Ask the Official: Use of Rule Book on Bench


By Dave Zednik

QUESTION: When officiating a game, in the second period there was an injured player and when he was down the opposing goalkeeper skated over the red line to his bench without asking permission. My partner and I gave the coach his options and he chose to skate 6 on 5 until the next stoppage of play. The coach did not complain and said he never heard of the rule. At the next stoppage of play the goalie returned to his goal. Later in the period when I was at the blue line I saw the coach put his phone away and he told me that we made the correct call. I informed him after the game that if he had disputed the call while using his phone he would have received a bench minor under Rule 308. He brought up a good point – what would be the difference if he was using a hard copy of the rule book instead of the mobile rule book? Would this be a violation of rule 308? I have asked several other officials and we all have different opinions.

ANSWER: In regard to your question about electronic devices:

  • We’re very excited to hear the coach is aware of the mobile USA Hockey Rule Book and used it to learn the playing rules.
  • We’re further excited to hear the coach had the sportsmanship to acknowledge your good call.
  • A coach who pulls out a Rule Book (mobile or otherwise) to challenge or dispute a call should be assessed a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Since he’s such a good sport, we probably would have asked the coach how he would react if you as the official came over to the bench during a timeout, grabbed his marker-board, and told his team how to “really” set up a power-play (no one likes being shown up visually).

Categories: Officials


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