QUESTION: Who determines if a player is injured, the Referee or the injured player's Head Coach or Trainer? Should the Injured player be allowed to remain on the bench or be required to leave the game?
ANSWER: Since almost all game officials are not medical professionals, USA Hockey instructs them to use their best judgment while determining whether a player is injured, and always error on the side of caution. Ultimately, it is the decision of the player and team staff to determine if the player should remain in a game. The best an official can do is make note of any "irregular behavior" and bring this to the coach's attention (and it would be very wise to record and file this incident in a summary email report to the Local Supervisor of Officials).
QUESTION: In the offensive zone, is a player allowed to use his hands while the puck is on the ice to hold it for himself (essentially, he covered the puck with his hand and moved it to himself after he fell)?
ANSWER: Rule 618.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“Play shall be stopped and a last play face-off shall occur anytime a player (except the goalkeeper) closes his hand on the puck and does not immediately drop the puck to the ice.
A minor penalty for delay of game shall be assessed to any player, other than the goalkeeper, who picks the puck up from the ice with his hand(s) while play is in progress.
A penalty shot/optional minor penalty shall be awarded to the non-offending team anytime a defending player, other than the goalkeeper, picks the puck up off the ice with his hand or holds the puck while play is in progress and the puck is in the goal crease. If this infraction occurs while the goalkeeper has been removed from the ice and prevents and obvious and imminent goal, a goal shall be awarded to the non-offending team.”
The “spirit and intent” of this rule is to keep the puck in play at all times and prevent a player from making the puck “unplayable by an opponent” by covering it.
QUESTION: While in Team A’s defensive zone, a player on Team A blocks a shot by a player on Team B. The puck hits an un-padded part of the body and the player immediately falls to the ice with an obvious injury. The official allows play continue while the injured player lies on the ice unable to move. Team B then gains possession of the deflected puck and proceeds to score a goal. Should the goal be allowed?
ANSWER: Rule 206.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“When a player is injured or compelled to leave the ice during a game, he may retire from the game and be replaced by a substitute under the player substitution rules.
When a player is injured and is unable to continue play or go to his bench, play shall be stopped immediately unless the opposing team is in possession of the puck, in which case play shall not be stopped until a change of possession has occurred.
In the case where it is obvious that a player has sustained a serious injury, the Referee and/or Linesman may stop the play immediately."
QUESTION: During a game, a team received their third consecutive penalty and the ref made the team play three players short. I always thought during my playing career that the third player (even though in the penalty box at time of penalty) would not start until the oldest penalty expired or a goal was scored.
ANSWER: Rule 408.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“If a third player shall be penalized while two players of the same team are serving non-coincidental penalties, he shall proceed to the penalty bench immediately and may be replaced by a substitute on the ice. However, the penalty time of the third player shall not begin until the first such penalty has expired.”
QUESTION: Can a team forfeit in the middle of a game? We just played a game today and we were winning 3-0. With five minutes left in the third period, the other team got up off the bench and said they were forfeiting. Our coaches and the refs tried to get them to finish the game, but the coach from the other team said our kids were too big.
ANSWER: Rule 633.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“With both teams on the ice, after the game has started, a team for any reason refuses to play after being ordered to do so by the Referee, the Referee shall warn the Captain and allow the team 15 seconds to resume play.
A bench minor penalty for delay of game shall be assessed to the offending team who still refuses to start play and if the same team refuses to continue play, the Referee shall suspend the game and assess a match penalty to the responsible Team Official(s).”
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