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2022-23 ATO | WEEK 14

By USA Hockey Officiating, 12/02/22, 6:45AM MST


QUESTION: Is it legal to get the puck and ice it the whole game? That’s what my kid's coach did.

ANSWER: There are no USA Hockey Playing Rules that address intentional icing, and there are no limits to how many times a team may ice the puck during a game.


QUESTIONOur game started with 6 players. We were assessed coincidental penalties. We could not have 5 v. 5 so the referee made us forfeit the game. Why wouldn't he just had us do 4 v. 4 instead?

ANSWER: In the situation you present, the opposing team with a full roster is not obligated to play one player short. So the option would be to force you to play one player short (5 v. 4) with no “icing the puck” privileges.

That being said, if this is Adult Rec. Hockey and the opposing team agrees to play 4 v. 4 then there’s no harm in doing that.


QUESTIONCalling a delayed penalty on Team A #10. At the stoppage, the same player (Team A #10) gets into a scrum with two opponents from Team B. Team A #10 received the original minor penalty (High-sticking), and an additional minor (Roughing) after the whistle. Team B #6 received a minor penalty (Roughing), and Team B #8 received a minor penalty (Roughing). What is the on-ice strength?

ANSWER: Since the USA Hockey Playing Rules dictate that an equal number of minors on each team assessed during one stoppage shall cancel, and you have two minors on each team in this situation, all players will serve their penalties but play shall remain 5 v. 5. Team A #10 will return to the ice at the first stoppage after four minutes, and Team B’s #6 and #8 will return at the first stoppage after two minutes.


QUESTIONI obtained Level 3 status prior to leaving for college. While in out-of-state college I did not register, but planned on doing this when I came home for Christmas. Do I start the process all over again at Level 1 or remain Level 3?

ANSWER: Assuming you enter your number as a returning official during USAH Membership Registration, the online system will tell you what level you are eligible for based on the Registration Rules of the USA Hockey Officiating Program.

With that said, your level will not automatically drop because your membership lapsed. Assuming you are registered the pervious season, you can begin current-season registration after November 30 and be eligible for both your current and upper level.


QUESTIONCan linesman call any penalties if the referee in a three-official system doesn’t react to the play? If not, can a linesman call penalties that are behind the play?

ANSWERRule 503(d) & (e) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“(d) The Linesman shall stop play and report to the Referee any infraction of the following rules:

- Too many players on the ice (Rule 205.b).

- Articles thrown on the ice from the vicinity of the players’ or penalty bench (Rule 601.b.4).

- Delaying the game by deliberately displacing the goal post (Rule 610.c).

(e) The Linesman shall report to the Referee at the next stoppage of play his version of any infraction of the rules that he believes constitutes a bench minor, major, match, misconduct, game misconduct or penalty shot under these rules. In addition, the Linesman shall give his version of any Injury Potential Penalty (see Glossary) that occurs behind the play and is not observed by the Referee. The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a penalty for such infractions.”


The USA Hockey Playing Rules are now available as a mobile device app! Check your Apple, Android, or Windows app store to download this playing rule app free of charge.

Check out the USA Hockey mobile-friendly online rulebook application! Enter into your mobile device’s web browser to gain instant access to the USA Hockey Playing Rules (must have mobile or internet service).

The USA Hockey Playing Rules Casebook and other educational material can be found under the OFFICIALS tab at