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2018-19 ATO Season: Week 9

By USA Hockey, 11/02/18, 6:15AM MDT


QUESTION: So if the puck goes into the net and is starting to be covered by the goalie but the whistle did not blow. Is it OK for the ref to call off the goal if he starts to bring up his whistle but doesn't blow it before the puck goes in the net.

ANSWER: Casebook Situation #3 under Rule 632 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“The puck is outside the crease and the goalkeeper, who is lying on the ice after making a save, reaches out and partially covers the puck with his glove. What happens if the Referee is satisfied that the goalkeeper has enough control to cause a stoppage, but before he can get his whistle to his mouth the puck is shot into the goal? Goal or no goal?
No goal. Rule Reference 632(a).
As soon as the Referee decides that play should be stopped, that is when play is stopped. Whether or not the puck enters the goal in the split second it takes between the time he has reached that decision and the time it takes to bring the whistle to his mouth and blow it is not a factor.”

QUESTION: Is there a review board available for a hockey referee cussing out a youth hockey player in a game?

ANSWER: All USA Hockey Officials are expected to act within the guidelines of the USA Hockey Code of Conduct for Officials. This code is listed in the Rule Book that all officials receive.
If a USAH official was exhibiting detrimental conduct on the ice he/she should be reported to the Local or State Supervisor of Officials or District Referee-in-Chief in your area. These hard-working volunteer USAH Representatives are in the best position to handle these situations due to the rapport they have with local hockey associations and officiating groups. Contact information can be found by using the respective links under the Officiating Directory link under the OFFICIALS tab at

QUESTION: Team A receives a minor penalty. At the puck drop, the official does not see that Team A still has five players on the ice. The coach from Team A points this out to the linesman after the play has started and play is stopped. Should this have been a penalty?

ANSWER: The officials are responsible for ensuring the proper number of players are on the ice before dropping the puck. Therefore, if they accidentally drop the puck with too-many-players on one team they should immediately stop play and correct the line-up without a penalty. 

QUESTION: A player has just been called for a high-sticking penalty. That player proceeds to the penalty box, and the player who was hit with stick skates over to the offending player receiving the high sticking penalty and decides to yell at her (initiating a scuffle). Just curious if this player could have been warranted a penalty?

ANSWER: In the case where any player commits an infraction of Rule 601 (Abuse of Officials and Other Misconduct) or 615 (Fighting) they should be penalized appropriately regardless if the infraction was in response to another infraction of the rules.

QUESTION: How old does an official need to be in relation to the team age group for which he/she is officiating?

ANSWER: USA Hockey does not have any age restriction policies regarding registration or the assignment process. However, they do provide recommendations to the hundreds of Local Officials Associations across the country that are ultimately responsible for assigning our 25,000 registered officials to games.
These recommendations advise all assignors to avoid scheduling an official to work games that involve players of the same age. These recommendations are simply guidelines offered by USA Hockey based on the experience and knowledge of the USA Hockey Officiating Program and its thirteen volunteer District Referees-in-Chiefs, and no officiating organization or Local Scheduler is required to follow them. All Local Officials Organizations are free to develop their own polices regarding the assignment process and therefore the National Office generally recommends people to contact their USA Hockey Local Supervisor of Officials to get further clarification into the scheduling practices in their areas.