since a “foldable” stick would likely have some type of hinge that would project from the natural shape of the stick shaft, this would unlikely be approved for use by the USAH Playing Rules Committee.


QUESTIONWhat penalty, if any, is called against a player who attacks his own teammate. The rule book deals with penalties against "an opponent or opposing player" but does not refer to infractions against one's own teammates. For arguments sake, the player slashes and injures a teammates with intent.

ANSWER: The USAH Playing Rules Casebook does have a situation under Rule 615 that deals with two teammates who fight during a game, but since the likelihood of a player slashing a teammate during a game is extremely rare this type of behavior would be left to the coach to deal with. Please note, the Playing Rules only apply to games. Any bad behavior in practice should be dealt with by the coach and team manager.


QUESTION: Helmets removed before during altercation/fight do players get the 5 minute penalty besides game/match? when don't 5 minute penalties accompany game misconduct/match penalties

ANSWER: If players remove their helmets prior to an altercation, they must be assessed a Match penalty in addition to any other penalties they earn during the altercation (Fighting, Roughing, etc.). In other words, the normal Fighting penalties would be assessed for the fight, but they must be assessed the additional Match for removing their helmets prior to the fight.


QUESTIONI have always wanted to be a Ice Hockey referee ever since I stopped playing sled hockey. I was wondering what the guidelines are in terms of someone who is disabled and can’t walk (I have a medical condition that does not allow me to walk and have any function from the waist down and have to use a wheelchair to move about) would this pose any challenges in terms of becoming a referee for able bodied Ice Hockey?

ANSWER: The USA Hockey Officiating Program and Risk Management Council would likely have some concerns about safety if an official were to use a sled in an Abled-Body game. That being said, it might be possible for you to pursue opportunities as a Sled Hockey Official (where everyone is in sleds). The obvious hurdles would be how you would maneuver around during play while signaling a “delayed penalty” (one arm straight in the air), how you would carry a whistle, and how you would blow a whistle with a full face-mask (we’re not certain you could wear a half-shield visor as an official during a sled game).

You could try reaching out to your USA Hockey District Risk Manager and see what they say. Contact information is listed in the USA Hockey Annual Guide which is available at

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 11

By USA Hockey 10/15/2021, 6:00am MDT

This week’s features: Face-off locations...Goalkeeper sticks...Penalty termination...and more.

QUESTIONTeam B is on the power play (5 v. 4), and takes a penalty. The penalty is placed on the game clock, but Team B does not become shorthanded (play resumes 4 v. 4). Where is the face-off located in this situation?

ANSWER: The resulting on-ice strength when play resumes does not affect where the face-off should be located. The face-off is determined by the penalty(ies) being assessed at the stoppage. So, in the situation below:

12:30 #8 - Minor Penalty  
11:45   #17 - Minor Penalty

The face-off is located in the Team B defending end-zone despite the fact that play will resume at even-strength. The “shorthanded” term is included in the playing rule (Rule 612) to dismiss misconducts and coincidental penalties which are not subject to this rule.


QUESTION: For goalie sticks, is there a minimum thickness that the knob of the stick has to be, and does the knob have to be done in white tape?

ANSWER: Under the current USA Hockey Youth & Adult Playing Rules, there are no rules that mandate the butt-end of a goalkeeper’s stick must be taped, nor that white tape must be used.


QUESTION: Team A had at Penalty at 5:00 (2:00 on Clock - 1 in box - 5 on 4). Team A gets another Penalty at 4:00 (2:00 on Clock - 2 in box - 5 on 3). Team A and Team B get coincidental penalties at 3:30. What happens? How does that work with Team A having stacked penalties?

ANSWER: Since coincidental penalties do not affect the on-ice strength of the game, play would resume 5 vs. 3 with all current penalties continuing and expiring as normal.

The players with coincidental penalties would enter the penalty box immediately and return to the play at the first stoppage after two minutes (just like normal coincidental penalties).


QUESTIONIs the act of placing my stick-blade onto an opponent's stick-blade, ONLY to stop the puck carrier from stick handling, considered hooking? Assume I am next to or slightly behind puck carrier, and no part of my body or stick is touching any part of his body or stick anywhere above the blade. I would also be leaning heavily on my stick to prevent him from lifting or moving his stick only. Consider both my stick blade firmly on top of his turned upside-down or also upright on the ice.

ANSWER: Stick-presses” and “stick-lifts” are considered legal plays as long as the contact is restricted to the lower-portion (blade area) of the opponent’s stick and does not restrict the movement (hook, hold, etc.) of an opponent who is skating. In other words, the stick can be used to briefly lift or press and opponent’s stick for purposes of gaining possession of the puck. However, these actions should be quick and temporary, and should not interfere with the movement of the opponent.


QUESTIONIf the puck goes out of play after hitting the base of the net is the face-off in the attacking zone or in the neutral zone? Rule 612 (c) mentions the "post" and "crossbar" but doesn't say anything about the base of the net. I've seen different officials interpret this rule as differently so I'm curious who is right.

ANSWER: The interpretation of this rule is the puck must strike the goal-frame, glass or boards as the result of a "shot" and leave the playing surface for the face-off to remain inside the attacking zone. A pass or errant shot that strikes the back of the goal frame (i.e. the white-painted part) and leaves the playing surface results in a neutral zone face-off.


QUESTIONWith 13:00 left in a game, Blue has one team in the penalty box with :22 left on a minor penalty. Blue and White each receive coincidental minor penalties for roughing. The Blue player receiving the coincidental minor also receives a 2/10 for head contact. When does the head contact minor penalty start/end? When does the misconduct begin? Does Blue need to add additional player to the box to serve any of the penalties? What happens if a goal is scored with 12:00 left? 10:00 left?

ANSWER: To start...

-  #7 Blue is currently serving a minor penalty (with 0:22 remaining) and play is 5 vs. 4 in favor of White.

-  At 13:00, #10 Blue and #5 White receive coincidental minors (roughing), but #10 Blue also receives an additional minor plus misconduct for Head Contact. At this point both #10 Blue and #5 White enter the penalty bench. #10 Blue must serve 14 minutes (his entire earned penalty time) and #5 White must serve two minutes, and both will leave the penalty bench at the first stoppage after their penalty time elapses.

-  Since #10 Blue earned an additional off-setting minor, Team Blue must place an additional player (#21) in the penalty bench. #21 is there to serve the shorthanded time of the additional penalty, and play will resume 5 vs. 3 in favor of White.

-  If Team White scores a goal at 12:00, #10 Blue’s additional off-setting minor terminates and #21 may leave the penalty bench (#7 Blue’s minor only had 22 seconds remaining at 13:00 and has now expired). Play now starts back at full-strength.

-  If Team White scores a goal at 10:00, all minors have expired (both #7 and #21 Blue have already left the penalty bench), and assuming #5 has not had a chance to leave the penalty bench since his minor penalty started he may now leave the box. #10 Blue will still be sitting tight for a while.

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 10

By USA Hockey 10/08/2021, 6:15am MDT

This week’s features: Replacement bags...starting short...and more...

QUESTION: My hockey team's record is 9-4-2 Does this mean 9 wins and 4 losses? What does the "2" mean?

ANSWERA “typical” team record goes in order of wins-loses-ties. So your team’s record has two ties. However, you might want to confirm this with your coach.


QUESTION: What is the best officials bag? I see a lot of officials with the rolling ones but can’t seem to find the best one.

ANSWERBags can be very similar to skates in the sense that there are many different options for many different preferences among officials. Some officials like wheeled bags since they are easy to move from Point A to Point B. However, some officials just prefer to carry their bags. Some officials want traditional “Referee Bags”, and others will search luggage stores for black bags that are designed for travel but work in the locker room too.

Durability seems to be one of the biggest factors that most officials look for. Are the zippers and stitching a good quality? Do the wheels seem rugged, or will they wear out quick? Is there any type of warranty on the bag if a handle or wheel breaks?

The choice is up to you.


QUESTION: At what age does USA Hockey require not just recommend mouth-guards? Does Canada have the same requirements?

ANSWERUnder standard USA Hockey Playing Rules, mouthpieces are required at the “12  & Under” and above (both girls and boys). Therefore, they are not required at 10U hockey.

We cannot comment on Hockey Canada Rules at this forum. However, a quick online search of the HC Rulebook and you should find your answer.


QUESTION: Both teams full strength, one team doesn't put all five skaters on the ice before puck is dropped for a face-off in that team's defensive zone, coach gets his player on the ice after the face-off is done, the puck comes to that player, he skates it in to the offensive zone and scores, does this count?

ANSWERRule 629(e) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

“Play shall be stopped and the face-off conducted at the last play face-off location anytime a team starts play with fewer players than entitled to and the additional entering player is the first to play any puck coming from his defending zone, unless he has first made skate contact with his defending zone.”

Therefore, if a team starts play with fewer players than they are entitled to, they may add the additional player immediately and that player is eligible to enter the play with the one restriction listed above.


QUESTION: If i misplaced my card and crest for the season, is there any possible way i could get new ones?

ANSWERAll USA Hockey Officials may purchase an additional or replacement Crest by following the instructions posted below,

Please send a check or money order for Five Dollars ($5.00), Payable to: USA Hockey Officiating Program to:

USA Hockey Inc.
Attn: Helen Fenlon
1775 Bob Johnson Drive
Colorado Springs, CO  80906

Please add a letter of request that includes:
-  Your USA Hockey Officiating Number
-  Your mailing address
-  Contact information (email, phone #, etc.)

PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH. Additionally, there is no online process and we will not accept credit card information. Once we receive your request and replacement fee we will be happy to send you a new Crest.

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

2021-22 ATO | WEEK 9

By USA Hockey 10/01/2021, 6:15am MDT

This week’s features: Displaced goals, Serving penalties, Serving suspensions, and more...

QUESTION: What are some rules about injuries caused during play?

ANSWERThis question is very vague and difficult to answer. Generally speaking, not every injury results in a penalty. A player could be body checked using perfectly legal technique (stick down, torso-to-torso, etc.), and the contact may result in the opponent falling to the ice and getting injured.

Furthermore, defining an "injury" is similarly difficult. Some injuries are obvious, but others (such as concussions) may not show symptoms immediately. A player may leave the game for a shift, or they may leave for the remainder of the game. In most cases, there's no real objective way of knowing how bad an "injury" is.

This the main basis for the 2021-25 Playing Rules change that replaced "injury" with "reckless endangerment" with regard to contact and what constitutes a major plus game misconduct penalty. Now the game officials can judge the actions of the player vs. trying to predict the affect of an "injury".  


QUESTION: Player A1 slashes player B1 and the referee signals a delayed penalty. Player A1 then slashes player B2. Would player A1’s penalty time be a double-minor or two separate penalties causing a 5 v. 3?

ANSWERSince both minors to Team A are on the same player (A1), then Team A would play 5 vs. 4 for four minutes.


QUESTION: For a Checking-from-behind penalty, how long should the player be in the penalty box? We realize it is a 2 and a 10, but when is the ten minutes started? We could not find it on the website that states penalty times and how long the player shall remain in the box. Does the ten minutes start after the two minutes is over it does it start immediately?

ANSWERIf a player receives a Minor and Misconduct penalty he must serve the entire twelve minutes (2+10) consecutively. The additional player his team must place in the box is serving the shorthanded time (not the Minor itself). Since the Minor penalty must be served first (and posted on the penalty clock) the additional player is in the box so their team will have someone available to leave the penalty box and enter the game at the end of the Minor.

If the opposing team scores during the shorthanded Minor penalty time, the Minor is immediately terminated and the Misconduct penalty begins. In other words, the player who received the penalties will be released at the first whistle after ten minutes after the goal.


QUESTION: Is a youth player serving a suspension for a match penalty allowed to be in the locker room during games/practices or does the definition of participation in USA hockey games/practices only include the ice? Can they be on the player bench?

ANSWERStrictly speaking the USA Hockey National Office does not handle discipline questions. However, Rule 405 is very clear that a player who receives a Match penalty is suspended from “USA Hockey activity” until a disciplinary hearing is held. This means until the hearing the player may not have any contact with their team including practices, the team bench, locker room, or meetings.


QUESTION: I wanted to know if the puck is in the net and then a player from either team knocks the goal post off is it still considered a goal? Also if the net is already off and the whistle wasn’t blown does that goal count?

ANSWERRule 610(e) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“Play shall be stopped immediately when the goal frame has been displaced from its normal position.”

If the puck enters the goal prior to the goal frame being displaced, then the goal should be awarded. However, if the officials are 100% certain the goal frame was displaced prior to the puck completely crossing the goal line (regardless of when any whistle occurred) then the goal must be disallowed.


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