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Record number of rinks set to host Try Hockey For Free

By Jayson Hron - USA Hockey, 11/10/16, 10:00AM MST


Wisconsin leads the nation in Nov. 2016 host sites

Data from the Cheese Reporter and USA Hockey indicates that production of both cheese and hockey players is rising in Wisconsin. The former is attributable to overwhelming demand for Wisconsin’s delicious dairy; the latter is attributable, in part, to the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association’s appetite for a signature USA Hockey event that happens each November and February – Try Hockey For Free Day.

Record Numbers

A record-setting 499 sites are scheduled to host THFF in 49 states this Saturday. Sixty-three of those will be in America’s Dairyland, ranking Wisconsin’s THFF efforts at the same lofty status as its cheese production – No. 1 in the nation. Arriving there was no accident.

“The conversation started three or four years ago,” said Jeremy Gesicki, a WAHA vice president. “Wisconsin has produced elite hockey players, but if we want to produce more elite hockey players, we need more hockey players in Wisconsin. We needed to do more to develop the base. So we devoted ourselves to growing youth hockey and emphasizing player development at all levels, not just the top, and Try Hockey For Free fit perfectly with those plans.”

According to Gesicki, the turn-key nature of THFF helps make it great, especially in associations that lack a large roster of helping hands.

“The volunteer resource can be a big challenge,” he said. “But Try Hockey For Free comes with a ready-made tool kit and USA Hockey does the heavy lifting with promotion, which makes it easy on volunteers.”

Gesicki, who is also a USA Hockey-certified Level 5 coach in Sauk Prairie, hears a steady stream of success stories from host associations and rinks throughout Wisconsin.

“So many different associations, large and small, speak to how impactful it’s been and how many new families have come to their programs as a result of Try Hockey For Free,” he said. “It definitely makes it easier to bring new kids and new families to hockey.”

Of all the success stories, however, it’s a THFF visual that serves as the best testament to the initiative’s value.

“I’ve watched parents beam with smiles as their child learns a new skill,” said Gesicki. “And that’s been absolutely fabulous.”

NOTES: Parents and guardians can find the Try Hockey location closest to them and register children between the ages of 4 and 9 years old to participate by visiting … Entering its seventh season, USA Hockey's national Try Hockey For Free Days have introduced more than 115,000 children to the sport ... Try Hockey For Free Day is part of Come Play Hockey Month, a component of the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone program, which provides children of all backgrounds the opportunity to play hockey. The nation's hockey community and United States-based NHL clubs, players, alumni and fans will support Come Play Hockey Month with a full slate of activities, including the NHL Sled Classic, which will be held Nov. 17-20 at the Nashville Predators' Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee ... Join the conversation and post your photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #TryHockey

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QUESTIONGoalie goes to the corner to play the puck, but turns the puck over to an attacking player. The goalie then body-checks the attacking player. Is this a penalty?”

ANSWERRule 640.f in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:

A minor penalty shall be assessed to any goalkeeper who body checks an opponent.


QUESTIONAfter the whistle, Player A and Player B are jawing at each other. Player Red-A drops their gloves, looking to provoke a fight. Player B does not reciprocate, and Player A does not throw a punch. Referees step in the middle and separate the players. What penalty should be assessed to Player A, considering they seemed to be intending on fighting and attempted to provoke one, but did not actually throw a punch?

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.”


QUESTIONWhat can an official do if a game will exceed the scheduled ice time? Rink management has no time to finish the game and no local league rule address this. Can you apply Rule 636.e and suspend the game?

ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules are written with the expectation that all games will be scheduled with enough ice time for completion. That is why you will find no reference about “Running Clocks”, “Mercy Rules”, or other time management devices. However, sometimes games are delayed or not enough ice time is purchased. In this case, the Rink Management is under no obligation to allow the game to continue if they have committed the next slot of ice to another customer.

Therefore, the Game Officials will have to work with the Team Officials to decide how to manage the result. In some cases, the game will be just a Rec-League friendly match and the final score is meaningless. However, the case of League Games or games involving “Tournament Bound” teams will need a resolution. In this case, the teams should not be allowed to select the final result (due to potential conflict of interest). The Game Officials will have to suspend the game and submit a report to the governing league or entity so they can decide the final result which will affect league standings. From there, it’s in the hands of the league to decide.


QUESTIONA goalie has altered and cut a deep "V" notch into the top of the paddle of his goal stick, on the back-side, approx 1" down from where the shaft of the stick and flat part of the paddle meet. The goalie has taped this area up to cover sharp edges? All other stick measurements are within legal standards. Is this stick legal to play with?

ANSWER: Provided the alterations to the stick do not make the stick’s dimensions illegal under Rule 301 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules and all rough or sharp edges have been covered to prevent injury to players, there should be nothing to prevent this stick from being used in a game. The USAH Playing Rules do not mandate that a goalkeeper’s stick-paddle must be completely straight-edged.


QUESTIONPlayer A loses his stick on the ice and play continues. A short while later as Player A goes to retrieve his stick, Player B uses his skate to move the stick out of the way using a kicking motion. Normally, this is a straightforward Interference penalty. In this case, when Player A picks the stick up as the penalty is being reported, the stick is unplayable as it is broken. Does that change the scenario?

ANSWER: In your situation, the fact that the stick was broken does not affect the call.


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).

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