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2018-19 ATO Season: Week 15

By USA Hockey, 12/14/18, 6:15AM MST


QUESTION: I have a question specifically about sled hockey rules.

ANSWER: We encourage you to bring this question to Jeremy Kennedy (Manager of Disabled Hockey). As the coordinator of the Disabled Sled Festival and other sled hockey events he would be in the best position to clarify playing rules.

QUESTION: My son officiated games while my wife worked as an off-ice official. She informed a player that while they were in the penalty box they had to sit down. The player started to use profane comments toward her. At the break between periods she informed the coach and the referee of the comments and one of the referees said that “well there is a difference between obscene words and some should be treated more harshly than others”, the coach said “well, Ma’am, you know most of these kids are swearing on the ice.”.
So what exactly is the proper rule and interpretation of the rule? I have read rule 601 and I don’t see any delineation between different words that can be used, etc.

ANSWER: Rule 601(c)2 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“A misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player who commits the following actions:

  1. Persists in any conduct where they were previously assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  2. Using obscene, profane or abusive language to any person anywhere in the rink before, during or after the game.
  3. Intentionally knocking or shooting the puck out of the reach of an official who is retrieving it during a stoppage of play.
  4. Not proceeding directly and immediately to the penalty bench or to the dressing room, after being penalized and ordered to do so by the officials (equipment shall be delivered to him by a teammate, if necessary).
  5. Entering or remaining in the Referee’s Crease, unless invited to do so.
  6. Interfering in any non-physical manner with any Game Official including the Referee, Linesman, Timekeepers or Goal Judges in the performance of their duties.”

QUESTION: Is there a grievance process for submitting against officials?

ANSWER: We encourage you to contact your Local or State Supervisor of Officials and District Referee-in-Chief with this issue through your League or Local Hockey Association. These issues are generally better left to our local representatives due to the rapport they have established with the various officials, Local Officiating Associations (who schedule games), Hockey Associations and Leagues, and Hockey Directors. These relationships put them in the best position to quickly investigate matters and make decisions regarding any consequences.
Furthermore, we suggest filing your complaint through your local league due to the credibility it will carry, rather than sounding like an email from a grumpy player or parent who didn’t agree with how a game situation was handled. There might be other incidents on record for this official and with more information the league can make a strong case to prevent the official from working games in their league.
Contact information for your Local or State Supervisor of Officials and District Referee-in-Chief can be found by following the appropriate District link at the main District Directory webpage at the Officials section of

QUESTION: Our Bantams recently attended a tournament held  by a tournament chain which had only Level 1 referees for Squirt through Bantam levels. I’m not sure that it was a sanctioned tournament. What is the ruling for PeeWee and Bantam games and is this Level 1 acceptable for non sanctioned tournaments? 

ANSWER: USA Hockey provides game assignment guidelines for all assignors. However, USA Hockey does not oversee the assignment process of any officials. Assignors may use overall skill, judgment, attitude, and other criteria to assign officials to games. The Level System is simply a system to rank over 23,000 officials across the country, and it does not exactly measure skill level.

QUESTION: Is it a penalty when the opponent moves away the snow that the other teams goalie has accumulated around the perimeter of his net?

ANSWER: Rule 610(g) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,

"A minor penalty for delay of game shall be assessed to a goalkeeper who drops the puck into his pads or onto the goal net or deliberately piles up snow or obstacles near the goal that, in the opinion of the Referee, could prevent the scoring of a goal"

Since the piles of snow are illegal to begin with, there shouldn't be a penalty for removing them.