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2021-2022 USA Hockey New Standard of Play

By Nick Pollos, 09/06/21, 9:00PM CDT


The goal of USA Hockey is to promote a safe and positive playing environment for all participants while continuing to focus on skill development and enjoyment of the sport. All officials, coaches, players, parents, spectators and volunteers are encouraged to observe these “Points of Emphasis” when participating in the sport of ice hockey.

Fair Play and Respect

Fair play and respect are the backbone of any successful amateur sports program. In order for a positive environment to be created, it is imperative that all participants and spectators have respect for all players, coaches, officials, administrators, spectators and the sport of hockey. Hockey is a game demanding high levels of concentration and skill. Taunting or unsportsmanlike conduct directed at opponents or officials will not be tolerated. USA Hockey does not tolerate any abusive behavior, including racial and other derogatory slurs directed at players, coaches and officials. All participants are reminded that any language that is hateful or discriminatory in nature will be penalized with an automatic Match Penalty. Abuse of officials is a continuing problem at all levels of play, and in all youth sports, and as a result the retention of officials has become a significant issue that affects the quality and number of available officials. USA Hockey is committed to taking a leadership role in this area and has in place a Zero Tolerance Policy towards unsportsmanlike behavior. Officials are required to strictly enforce all actions that are deemed to be abusive in nature in an effort to change the culture of what is deemed to be acceptable behavior when it comes to respect for officials.


Intimidation tactics have no place in ice hockey. These tactics include any contact to the head of the opponent, checking from behind and late body checks to an opponent who is no longer in control of the puck. Officials are instructed to enforce these rules to a high standard and assess the appropriate penalty when these actions occur. In addition, officials are expected to strictly enforce any avoidable contact occurring after the whistle – including during scrum situations around the goal. In Competitive Contact categories, legal competitive contact shall be allowed and players allowed to compete using proper body position skills. However, any deliberate body check shall be penalized accordingly. If a body check is delivered for the purpose of intimidation, punishment or to a vulnerable or defenseless opponent, a major plus game misconduct penalty should be assessed to the offending player. In Body Checking categories, the primary focus of the check shall be to gain possession of the puck and officials should strictly penalize any illegal actions such as boarding, charging, cross checking, and a late body check to a player who is no longer in control 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. Proper body checking technique starts with stick on puck, therefore the stick blade of the player delivering the check must be below the knees.

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