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Appendix V - Glossary

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Act of Playing Goal

Any action by the goalkeeper that prevents the puck from entering the goal, or prevents an immediate scoring opportunity within the goalkeeper’s privileged area.

Age Classifications

The following Youth and Girls’/Women age classifications have been established for all teams registered with USA Hockey. 

Youth Teams: 8 & under (Mite), 10 & under (Squirt), 12 & under (Pee Wee), 14 & under (Bantam), 15 only (Tier I National Bound teams only),16 & under (Midget) and 18 & under (Midget). 

Girls’/Women Teams: 8 & under, 10 & under, 12 & under, 14 & under, 16 & under and 19 & under.

(Note 1) Girls’/Women playing on a Youth team must conform to the Youth age classification.

(Note 2) High School age classification is governed under the same playing rules as the Youth 18 & under (Midget) age classification.

(Note 3) Adult classifications shall include Adult non-check, Adult U.S., Adult Elite and Adult Women, and shall be governed by these rules, except where otherwise noted.


A legal defensive skill used to direct/control the puck carrier to an area that closes the gap and/or creates an opening that is too small for the puck carrier to advance.


Any physical interaction between two or more opposing players resulting in a penalty or penalties being assessed. An altercation will generally occur at a stoppage of play (not within the normal process of playing the puck) and includes the gathering of two or more opposing players and requires action to be taken by the on-ice officials to separate players.

Body Checking

A body check represents intentional physical contact from the front, diagonally from the front or straight from the side, by a skater to an opponent who is in control of the puck.

The opposing player’s objective must be an attempt to gain possession of the puck with a body check and NOT to punish or intimidate an opponent.

Body checking must be done only with the trunk of the body (hips and shoulders) and must be above the opponent’s knees and at or below the shoulders. The use of the hands, forearm, stick or elbow in delivering a body check is unacceptable and not within the guidelines of a legal body check.

The primary focus of a body check must be an attempt to gain possession of the puck. Proper body checking technique starts with stick on puck, therefore the stick blade of the player delivering the check must be below the knees.

USA Hockey reminds coaches and players that these requirements are the responsibility of the player delivering the body check. Under no circumstances is it acceptable to deliver a body check to a vulnerable or defenseless opponent, an opponent who is not in control of the puck or to use the hands, stick, forearm or elbow in delivering a check to an opponent.

Body Contact

Contact that occurs between opponents during the normal process of playing the puck, provided there has been no overt hip, shoulder or arm contact to physically force the opponent off of the puck.


A condition whereby a player is in control of the puck with no opposition between the player and the opposing goal, with a reasonable scoring opportunity.


A Coach is a person primarily responsible for directing and guiding the play of his team. Along with the Manager, he is responsible for the conduct of his team’s players before, during and after a game.

Coincident Penalty

A penalty of equal type (e.g., minor or major) assessed during the same stoppage of play, and for which neither team is reduced in on-ice numerical strength. A coincident penalty never causes either team to be “shorthanded” for purposes of penalty termination if a goal is scored.


Occurs when players maintain their established position on the ice. A player shall not be penalized if the intention is to play the puck and in so doing collides with an opponent. No player is required to move out of the way of an oncoming player to avoid contact.

Competitive Contact

Contact that occurs between two or more skaters who are in the immediate vicinity of the puck and who are in the normal process of playing the puck. These skaters are reasonably allowed to lean into each other provided possession of the puck remains the sole objective of the contact.

Competitive contact is encouraged in all age classifications of play within USA Hockey and provides the foundation for the skills necessary to advance to Body Checking classifications.

Acceptable examples of competitive contact include angling, physical engagement and collisions.

Contact With the Puck

The last skater or goalkeeper to have touched the puck (puck touch). This includes a puck that is deflected off a player or any part of their equipment.

A player considered to be in “contact with the puck” is NOT eligible to be body checked and/or engage in competitive contact.

Control of the Puck

The skater or goalkeeper that, in the opinion of the official, has “possession of the puck” and is guiding the puck in any desired direction. “Contact with the puck” is not considered “control of the puck.” A player in “possession of the puck” may also immediately establish “control of the puck.”

A skater considered to be in “control of the puck” is eligible to be body checked and/or engage in competitive contact.

(Note) This includes using the stick, skates or hands in directing the puck with purpose and will allow the player to maintain extended possession. It does not require the player to be in immediate contact with the puck (i.e. the puck does not need to be touching the stick to be considered in “control of the puck”).


Goalkeeper’s crease marked on the ice in front of each goal designed to protect the goalkeepers from interference by attacking players.

Delayed Off-Side

A situation where an attacking player has preceded the puck across the attacking blue line, but the defending team has gained possession of the puck and is in a position to bring the puck out of their Defending Zone without any delay or contact with an attacking player.

Deflecting the Puck

The action of the puck contacting any person or object, causing it to change direction.

Directing the Puck

The act of intentionally moving or positioning the body, skate or stick so as to change the course of the puck in a desired direction.


The face-off is an action of an official dropping the puck between the sticks of two opposing players to start play. The face-off procedure begins when the Official indicated its proper location and the officials are in their appropriate positions. The face-off commences with the dropping of the puck.

Game Suspension(s)

When a player, Coach or Manager receives a game suspension(s), he shall not be eligible to participate in the next game(s) that was already on the schedule of his team at the time of the incident.


The Goalkeeper is designated by the team and is permitted special equipment, for protection, and privileges for the purpose of playing the puck.

Goalkeeper’s Privileged Area

The area outlined by connecting the end zone face-off spots with an imaginary line and imaginary lines perpendicular to the end boards (see rink diagram).

Goalkeeper’s Warm-Up Area

The area including the Goalkeeper’s Privileged Area extended to include the area formed by a line from each end zone face-off spot to where the goal line meets the side boards (see rink diagram).


The Hockey Equipment Certification Council is an independent organization responsible for performance standards for ice hockey equipment.

Injury Potential Penalties

Injury Potential Penalties include Boarding, Body Checking (Body Contact Classifications), Butt-Ending, Charging, Checking from Behind, Cross-Checking, Elbowing, Head-Butting, Head Contact, High Sticking, Holding the Facemask, Kicking, Kneeing, Roughing, Slashing and Spearing. The linesman is required to report these infractions to the referee following the next stoppage of play that may have occurred and were unobserved by the referee.

Last Play Face-Off

The location at which the puck was last legally played by a player or goalkeeper immediately prior to a stoppage of play.

Late Body Check

A late check is when a player delivering the check has an opportunity to avoid contact, or minimize contact, once they realize the opponent no longer has control of the puck.

The concept of “finishing the check” is an unacceptable action as it is one that is meant to intimidate or punish the opponent with no intent, or possibility, to gain possession of the puck. The responsibility is on the player delivering the check to avoid forceful contact (minimize impact) to a vulnerable or defenseless player who is no longer in control of the puck.

Line Change Procedure

The player substitution process during all stoppages where the visiting team must immediately complete any player changes within five seconds. After five seconds, the referee will raise his arm to stop any further visiting player changes. The Home Team shall then have five seconds to complete any player changes, after which the referee shall lower his arm. At this time, no further player changes may be made until play has resumed or a penalty has been assessed prior to face-off.

If the home team opts to change players during the visiting team player change, they shall not be given any extra opportunity to change players once they compete their change.

Off-Ice Official

Off-Ice Officials are those appointed to assist in the conduct of the game and may include the Official Scorer, Game Timekeeper, Penalty Timekeeper and the two Goal Judges. The Referee has general supervision of the game and full control of the game officials. In the case of any dispute the Referee's decision shall be final.


A penalty is the result of an infraction of the rules by a player or team personnel. It usually involves the removal from the game of the offending player or team personnel for a specified period of time. If the penalty is on the team in possession and control of the puck the whistle blows immediately. If the penalty is not on the team in possession of the puck, the Referee indicates a delayed penalty and does not blow the whistle until the offending team gains possession and control of the puck. In some cases the penalty may be the awarding of a penalty shot or the actual awarding of a goal.

Physical Engagement

Two players who are in pursuit of the puck are allowed to use competitive contact provided that possession of the puck remains the sole objective of the two players. This includes opposing players competing for the puck in front of the goal or along the boards.

Possession of the Puck

Placing your stick on the puck in an effort to establish control or to deliberately direct the puck with any part of the body. The last player to have intentionally played the puck is considered to have “possession of the puck.” A player may be in “possession of the puck” without establishing “control of the puck.” However, a player must first gain “possession of the puck” prior to being considered in “control of the puck.”

A player considered to be in “possession of the puck” is NOT eligible to be body checked and/or engage in competitive contact.

A skater attempts to gain “possession of the puck” by using the stick, and then body, in an effort to establish “control of the puck” or prevent an opponent from maintaining or gaining “control of the puck.”

A skater considered to be “attempting to gain possession of the puck” is eligible to body check an opponent in “control of the puck” and/or engage in competitive contact.

Proper Authorities (Proper Disciplinary Authority)

The governing body of the team or teams involved, as determined by the Affiliate, except:

  1. In USA Hockey-Sanctioned Tournaments and Play-Offs, the body shall be the Discipline Committee of the Tournament or Play-Off.
  2. In matters relating to assault of an official, the body shall be the Affiliate Association of that team.

Protective Equipment

Equipment worn by players for the sole purpose of safety and protection from injury. All equipment must be manufactured for ice hockey and worn in the manner intended.

Recklessly Endgangers (Reckless Endangerment)

Engaging in conduct, without regard to the consequences, which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to an opponent.


Shorthanded means that a team is below the numerical strength of its opponents on the ice. When a goal is scored against a shorthanded team, the first non-coincidental minor or bench minor penalty (minor penalty with least amount of time remaining) terminates automatically. 

Substitute Goalkeeper

The substitute goalkeeper is designated on the official game score sheet, but is not participating in the game. The substitute must be fully dressed and equipped and ready to play. A substitute goalkeeper may only participate in the game as a goalkeeper.

Team Official

A Team Official is any non-playing person not in uniform on the players’ bench. All such persons must be registered in the current season as a Coach with USA Hockey, and must comply with coaching education requirements for the appropriate certification level as required by the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program. One such person must be designated as the Head Coach.

Team Personnel

Team Personnel are any non-playing persons not in uniform on the players' bench. All such persons must be registered in the current season as a Coach with USA Hockey, and must comply with coaching education requirements for the appropriate certification level as required by the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program. One such person must be designated as the Head Coach. A player or goalkeeper on the roster who is unable to play, other than through suspension, may be on the players' bench without being considered a Team Personnel if he is wearing the team jersey and all required head and face protective equipment.

Temporary Goalkeeper

A player not designated as a goalkeeper on the Official Scoresheet who assumes that position when no designated goalkeeper is able to participate in the game. He is governed by goalkeeper privileges and limitations and must return as a “player” when a designated goalkeeper becomes available to participate in the game.

Time-Out (Curfew Definition)

A curfew game is one in which the game must end by a certain time of day. Both teams must be notified of the curfew time prior to the start of the game.

Vulnerable or Defenseless

A skater is considered to be in a vulnerable or defenseless position when they are unaware, unprepared or unsuspecting of an impending body check and/or competitive contact.