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2022-23 ATO | WEEK 9

By USA Hockey Officiating Program, 10/28/22, 6:15AM MDT


QUESTION: If a player turns his/her back before a player makes contact and as a result is injured from the body contact, what is the ruling? Does the ruling change if it is deemed unintentional?

ANSWER: Under the USA Hockey Body Checking Standard of Play initiative, all players are expected to maintain control of their body when they execute body checks. Therefore, if an opponent turns their back to a player just before contact then all Checking from Behind penalty interpretations would still apply to the contact.


QUESTIONReferring to USA Hockey's Zero-Tolerance Policy, my question is what if the offender is not with a team or neither team claims the offender? What if it is a tactic if Team A is ahead near the end of the game and the offender is a supporter of Team A and they are attempting to run the clock down for the win? How can it be proven that the offender is with a team if neither team "claims" the offender?

ANSWER: The situation you propose is extremely unlikely to ever happen. When you think of the spirit and intent of the USA Hockey Zero Tolerance Policy, it’s to manage a spectator who has become a detriment to the game. Which means something during the game has gone unfavorably for that spectator and their behavior is displaying their displeasure. One would think that by the time the game officials have determined that the spectator needs to leave, they have already figured out who the spectator is with (why would a spectator with no involvement in the game reach that point?). Odds are, he/she has complained about penalties, non-penalties, off-sides calls and other parts of the game which displays which team that spectator is with.


QUESTIONWhat penalty (or penalties) would be assessed to a team that deliberately tackles a goaltender who is vacating the net for an extra attacker (let's assume the team is losing towards the end of the game)? Let's assume the team that pulled the goaltender has already sent the extra attacker on the ice. Would the team with the extra attacker be assessed a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty if the goaltender, who has been tackled, is still on the ice?

ANSWERIn your situation, the team that tackled the goalkeeper would be assessed the appropriate penalties under USA Hockey Rule 625, Rule 622, Rule 640 or Rule 601.

Since a team is required to wait until the goalkeeper is at the bench and out of play to make the player substitution, it’s very unlikely that they would send the player before the opponent’s tackle the goalkeeper.


QUESTIONIf there are coincidental minor penalties, how do you determine whether teams play full strength or four on four? I could've sworn I've seen both conditions.

ANSWERRule 402.f in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“When an equal number of minor penalties (coincidental) are assessed to players from both teams, the penalized players shall take their place on the penalty bench and immediate substitution will take place for an equal number of minor penalties. The penalized players shall not leave the penalty bench until the first stoppage of play following the expiration of their penalties. Additional minor penalties assessed at the same stoppage that are not considered coincidental minor penalties shall be served in the normal manner."

Taking this rule into consideration, the teams remain at 5 vs. 5 if coincidental penalties are assessed.


QUESTION: In the league I currently work in, we need to count body checks per team, but if there is an illegal check (interference, boarding, charging etc...), do we count them as a body check? 

ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules are not a guidebook for tracking statistics during games (considering how many different possible types of statistics a team could possibly track). Therefore, you will have to consult online resources for how professional hockey stats are tracked.


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