Rule Changes: 2013-2014 Playing Season

By Mike Barrett

The following rules (with one exception noted below) will be applicable starting with the 2013-2014 playing season and will continue for the next four (4) years until the next time rule changes are permitted. A summary of the changes is below, so here goes….

All players must wear HECC approved helmets. At the USA Hockey Annual Meeting, it was determined that helmets currently contain a HECC sticker affixed to them. These stickers contain an expiration date and a player’s helmet must be within that expiration period. More on this rule change later.

The electronic device rule was amended adding language prohibiting the use of electronics for the purpose of challenging or disputing a game official’s decision during the game.

The next playing rule change calls for a game misconduct penalty to be assessed to a player when he/she receives a second misconduct penalty during the same game. You should note that there are no differences or distinctions regarding misconduct penalties for purposes of this rule. For instance, in Illinois we enforce the AHAI neck guard rule similarly to the mouth guard rule. When a player does not have a neck guard, he/she and the teams are provided a verbal warning. Thereafter, any offending player receives a misconduct penalty. For purposes of the current rule change, this misconduct counts just as any other misconduct would and if a player receives a second misconduct in that game, a game misconduct is automatically given. Now you must remember that the assessment of the second misconduct is deemed as a game misconduct. This becomes an issue for the 5 penalty rule applicable to a player and the 15 penalty rule applicable to a team. So, for example, if a player receives a mouth guard misconduct, and then subsequently in the same game receives a check from behind penalty, the score sheet would identify the player as having received a misconduct, a 2 minute minor and a game misconduct for a total of 3 penalties attributable to the player and counted against the 15 penalty rule for the team.

Another rule change made by USA Hockey is one that DELETES the rule that provides for an end zone faceoff if a team passes the puck back into their defending zone for the purpose of delaying the game.

USA also deleted the term “deliberately” from the rule calling for a game misconduct if a stick/object is thrown out of the rink and in the direction of spectators.

In the rule discussing “slew foot”, USA Hockey added language describing a slew foot.

And now here are the big playing rule changes for the coming season. For infractions relating to head contact, boarding and charging, the ONLY penalty assessment options available to officials are a 2 minute minor AND a misconduct OR a 5 minute major AND a game misconduct. You will note that these assessments follow the check from behind assessments exactly. So, for the coming season, the infractions for checks from behind, boarding, charging and head contact will ONLY allow an official to assess either a 2 minute minor and misconduct OR a 5 minute major and game misconduct.

These rules mentioned immediately above ALL carry mandatory minimums of 2 minutes and a misconduct. This is important not only for the proper assessment of a player’s penalty time, but also in light of the 2 misconduct penalties in the same game mentioned above.

In addition to the rule changes above, the following rule change is specific to adult league hockey. The rule now excludes ADULTS from Match penalty requirements for deliberately removing a helmet during an altercation. The approved rule change substitutes “game misconduct” in lieu of “Match penalty” when a helmet is removed in an adult game so a match penalty assessment is no longer an option for an adult game when a helmet removal takes place.

Finally, USA Hockey changed a rule which will be applicable at the start of the 2014-2015 season. This rule is with regard to progressive suspensions and will not change anything for the upcoming season nor will it change any of the playing rules or equipment rules. Since this rule is applicable to ’14-’15 and since the rule affects suspension time as determined by the affiliate (AHAI), then we will not discuss it for purposes of this note and the upcoming season.

USA Hockey also changed a few rules applicable to junior hockey but those changes are outside the parameters of this note. I will put together a separate note for junior changes.

Obviously there are quite a number of changes to the upcoming season and IHOA is studiously working to incorporate these changes to the fall officiating seminars. The seminars will discuss these changes in detail and everyone should be prepared to know the rules for the upcoming season.  Your USA Hockey Rules book will contain the changes stated above.

Officials will be instructed to enforce the rules, enforce the safety aspect of the game and when in doubt, call the more serious infraction.

AHAI and IHOA are always willing to come to your organization and discuss these issues and others with your players, coaches, administrators and families.  To schedule a discussion, please send an email to me at


Categories: Rules & Regulations

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