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2022-23 ATO | WEEK 12

By USA Hockey Officiating Program, 11/18/22, 6:45AM MST


QUESTIONAn attacking player was leaving his attacking zone while the puck was in the neutral zone. He skated to the nearest bench door, which was in the attacking zone he was in, and made no effort to play the puck. Simultaneously, his substitution came onto the ice in the neutral zone (the other door of the bench) and carried the puck on-side into the attacking zone. But, the player leaving the ice still had a skate in the attacking zone and was not completely off the ice. Is this offside?

ANSWER: Since the retiring attacking player still had one foot on the ice in the attacking zone when the attacking team entered the attacking zone with the puck, this play is considered off-side.


QUESTIONThe local men's league is contemplating playing "4 vs. 4" due to the small number of players in the league. Are there any USA Hockey restrictions to this happening and any particular rule changes referees should know?

ANSWERStrictly speaking, there is no rule in the USA Hockey Playing Rules that states the game must be played 5 v. 5. Additionally, USA Hockey introduced a rule change in 2017 permitting "4 v. 4" Overtime. Therefore, there is no real reason an Adult League cannot play entire games "4 v. 4", with all USA Hockey Adult Level Playing Rules in effect.

With that said, you will want to give your Referee Assignor a head’s up regarding this league change so the game officials can get familiar with "4 v. 4" Overtime playing Rules as they pertain to penalties, on-ice strength and adjustments.


QUESTIONPlayer is in his attacking zone and steps on puck, but does not freeze it along boards or otherwise rather scoots back and forth 5 to 10 feet keeping the puck moving with skate on top of puck. Would this be considered puck out of play, delay of game or nothing?

ANSWER: This question is difficult to answer objectively without seeing the actual play. However, the general “spirit and intent” of the “Delay of Game” rule is to penalize a player who covers the puck, picks the puck up from the ice or otherwise makes the puck unplayable to an opponent. If the opponent has a fair opportunity to gain possession of the puck then no penalty should be assessed.


QUESTIONWhen working the clock in the penalty box, are you permitted to engage a player to ask them to adhere to the Code of Conduct (i.e. a player enters the box cursing and slamming the door and they are asked by the parents running the box "please don't curse")?

ANSWER: The Timekeeper or Penalty Box Attendant can certainly ask a player to calm down but they might not get the results they want due to the emotions of the player and that player’s viewpoint of some random parent telling them “Please don’t curse”. It’s not really the Off-ice Officials’ job to reprimand and manage players. If the player is behaving completely out of control then that behavior can be reported to the On-ice Officials who will manage the situation either throuwgh verbal warning or penalties.


QUESTIONA goalie covers up a loose puck and the referee blows the whistle for a stoppage of play. An opposing player immediately uses his stick in an attempt to hit the covered up puck and hits the goalie in his mask instead. What penalty should be called?

ANSWER: This action should be penalized for Slashing. A player may not make any stick contact with the goalkeeper after the whistle.


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