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You've Stepped on the Ice, Now Develop Hockey Sense

By USA Hockey Intelligym, 12/06/17, 7:15AM MST


San Jose Sharks forward Matt Nieto uses The Hockey Intelligym to help ensure his game is at the highest level.

Nieto first began using The Hockey Intelligym, which was developed to help teach hockey sense, back in 2009 when he was at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

“At the NTDP, we were the first team to use this program. We used the IntelliGym a few sessions a week and I immediately began to notice improvements in my game.  I was making smart, good, quick decisions on the ice. I’ll try anything if it helps improve my game and it certainly did.”

Hockey sense is one of the most important skills in the game, yet it’s the hardest to teach. The Hockey IntelliGym, a software-based cognitive tutor, is the standard in hockey sense training.

USA Hockey, in collaboration with Applied Cognitive Engineering, created the Hockey IntelliGym. It was originally developed by cognitive psychologists, computer engineers, and game theorists to develop precise instincts in military fighter pilots. Resembling a video game with cognitive scenarios similar to what players will experience on the ice, the IntelliGym trains the decision-making skills necessary to stay one step ahead of the puck and the game.

If you’re aspiring to continue to improve your game and do everything you can to better youself, Nieto suggests you try the Intelligym.

 “The IntelliGym has certainly helped me on the ice with making sharper, quicker decisions, especially with reading plays,” says the Long Beach, California, native, one of many NHLers that have used the Intelligym.  “I have noticed improvement in my game as a result of the program and look forward to progressing this year. “

For more information on the science and research behind The Hockey IntelliGym, and to take advantage of the unique opportunity , visit

USA Hockey members are entitled for 15% off by entering your registration number during the purchase process by visiting the shop

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2021-22 ATO | WEEK 15

By USA Hockey 11/12/2021, 6:15am MST

This week’s features: Facemasks and Age Levels...Officials' errors and face-off locations...Face-off procedures...and more.

QUESTION: Is there a specific facemask design that a 14U player must wear, as well as a 15U player?

ANSWER: Rule 304(c) & (d) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
(c) All players, including goalkeepers, in all age classifications except Adults, are required to properly wear a HECC approved helmet as designed by the manufacturer and with no alterations and chin strap properly fastened.
(Note) HECC certification includes an expiration date on the sticker and a helmet that has an expiration date that has expired is no longer considered certified. The player may not wear a helmet that does not have a valid and current certification sticker.
Players in the Adult classification must wear a hockey helmet (including non-HECC approved) with chin strap properly fastened.

All players on the players’ and the penalty bench must wear the protective helmet/facemask while in the bench area. For a violation of this rule, after a warning by the Referee, a misconduct penalty for an equipment violation shall be assessed to the offending player.
(d) 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.
(Note) Any helmet or facemask that is altered except as permitted in Rule 304(c) shall be deemed to be illegal equipment and shall not be allowed to be used in a game. The player, or such equipment, shall be removed from the game until corrected. (This shall include helmets from which a part has been cut or removed, facemasks from which the chin-cup has been removed or any other such alterations from the original manufacturing specifications.)

In other words, there is no type of helmet that is specifically “designed” for a specific age group. As long as the valid (check the date) HECC Sticker is present on the helmet, it is legal for play.


QUESTIONWhen a face-off is performed is it necessary for the puck to hit the ice between the two players before it can be touched, or can it be knocked out of the air before hitting the ice?

ANSWER: Situation 4 under Rule 613 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

The Linesman drops the puck and before it hits the ice, one of the centers hits the puck out of the air with the blade of his stick. Should the Linesman allow the play to continue?

Yes. Rule Reference 613(a).

As long as the player made a legal attempt to gain possession of the puck, the play shall be allowed to continue. If the Linesman had dropped the puck and it accidentally hit the stick or glove of either player facing-off, play must be immediately stopped and a new face-off conducted.


QUESTIONDoes a double-minor infraction count as one penalty or two? There was a game where a team earned either 14 or 15 penalties, depending on how many penalties a double-minor counts as. This difference would affect whether the coach receives a Game Misconduct or not.

ANSWER: Double-minor penalties are actually two separate minor penalties that are assessed at the same time under the Unnecessary Roughness rule. Therefore, they each count as a separate penalty (so two total).


QUESTION: The goalie makes a save during a scramble in front of the net. The referee is in the corner and loses sight of the puck, subsequently blowing his whistle. As he skates towards the net, he sees the puck is over the goal line, and now signals a goal. Does the referee need to see the puck crossing the goal line to award a goal? I don't think there was a way to determine whether the puck was already in the net, or if it ended up in the net after the whistle had blown.

ANSWER: If the official determines the puck entered the goal legally before the whistle was blown then the goal should be awarded. If he/she cannot determine 100% how the puck entered the goal, or confirm if it entered before the whistle, then the goal should be disallowed.


QUESTIONIf a defensive player completes a hand-pass entirely within the defensive zone and an official stops play in error since that play is legal, where should the face-off be?

ANSWER: This situation would result in a normal “last play” end-zone face-off in the defending zone.

Download the USA Hockey Mobile Rulebook App to your mobile device from your app store today!

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