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2020-21 ATO SEASON: WEEK 2

By USA HOCKEY, 09/11/20, 6:00AM MDT


QUESTION: Does High School hockey use different rules. My son had 1st games and boarding and head contacts were give just 2 minutes or 5 min penalties. No 2 in 10 or game misconducts. Is there a reason.

ANSWERWhile USA Hockey does sanction some High School teams and games, other games are governed under the National Federation of High Schools which has a different set of Playing Rules.


QUESTION: What is the age requirement for refs? Do you pair a younger ref with a senior/experienced ref?

ANSWERUSA Hockey has no minimum or maximum ages for officials.

Regardless of the official’s registration level, it is highly recommended that officials not work games of their own age classification or higher.  Generally, officials can successfully officiate as young as age 10.  However, some local areas do have minimum age requirements due to their State’s specific Child Labor Laws.  In this instance, you will need to contact your State or Local Supervisor of Officials or District Referee-in-Chief for specific information. Contact information can be found at the Directory page under the Officials banner at
Most Local Assignors do pair inexperienced officials with older veteran officials to start, however that question can only be answered by your Local Assignor (USAH does not assign games).


QUESTION: Can teams enter the ice before both the on-ice and off-ice officials arrive. If not what is the penalty. If so can a team enter 10-15 min before any officials arrive.

ANSWERStrictly speaking, the On-Ice Officials should enter the ice first. There is no penalty if teams do not follow protocol; it’s more of a common sense approach to game operations.

However, game officials base their pre-game preparation and entry onto the rink on game starting time. If the host team tells the officials one start time (7:00pm) and suddenly enter the ice early without telling the officials then there’s not much that the officials can do.


QUESTION: An American 12U team hosts a Canadian team. One American player got a ten-minute penalty when the referee noted his sideways mouth-guard. No Canadians were wearing mouth-guards. Are Americans subject to USA Hockey rules at home while the visiting Canadians can just abide by Hockey Canada rules when playing in the USA?

ANSWERPer an agreement made between USA Hockey and Hockey Canada, when a team from one country crosses the border to play a team from the other country they must play under the Playing Rules of the host governing body. However, both teams must follow the equipment regulations of their own governing body. Therefore, USA Hockey teams must wear mouthpieces while playing Canadian teams.


QUESTION: When both team A and Team B have a player in the penalty box, can either team be called for an icing since both teams are at even strength?

ANSWERIcing Rules are always in effect when the teams are playing at even-strength (5 v. 5, 4 v. 4, etc.).