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Registration Rules & Policies


Submission of USA Hockey Officiating Program membership applications for the 2022-23 Season begins on June 1, 2022 and ends after December 31, 2022.

All 2022-23 membership registrations must be completed by 11:59pm MT, February 28, 2023. No referee cards and sweater crests will be issued after this date. 

Membership is valid for the entire season in any district or state in the United States, and membership within any local officials association or local hockey league is not required for USA Hockey Officiating Program membership.

Minimum/Maximum Ages

USA Hockey has no minimum or maximum ages for officials. It is highly recommended that, regardless of level attained, officials not work games of their own age classification or higher. Generally, officials can successfully officiate as young as age 10. However, some individual states do have restrictive child labor laws that do not exempt amateur sport officials. It is the obligation of the parent who registers a minor to determine the specific labor laws in their respective state prior to registering with USA Hockey.

New Officials (Never Been Registered)

All persons who have never registered with USA Hockey as an Ice Hockey Official must register at Level 1 for the first season. All registration requirements must be completed, and you must have your Card and Crest in hand before you may accept assignments.

Returning Officials

Returning officials may apply for one level higher than their completed registration level the previous season. Officials are allowed to take one season as "unregistered" or "incomplete" and return at the same level they were last completely registered at with the exception of Level 4. Level 1 completely registered officials are allowed to take one season off and still be eligible for Level 2 the following season. The level that each returning official is eligible for is designated on the online officiating application.

An official who is 16 years-old (or older) at the time current-season Membership Registration opens, and has completed two (or more) seasons of officiating registration, must register as a Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4 based on eligibility.

If an official is 16 years-old (or older) at the time current season Membership Registration opens, and has completed two (or more) seasons of officiating registration, fails to meet Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4 registration requirements and completes as a Level 1, they must register as a Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4 official the following season.

Once the online Membership Registration application has been submitted to the National Office, an official cannot change the registration level they have applied for.


More information pertaining to these steps is posted below.






​​​​​​​*Level 3 Tenured Officials must attain an Open Book Exam score of 45/50.



​​​​​​​*Level 4 Tenured Officials must attain an Open Book Exam score of 45/50.



  • Must complete online Membership Registration
  • Must submit Registration Fee ($30.00)
  • Must complete SafeSport training (if 2005 Birth Year, or older)
  • Must complete and maintain a USA Hockey sanctioned criminal Background Screen if 18(+) years old on June 1, 2022.


An official may not change their Registration Level to a higher level once online Membership Registration is completed.

Taking a Closed Book Exam at a level higher than an official's level of Membership Registration will not satisfy their Closed Book Exam requirement (a Level 3 CB Exam will not complete Level 2 Registration). If a higher level exam is submitted, the exam will be rejected and the official will be "completed" as a Level 1 for the season.

"Complete" means that an official has met all the criteria (exams, seminars, online training, etc.) at the level for which he/she has applied.

"Incomplete" means that an official has filed an application but has not completed all the necessary criteria to be "complete" at any level.

A new official (not registered the previous year) may not officiate until he/she is completely registered. A returning official ("complete" the previous season) may not officiate after November 30 of the current season (expiration date on previous year's card) unless he/she is completely registered for the current season.

To be eligible to officiate in any State, Regional or National USA Hockey Championships, an official must be completely registered on or before December 31 of the current season. Only Level 4 officials will be eligible to referee National Championship games.

Open Book Playing Rules Exam

Each season all officials must complete an Open Book Playing Rules Exam.

Officials who do not receive the minimum passing score for their registration level, will be given access to a Re-take Exam and a new answer sheet. An official is only allowed one Re-take Exam per year. The Re-take Exam is available after a seven day waiting period (from submitting the first exam), and once available this re-take must be completed within 30 days. In the event that an official fails the exam twice, he/she will become completely registered at the highest level for which the re-take exam score would qualify.

Classroom Seminar Attendance

Attendance at a sanctioned USA Hockey Officials Classroom Seminar is required for all applicants, regardless of level.

This seminar will generally consist of both a classroom and ice session. However, some Level 3 and Level 4 seminars may only be a classroom session.

Classroom sessions may be offered in a "in-person" or "online virtual" classroom (via Zoom Meetings). Please make sure you read the seminar schedule carefully regarding what type of seminar is being offered.

At the seminar, every official and instructor in attendance must be sure to "check in" with the Seminar Coordinator to confirm attendance credit. The attendance form will be returned to the USA Hockey National Office for credit within 24 - 48 hours after the conclusion of the seminar.

NOTE: An official is not required to attend a seminar in their respective state or USA Hockey District. An official may attend any sanctioned seminar in any district and receive credit toward registration.

Level 4 Official applicants must attend a Level 4 specific seminar for proper credit.

Closed Book Playing Rule Exams

NEW FOR 2022-23 MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION: Closed Book Exams are no longer required for Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 officials.

Online Education Modules

All officials must complete online education regardless of level or experience.

Online Video Modules consists of a series of course categories (Required, Positioning, Penalty Criteria, etc.). All course categories must be completed to finish online training.

All modules within the Required and Elective categories must be completed. The Elective categories contain a menu of "elective" modules and an official must complete the required number of modules (e.g. 4 modules of 7 offered) within the category to complete the category.

There will be a short quiz at the end of each module that the official must pass to complete the module and continue with education. If the official does not pass the quiz, the module will reset and the official must complete the module again.

Returning Level 3 and Returning Level 4 officials may fast-forward through the Elective video modules to proceed directly to the quiz to complete the module. If they do not pass the quiz, they must complete the entire module again.

USA Hockey SafeSport Education Program

As part of USA Hockey's continued effort to create a safe playing environment for all participants, those officials who are a 2005 Birth Year or older at the beginning of the registration season are required to complete the online U.S. Center for SafeSport education program.

The online program is free of charge and is hosted on the U.S. Center for SafeSport web platform.


USA Hockey Background Screen

All officials who are 18(+) years-old or older by June 1 of the current year, must submit to a USA Hockey coordinated Criminal Background Screen. More information about screening can be found at this page.

Background screens are valid for two seasons, and no background screen performed by an outside entity or governing body will be accepted.

Scheduling of Games

Registration with the USA Hockey Officiating Program does not guarantee any official any game assignments.

Officials are responsible to obtain their own game assignments from Local Game Schedulers as designated in each District. Any game scheduler who assigns incompletely registered officials for games is subject to serious liability as he/she jeopardizes the insurance coverage of the officials and both teams involved. Whenever possible, only level-qualified officials should be assigned to games. Updated listings of currently registered officials are available from the District Referee-in-Chief on a regular basis.  

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