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Looking Ahead To The 2019-20 Season

By USA Hockey, 05/24/19, 2:15PM MDT


The successful 2018-19 season has come to an end and USA Hockey is already preparing for the 2019-20 season. To better accommodate officials, we are expanding our registration period and offering additional opportunities for officials to fulfill the needed requirements. USA Hockey is also continuing its leadership role in player safety, including enhanced SafeSport requirements. In addition, during our upcoming Annual Congress in early June, discussion will include efforts to change the culture of body-checking in youth hockey and create a safer environment on the ice. Let’s take a look at some of the changes to expect for the coming season.

The first significant change you will notice is to the registration season itself. Through guidance from the District Referees-in-Chief, we will run seminars throughout the summer to create more opportunities for officials to become registered. This season, registration for officials will open on May 28 with the first seminars being available in some areas the first weekend in June. All registration requirements now must be completed by March 15 the following year, although your current card/crest is still good until November 30.

Massachusetts District Referee-in-Chief Kevin Donovan presents the USA Hockey Officiating Program to a Level 1 Referee Classroom Seminar

USA Hockey has been working hard to look at new ways to streamline the actual registration and testing process, so you may see some changes to how you register online and access your open book exams. The key to successfully navigate through the process this season is to pay close attention to instructions provided.

New “tenured” officials program
The 2019-20 season brings the start of USA Hockey’s “tenured” officials program with the creation of the Advanced Officiating Symposium. The tenured officials program is designed to reward those officials who have been dedicated to USA Hockey for many seasons and have made the commitment to attend the Advanced Officiating Symposium. As a result of completing the symposium, tenured officials will have reduced registration requirements for as long as they continue to register with USA Hockey as an official. You can learn more about the tenured officials program and Advanced Officiating Symposium at

SafeSport training and awareness
Finally, as it relates to registration, events that have occurred in the sports world over the last decade or two have changed the landscape on awareness of abusive or inappropriate behavior. All members of USA Hockey have an obligation to recognize and report situations where a participant is abused or does not feel safe. The United States Congress and the U.S. Olympic Committee have both enacted legislation that requires all National Governing Bodies to ramp up SafeSport training and awareness. Specifically for the USA Hockey Officiating Program, it means any official born prior to 2003 is required to complete SafeSport online training this season as part of their registration process. As mandated to USA Hockey, a SafeSport refresher course will then become an annual requirement, as well.

Body-checking and unsportsmanlike behavior
On the ice side of things, those involved with player development, coaching and officiating have been working hard to create an initiative that will better define competitive contact and legal body-checking. USA Hockey is committed to creating a safe environment on the ice, and coaches, officials and players all play a role in promoting a strong culture of respect and fair play.

Stay tuned for more information on the Fair Play and Respect Initiative on over the summer months and through your online seminar curriculum and seminars.

USA Hockey is proud to have you as a member of the officiating program and welcomes your questions regarding the changes outlined above. Best wishes for a great summer and successful start to your 2019-20 hockey season, whenever that may be.