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.
The goal of the enforcement standard is to reduce restraining infractions in the game and not to remove legal body checking or body contact. 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 principles of the continued enforcement standard include the
Enforcement Standard – These penalties are to be called with very strict enforcement.
A player cannot use his/her stick against an opponent’s body (puck carrier or non-puck carrier) to gain a positional advantage. Examples include:
A player cannot use his/her stick on the legs or feet of an opponent in a manner that would cause a loss of balance or for them to trip or fall. Examples include:
A player cannot wrap his/her arms around an opponent or use a free hand to clutch, grab or hold the stick, jersey or body on the opponent in a manner that impedes their progress. Examples include:
A player cannot use his/her body (“pick” or “block”) to impede the progress of an opponent with no effort to play the puck, maintain normal foot speed or established skating lane. Examples include:
The use of the stick will be limited to only playing the puck. Any stick contact, as a result of a slashing motion, to the hands/ arms or body of the opponent will be strictly penalized. In addition, hard slashes to the upper portion of the stick (just below the hands) of an opponent, with no attempt to legally play the puck, shall also be penalized.
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:
Coaches are expected to teach proper skills and hold their players accountable for illegal and dangerous actions, regardless as to whether they are properly penalized, or not.
Parents are expected to support the decisions of the officials and support the coaches in teaching the proper skills in a safe and positive environment.
Officials shall enforce a strict penalty standard according to the guidelines that have been established.
Players are expected to compete within the playing rules.
Administrators are expected to hold players, coaches, officials and parents accountable for their actions in an effort to promote a safe and positive environment for all participants.
All members of USA Hockey share an equal responsibility to ensure the integrity of the game is upheld. The onus to incorporate change is not only on the officials, but also on administrators, coaches, parents and players, as well.