skip navigation

2022-23 ATO | WEEK 25

By USA Hockey Officiating Program, 02/17/23, 6:45AM MST


QUESTIONA goalie had his pant suspenders off his shoulders but attached to his pants (they were hanging off the back of his pants). The opposing coach was complaining about it. The goalie's jersey actually covered most of the suspenders you could barely see them. Is this an equipment violation?

ANSWERRule 304.h in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“All players must wear the required, or recommended, protective equipment in the manner for which it is designed.

For violation of this rule, following a team warning, a misconduct penalty for an equipment violation shall be imposed.”

Since suspenders are an optional piece of equipment, they must be worn properly or removed from the pants.


QUESTIONIt's near the end of a game, and a team pulls their goalie for a sixth skater on the ice. An official mistakenly calls "Illegal Substitution" (too many players). Where is the ensuing face-off located? This has happened twice in the last year, with the face-off being located at center ice in one case, and at the nearest face-off dot where the play was whistled dead in another case. 

ANSWERRule 612.b in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A last play face-off will take place in any instance where a stoppage of play occurs as a result of the actions of both teams or if play is stopped for any reason other than what is specified in the rules.”

Since there is no specific rule that dictates where the face-off should be located in your situation, the face-off shall located at the nearest “Last Play” face-off spot.



QUESTIONAre goalie masks with "cat-eye" style cages illegal under USA Hockey rules?

ANSWERRule 304.d in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“All players, including goalkeepers, in all age classifications below Adults, are required to wear a facemask certified by HECC, plus any chin protection that accompanies the facemask.”

At the Youth/Girls level, as long as the helmet and facemask each have a valid HECC Sticker, then the equipment is legal for use.


QUESTIONTeam A is short-handed. A Team A defenseman has possession of the puck in the neutral zone, skates backwards into his defensive end-zone, and stops with the puck in open ice. The defenseman is not pressured by anyone of Team B and is the only player in his zone. The Team A defenseman makes no effort to advance the puck and is deliberately wasting time to kill the penalty. The referee verbalizes to the defenseman to move the puck several times. Should a delay of game be called?

ANSWER: No, there is no rule in the USA Hockey Playing Rules that states a team must advance the puck up the ice.


QUESTIONA player shot the puck on net after the horn sounded to end the period. The officials assessed a misconduct, stating no minor penalty exists for this. The shot was absolutely avoidable, but was not a hard shot (I reviewed the video to confirm). The closest official was at the blue line while my player was about 10 ft. from the net, so there was clearly no attempt to prevent the official from retrieving the puck under 601(c). How should this have been called?

ANSWERRule 601.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

“A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed to any player who commits the following actions:

-  Challenges or disputes the rulings of any official.

-  Taunts or incites an opponent.

-  Creates a disturbance during the game.

-  Shoots the puck after the whistle, if in the opinion of the Official such shot was avoidable.


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