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Tournament Rules & Requirements

Team Name Policy

Because USA Hockey’s website and social media platforms are visible to hockey fans of all ages (e.g. children of participants that go to the website to see if their mom or dad won that day), Pond Hockey team names must not be offensive to any particular group or individual. While we encourage and enjoy creativity, we will not post team names online that may be sexually suggestive, discriminatory, or harassing in any way. USA Hockey will review all team names and, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to reject any team name or modify any team name deemed offensive by either abbreviating or shortening the name. Thank you for your cooperation in being respectful to all hockey players and fans.

Team Dropout Policy

Teams who wish to withdraw from the tournament must do so before the Friday, December 8th deadline in order to receive a 75% refund. Teams that withdraw after December 7th, will forfeit their entry fee. 

You MUST contact the adult hockey department to process your cancellation.

Weather Cancellation Policy

The USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships is an outdoor event. By entering, you acknowledge that you will be playing on a natural, outdoor ice surface, and ice conditions are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Should the event be cancelled due to inclement weather or unsafe ice conditions as determined by the tournament director(s), teams confirmed into the tournament ONLY will receive a refund OR elect to rollover their entry into the 2025 USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships in the same division that they are currently registered (no exceptions).
This policy does not apply to waitlisted teams, who will need to register as normal for the 2025 event if they wish to enter. 

Refunds will not be issued if the event is moved to an alternate location. 



Tournament Rules

  • A current USA Hockey Registration is required to complete your tournament registration. 
  • All players must be current members of USA Hockey in order to participate. 
  • USA Hockey will not permit drone devices at the USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships.
  • All players are required to follow USA Hockey Adult level equipment recommendations; all players are required to wear a helmet designed for hockey (HECC approved). Helmets must include a chin-strap that shall be properly worn at all times.
  • All players must be 21 years of age by the start date of the tournament. Teams must also follow the additional age requirements for their respective division. Photo ID’s are required at check-in and will be checked throughout the event. Players unable to produce a photo ID, at any point, cannot participate until the ID is provided to a tournament director. 
  • Players may only play on one team in one division. NO EXCEPTIONS!!
  • All teams must arrive at the tournament site with light and dark game sweaters. Teams must wear color contrasting sweaters during games, and if a change must be made the visiting team shall be required to make the switch.
  • Minimum number of players on a team is four (4); maximum is seven (7). Teams must have four (4) players at the start of each game.
    • All teams must have at least 4 players ready to play at their scheduled game start time. If not the game clock will start and the offending team will be penalized one goal for each minute they are late. Should the offending team produce 4 players at any time during the first half the game will start at that point with the offending team down the appropriate deficit (i.e. five minutes late, game will begin at the 10 minute mark with the offending team down 5-0). If the offending team is not able to produce at least four players by the end of the first half, the game shall be declared a forfeit and the NON-OFFENDING team will be awarded a 15-0 victory.  
  • Prior to every game, each team will shovel/scrape one half of the rink.
  • The home team shall have first choice of which half of the ice to defend.
  • A center ice face-off will start each half. Each half will be fifteen (15) minutes in length. A five (5) minute warm-up is allowed before the game, and half-time will be five (5) minutes in length. All periods are “Running Time”.
  • Teams switch ends during the second half of the game.
  • Each team is allowed one time-out per game. All time-outs are one minute in length.
  • All goals must be scored from the attacking side of the center line.
  • After a goal, the team that scored will be required to wait on their defending side of the red line. The team that is scored upon must advance the puck up the ice immediately. Defending teams can engage the puck carrier once the puck crosses the center red line.
  • There is no offside or icing.
  • Penalties will be enforced.  Any minor penalty called, such as tripping or slashing, will result in a goal for the non-offending team plus change of puck possession. 
  • Any serious (major penalty) infractions will result in ejection from the game with no replacement.
  • Fighting is strictly prohibited. Any player that fights will be ejected from the tournament with no replacement.
  • No body-checking is allowed during games. Any intentional, overt, or reckless body contact will result in a penalty.
  • There are no slap-shots. If the stick rises above the knee in attempt of a shot or pass it will result in a change of puck possession.
  • There will be no lifting the puck above the knees; pucks that are intentionally raised above the knees will result in a change of puck possession.
  • Stick contact with the puck above the waist will result in a change of puck possession.
  • No use of goaltending equipment, with the exception of skates, shall be permitted.
  • A player may not lay his/her stick, drop to their knees or lay on the ice to protect the goal. Players must remain upright on their skates in front of the goal.  No more than one player can occupy the space in front of the net. Any act of “goaltending” shall result in an awarded goal for the non-offending team.
  • Players should make every attempt to play a puck that lands on the snow bank. If the puck is “unplayable” the referee will determine possession based on who directed the puck out of the playing area. Once possession is awarded, defending players should stand two-stick lengths away to begin play.


  • Round Robin Competition: If a game is tied at the end of regulation, a three minute, 4 on 4 run-time period will be held.  The team that scores the most goals during that time will be declared the winner. All goals scored will count towards the goal differential. If still tied an additional sudden victory period will be played until one team scores to be declared the winner. 
  • Playoff Competition: If regulation ends in a tie, there will be a one minute rest period followed by a 4 on 4 five (5) minute overtime period. Playoff overtime is not sudden victory. The team which scores the most goals at the end of the overtime period shall be declared the winner. If the game is still tied after the first overtime period, this same procedure (1min rest; 5min OT) will be followed until a winner is decided.
  • Teams will return to their original ends of the ice for the first overtime period, and switch ends during each successive overtime period. 



  • Win in Regulation - 2 points
  • Overtime / Shootout Win - 1 point
  • Overtime / Shootout Loss - 0 points
  • Loss in Regulation - 0 points


Step 1: Head to Head – The results in the games played between the tied teams. Note: If a team defeated the other team(s) that they are tied with, they will be ranked ahead of those other teams.

Step 2: Goal Differential – GOALS FOR minus GOALS AGAINST in all games played. Note: In a given game the goal differential will be a maximum of six (6) regardless of a greater goal differential (i.e. 15-2 would be counted as 8-2).

Step 3: Goals For.

Step 4: Goals Against.

Step 5: Most Wins.

Step 6: Average Differential – GOALS FOR divided by GOALS FOR plus GOALS AGAINST [GF/(GF+GA)].

Step 7: Coin toss.


  • If the tournament director(s) determine that an illegal player has participated in the tournament, the player(s) shall be immediately removed from the tournament and the team using the ineligible player(s) will receive a 0-15 forfeit loss in each of the games the illegal player(s) participated in.

Illegal players are any participants that:

  • Violate the minimum age requirement for their skill division.
  • Participate in a division below their skill level.
  • Participate on two team rosters.
  • Are under 21 years-of-age.
  • Silver Division & Below: If it is determined by the tournament director(s) at any point during the preliminary round games that a team’s skill level as a whole is far above their competition, that team will be permitted to play the three game guarantee, but will receive a 15-0 forfeit loss for those games and will not be permitted to advance. 


Teams should plan to arrive Thursday and attend the check-in party on Thursday evening. 

  • Please remember to bring all of your player’s photo IDs (or a copy of them) 
  • You MUST check-in prior to your first game to receive beer tickets and player gifts. You may be disqualified if a member of your team does not check in prior to playing.

Adult Hockey News

The Over-80 USA Hockey Team, comprised of players from eight different states (New Hampshire, Minnesota, Alaska, Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois, Florida and California), came together in the Fall of 2023 to compete in the Canada 150 Cup tournament in B