skip navigation

Week 10

By USA Hockey, 11/06/17, 2:45PM MST


QUESTION: What determines how a tie game is resolved? Sometimes I've seen a shootout, or 4 vs. 4, or both.

ANSWER: The resolution of tied games is typically dictated by the Local Hockey Association, League, or Tournament Committee governing the games. They may use overtime (5 v. 5, 4 v. 4, or 3 v. 3) or a shoot-out, or any combination of the listed options.

The important part is they must let the on-ice and off-ice officials know if the game must end with a winner before the game begins.

QUESTION: I am a youth hockey coach. Are there guidelines in the USA Hockey Rulebook that outline the amount of time a player MUST play during a game?

ANSWER: There is nothing in the USA Hockey Playing Rules that regards participation in a game. For more information about your issue we encourage you to contact your American Development Model (ADM) Regional Manager. The ADM is USA Hockey’s structure for long-term athlete development and building life-long passion in players. Contact information can be found by accessing

QUESTION: Are neck guards required for USA Hockey sanctioned tournaments?

ANSWER: Neck-guards are recommended but not required at any level of USA Hockey competition. However, local governing leagues and hockey associations can make their own rules that strengthen equipment rules. Therefore, we strongly suggest contacting them.

QUESTION: A player is called for Boarding. A minor plus a misconduct.  How is this penalty assessed and the time served?

ANSWER: If a player receives a Minor and Misconduct penalty he must serve the entire twelve minutes (2+10) consecutively. The additional player his team must place in the box is serving the shorthanded time (not the Minor itself). Since the Minor penalty must be served first (and posted on the penalty clock) the additional player is in the box so their team will have someone available to leave the penalty box and enter the game at the end of the Minor.

If the opposing team scores during the shorthanded Minor penalty time, the Minor is immediately terminated and the Misconduct penalty begins. In other words, the player who received the penalties will be released at the first whistle after ten minutes after the goal.

QUESTION: While officiating a game, my partner called a Tripping penalty. My view was obstructed and I did not get the number of the offender, and neither did my partner. We inquired of the offending team players and bench but no-one admitted to the foul. With no player to penalize, what is the correct procedure to deal with the called Tripping penalty?

ANSWER:  This situation is rare but it does happen to even experienced officials. The main concept to remember is that an opposing player had an opportunity taken away or suffered an injury potential infraction. The player who committed the infraction should be held accountable.

In most cases, it’s pretty simple for the official and coach to work this out,

Official: “Coach, one of your players slashed an opponent in the corner. You saw it, I saw it, the peanut vendors saw it. However, I lost the number. Who was it?"
Coach: “It was #9; I’ll send him over to the box.”
Official: “Thank you.”

In some cases, the penalty might be subtle and the coach might honestly not now who committed the infraction,

Official: “Coach, one of your players hooked their attacker in the slot area as he was trying to shoot. I lost the number, can you help me here?"
Coach: “There was too much traffic, I couldn’t see who it was.”
Official: “Well, it was someone on the ice. Why don’t we treat this one like a bench minor and give me someone who was on the ice at the time of the infraction.”
Coach: “Works for me, they’re tired and need a rest anyway. I’ll send someone over.”

In almost all cases, the official makes the correct call and identifies the correct player. However, sometimes players do get lost due to traffic, inexperience, missing jersey numbers, events occurring in the game, etc. Therefore, if the player cannot be identified then the coach is the place to start for help. However, coaches are talking to players, managing lines, and thinking about strategy. Sometimes they just don’t see the infraction. In this case, it just makes sense to identify a player who was on the ice when the infraction occurred (you have a 20% chance of being correct), instead of making a mockery of the playing rules and competition by allowing the coach to play games.