(Note 1) For the purpose of this rule, an illegal body check is defined as when a player makes intentional physical contact with the opponent using overt hip, shoulder, forearm or torso action. This includes physically forcing the opponent off the puck and with no effort to legally play the puck.
(Note 2) USA Hockey has identified two different categories of play. They are Competitive Contact (where Body Checking is prohibited) and Body Checking (where a legal body check is permissible). Please refer to the
Glossary for specific definitions of Competitive Contact and a Body Check.
(a) Body checking is prohibited in the 12 & under youth age classifications and below, all Girls’/Women’s age classifications and all non-check Adult classifications. These levels would be considered the Competitive Contact Category of play.
A local governing body may prohibit body checking in any classification and is encouraged to provide Competitive Contact options at all levels of recreational play.
(Note) USA Hockey strongly encourages competitive contact to occur in all age classifications as part of the skill progression that teaches body checking.
(b) Any time a team from a Competitive Contact category (see sub-section (a) above) plays a team from a Body Checking category, body checking shall be prohibited under this rule.
(c) A minor penalty shall be assessed to a player who body checks an opponent in a Competitive Contact category.
(Note) Competitive Contact hockey does not mean “no contact.” Legal competitive contact (see Glossary) occurs when players are focused on gaining possession of the puck and are simply maintaining established body position. This most often occurs when two players are physically engaged (see Glossary) in front of the goal or along the boards. Competitive contact also occurs when a player has established an angle (Angling - see Glossary) on the opponent and closes the gap to create an opening that is too small for the puck carrier to advance.
Legal competitive contact shall not be penalized under this rule. However, deliberate physical contact with an opponent, with no effort to legally play the puck, shall be penalized.
(d) A major plus a game misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player who recklessly endangers an opponent with a body check in a Competitive Contact category.
(e) A match penalty for reckless endangerment may also be assessed for body checking in a Competitive Contact category or non-check Adult classification.