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2022-23 ATO | WEEK 20

By USA Hockey Officiating Program, 01/13/23, 6:30AM MST


QUESTIONMy son took a minor penalty for checking from behind in the last five minutes of the game. Is he then suspended for the next game?

ANSWERRule 608.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

“A minor plus a misconduct penalty, or a major plus a game misconduct penalty, shall be assessed for checking from behind.”

A misconduct penalty does not mandate any suspension. Therefore, if a player receives a minor plus misconduct penalty they are not required to sit-out any games. This assumes, the games follow strict USA Hockey Playing Rules. Your tournament or league may have stronger rules regarding suspensions and discipline and we encourage you to check with your league or tournament committee.


QUESTION: A player is fouled from behind on a breakaway. The goalkeeper touches puck just as fouled player slides into him, sending puck into net before the official can blow his whistle. A goal was awarded. Should a penalty shot have been awarded, instead?

ANSWER: This question is very difficult to answer without seeing the play firsthand. With that being said, an attacking player may not “knock” the goalkeeper and puck into the goal. If the official determines that the goalkeeper has sufficient control of the puck to stop play then they should stop play. However, if the attacking player knocks the puck into the goal before the goalkeeper can gain control of the puck, then the goal should be allowed and the penalty should be recorded but not served.


QUESTIONI did a game and the timekeeper used foul language towards a player in the penalty box. What would have been the best thing we could have done?

ANSWER: All Off-ice Officials are expected to abide by the USA Hockey Code-of-Conduct for Officials. Therefore, if an Off-ice Official acts unprofessionally then the On-ice Officials must remove them from their position and replace them as quickly as possible.


QUESTIONShould the play stop to check for concussion in a game when the goaltender is hit in the face mask with a slap shot?

ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules do not mandate an immediate stoppage when a goalkeeper is hit in the head with a puck. This is no different than a player receiving a Head Contact hit (while the penalty will be called, play will continue until the offending team gains possession and control of the puck).


QUESTIONDuring a game a player from the visiting team breaks a skate blade. He climbed into the opposing team's bench to get off the ice. The player is replaced by a player from his team. Should this have been a penalty, or just a stoppage of play?

ANSWER: Since all player substitutions must occur through the team bench by way of the ice, this play would result in a minor penalty for illegal substitution.


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