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Electronic Devices

Situation 1

Team A is using a light on the players bench for the purpose of informing players on the ice that it is time for a line change. Is this permissible?

No. Rule Reference 308(a).

While this is not considered as an electronic device, it is still prohibited by this rule. Additionally, it creates a potential distraction to the opposing team.

Situation 2

A team is using a two-way radio system between a coach on the players’ bench and a non-team official in the spectator area. Is this permissible?

Yes. Rule Reference 308(a).

The rule prohibits such communication between a player or goalkeeper (on or off the ice) and either a person on the bench or somewhere else in the arena. Communication between the bench and personnel not on the bench is permitted.

Situation 3

The coach is using an electronic device to diagram plays and instruct the players on the players’ bench. Is this permissible? Yes. Rule References 308(a) and 308(b).

The intent of this rule is to prohibit the use of electronic devices to communicate with players on the ice while participating in play. A coach that uses an electronic “whiteboard” or rink diagram to demonstrate a play or teach the players while they are on the bench does not violate the intent of this rule. USA Hockey recognizes that there are newer devices developed on a regular basis that are designed to replace the old fashioned clipboard or rink board.

Situation 4

During a stoppage of play, a coach calls the referee over to the bench and attempts to question the ruling of the officials by utilizing an electronic device. The team is assessed a bench minor for an equipment violation according to the rule. While the bench minor penalty is still being served, a team official now starts verbally abusing the referee. What penalty should be assessed to the coach?

A Game Misconduct Penalty is assessed to the team official verbally abusing the referee. Rule References 308(b), 308(c) and 601(e.1).

Even though the actual bench minor penalty is assessed under the electronic equipment rule, the fact the rule was applied because a team official was challenging or disputing a decision by the official indicates that this bench minor penalty also falls under the unsportsmanlike conduct guidelines. Any subsequent continuation of this behavior during the same incident would result in following the proper penalty progression.

Situation 5

A team has been found to be in violation of the “electronic device” rule. Does the device need to be physically removed by the officials?

No. Rule Reference 308(c).

It would not be practical to expect the officials to confiscate an expensive electronic device that is the personal property of the coach. As long as the equipment is turned off and either removed from the bench, or set to the side, the requirement of the rule has been met and play should be allowed to continue. However, if the device were to be used illegally at a later time, the team would be subject to additional penalties according to the rules.

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