Through the standard of rules enforcement, our game will continue to allow the opportunity for improved skill development and a more positive hockey environment for all participants. This initiative will result in greater emphasis on skating, puck possession and the proper use of the body to establish position and legally gain a competitive advantage.
The goal of the enforcement standard is to create an environment that enhances player skill development by reducing intimidating infractions designed to punish the opponent. This standard is designed to improve the proper skill of legal body checking or contact at all levels of play and will not remove the physical
component from the game. A hard body check or using body contact/position (Body Contact categories) to gain a competitive advantage over the opponent should not be penalized as long as it is performed within the rules. The focus of the body check should be to separate the opponent from the puck.
The principles of this enforcement standard include the following:
Enforcement Standard – These penalties are to be called with very strict enforcement.
A player cannot deliver a body check to any player while participating in a Body Contact category. Examples include:
A player cannot commit any infraction, including body checking, for the purpose of intimidation or punishment that causes their opponent to go dangerously or excessively into the boards. Examples include:
A player cannot take more than two fast strides or travel an excessive distance to accelerate through a body check for the purpose of punishing the opponent. Examples include:
A player cannot deliver a body check to an opponent directly from behind, or diagonally from behind. The onus is on the player delivering the check to not hit from behind. Examples include:
A player cannot contact an opponent in the head, face or neck, including with the stick or any part of the players body or equipment. The onus is on the player delivering the check, regardless as to size differential, to not make contact in the head/neck area of the opponent. Examples include:
A player cannot use the hands, stick or extension of the arms to body check an opponent or deliver an avoidable body check to a player who is not in possession and control of the puck. Examples include:
All USA Hockey members must demonstrate awareness and support for the application, spirit and the respect of the rules in order for continued improvement in the game of hockey. At the same time, it is important to remember that: