To: All District Referees-in-Chief, volunteer support staff and USA Hockey officials
From: USA Hockey Officiating Education Program
Date: November 26, 2019
Re: USA Hockey Playing Rule 601(e)3
On October 30, 2019, USA Hockey President Jim Smith issued a directive that immediately changed any violation of Playing Rule 601(e)3 to a match penalty. This memo is being sent to all
officials in an effort to clarify some ambiguity with the interpretation of Rule 601(e)3. It is important to start with the history of this playing rule. The rule began in 1997 when the USA
Hockey Board of Directors passed a change to Rule 601 that required the assessment of a game misconduct penalty to any player or team official who directed a racial or ethnic slur at an
opponent or game official.
After 20 seasons, the USA Hockey Board of Directors recognized that the language of Rule 601 was too narrow in scope. While the spirit and intent of the “racial and ethnic slur” rule was meant
to cover all remarks that are demeaning and dehumanizing on a personal level, it was clear that the language of the rule needed to be broadened to accommodate all types of discrimination.
These include (but are not limited to) ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicaps, social or economic status, etc. Therefore, in 2017 the Board of Directors
passed an amendment to Rule 601(e) to update it to the following:
“(e) A game misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player or team official who is guilty of
the following actions:
(3) Uses language that is offensive, hateful or discriminatory in nature anywhere in the
rink before, during or after the game.”
When developing the new language of Rule 601(e), it was intentionally broad-based and all-inclusive. However, the risk of using broad language in a playing rule is that it becomes open to
liberal interpretation which might lead to misapplication during games. The first point we must make is “chirping” and “trash-talk” are not a part of the game. Similar to fighting, they are the product of emotional competition and unfortunately will sometimes occur between opponents. However, “trash-talking” is not a skill or a strategy, and no player is entitled
to shout abusive and derogatory remarks toward an opponent or game official. USA Hockey Playing Rule 601 addresses disrespectful behavior and game officials must apply the rule as
directed by the rulebook and its interpretations. With that point in mind, we must clarify that Rule 601(e)3 was never intended to cover derogatory or disrespectful remarks similar to below:
• An opposing player’s or team’s performance during a game:
o “You f—–g suck!”
o “You’re the worst player in this league!”
o “You a—-h—!”
• A game official’s performance during a game:
o “You’re an f—–g embarrassment to the game!”
o “That was a bull—t call!”
In some cases the language and words used in the example above or similar might be foul and offensive, but USAH Rule 601(a), (b), (c) and (d) manage these types of unsportsmanlike
remarks that reflect performance during a game and not the personal traits of the recipient. Rule 601(e)3 specifically addresses discriminatory and hateful remarks that regard the personal
traits of a human being (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.). These types of comments are personally offensive, dehumanizing and often have a lasting impact on the mental well-being of the recipient
or someone in the vicinity of the offending participant when the comment is made. Given the fact that Rule 601(e)3 has now been elevated to a match penalty, which requires immediate suspension from all USA Hockey activity (games, practices, team meetings, etc.) pending a hearing by the local Affiliate disciplinary board or junior league, it is imperative that game officials apply the correct playing rule to the circumstances.
Due to the wide range of personal traits of all humans, it would be impossible to develop a list of words, comments or topics that are unacceptable. In short, there is no simple formula to
determine what exactly deserves a match penalty. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the game officials to use sound judgment and weigh comments to determine what is poor sportsmanship
and penalized under 601 (a-d) vs. what is discriminatory language that falls under 601(e)3. If a match penalty is assessed, the game officials must report the penalty through the USA Hockey online game reporting system within a reasonable time frame (48 hours), and the comment must be included verbatim in the comments section of the game report.
If an unacceptable comment is reported to the game officials by a player, coach or off-ice official, but is not heard by an on-ice official, the penalty cannot be assessed. However, the game officials
must warn the offending team and submit the incident through the USA Hockey game reporting system (entering “other incident report” for penalty assessed and rule reference). This ensures all
local Affiliates are getting reports regarding the behavior of their teams. Again, the exact comment that was reported to the game official must be included in the report.
If you have any questions regarding USA Hockey Rule 601(e)3 or the guidance of this memo, please feel free to reach out to your District Referee-in-Chief, their support staff or contact the
USA Hockey national office.
Thank you for your dedication to our game, and best wishes for a safe and successful season.
Chicago Wolves v Texas Stars
December 22, 2019 @ 3:00 pm
Meet and greet with AHL officials before the game:
IHOA members Linesmen Billy Hancock and Shane Gustafson
- 1:30-2 p.m. in the Skyline Room (Doors open at 1:15 p.m.)
- Followed by forum/Q-and-A session with IHOA
Discounted upper-level center ice tickets
Receive one Wolves winter hat per person
Option to buy discounted food (hot dog + soft drink = $11.50 value)
Represent and wear your referee sweater to the game!
Linesman Shane Gustafson
To all IHOA members,
Below is a directive from the USA Hockey President, Jim Smith. Please read this carefully. It also serves as a reminder to enforce the Zero Tolerance policy. Please remember, if you assess this penalty: 5 goes up on the board, 10 on the sheet, player removed; per Rule 405a (see rule below).
October 30, 2019
Dear USA Hockey member –
As the hockey season begins in full, we continue to receive reports of disturbing incidents involving racial and other derogatory slurs, behavior which is reprehensible and has absolutely no place in our game, especially around our children.
As you are all aware, USA Hockey has long had a Zero Tolerance Policy towards any type of abusive conduct, specifically under Rule 601 (e.3), which states that anyone who uses language that is offensive, hateful or discriminatory in nature anywhere in the rink before, during or after the game, shall be assessed a game misconduct penalty. For reasons which I cannot explain or understand, this penalty does not seem to be enough of a deterrent to stop this conduct.
I am issuing a directive effective immediately that anyone assessed a penalty under Rule 601 (e.3) will now receive an automatic Match Penalty, in lieu of the game misconduct penalty that currently exists, and shall be immediately suspended until a hearing is conducted by the governing USA Hockey Affiliate or junior league. The applicable Affiliate or junior league is required to conduct a hearing within 30 days of the incident and the individual may be subject to further discipline.
Further, our on-ice officials have protocols in place that address situations where a player is accused of saying something that violates Rule 601 (e. 3) but is not heard by the officials. While the officials cannot assess a penalty in that circumstance, they are instructed to notify the coach of the offending team and it is critical that the coach take immediate and appropriate action. Officials must also report the incident through the game reporting system, and Affiliates must review all incidents, whether penalized or unpenalized, to ensure proper application of the rules.
We also receive reports of racial harassment and discrimination among teammates; this behavior must be addressed through submitting appropriate reports through our SafeSport Program.
Parents and coaches, please take the time to address these issues with your kids. Helping educate them on these topics is an important part of our overall effort to eliminate any type of discriminatory language or behavior from our sport.
While the vast majority of our hockey games are conducted in the spirit for which they were intended, we must remove offensive, hateful or discriminatory language or behavior from our game. Please join me in stamping it out and ensuring we have an environment that is free from discrimination of any kind.
Thanks for doing your part and I hope this will be the best and brightest hockey season for you and your family.
Yours in hockey,
Jim Smith, President
Rule 405 Match Penalties
(a) A “MATCH” penalty involves the immediate removal of a player or Team Official for the balance of the game and a five minute time penalty shall be assessed. (Note) For all “MATCH” penalties, regardless of when imposed, or prescribed additional penalties, a total of 10 minutes shall be charged in the records against the offending player or Team Official.
(For all Youth, High School and Girls’ Age Classifications): Unless immediate substitution is permitted under the
coincidental major penalty Rule 403(c), the penalized team shall immediately place a substitute player on the penalty bench and such player shall not be changed.
(For Adult Classifications) Unless immediate substitution is permitted under the coincidental major penalty Rule
403(c), the penalized team shall place a substitute player on the penalty bench before the penalty expires. No other
replacement for the penalized player shall be permitted to enter the game except from the penalty bench upon
expiration of the penalty. For violation of this rule a bench minor penalty for illegal substitution shall be imposed.
A seminar has been added:
Wednesday, NOVEMBER 27, 2019
Levels 1 & 2
Effective immediately, there shall be no peg use to anchor nets during games involving teams aged 10U and younger.
This rule is effective immediately and will carry through all games, including Illinois state playoffs.
USA Hockey is committed to creating a safe and fair environment for all participants. Respect for the game, opponents, coaches, and officials is a critical part of that environment and it covers several different aspects of sportsmanship and fair play. This Declaration of Safety, Fair Play and Respect will guide a change in culture as to what is considered to be acceptable/unacceptable body checking and competitive contact at all levels of play.
(BANGING THE BOARDS)
A bench minor penalty for unsportsmanlike behavior shall be assessed to any team whose player(s) or team officials bang the boards with a stick or any other object, including skates or arms, at any time, including after a body check regardless as to whether the check was penalized or not.
The spirit and intent of this rule is to eliminate unsportsmanlike behavior that is designed to “taunt” or “intimidate” an opponent through the celebration of an unnecessary or illegal body check. Simply banging the stick, or other object, against the boards while on the player’s bench is not a penalty. However, it is deemed to be unsportsmanlike conduct and should be penalized when done as a means of escalating dangerous and/or unnecessary physical play where there is no intent to legally gain possession of the puck.
The correct procedure to apply this interpretation is to first warn the offending team once after the first violation. Any further violation of this policy by the same team should be penalized by assessing a bench minor to the team under Rule 601(b)1 & 5. This bench minor is to be served by a player on the ice at the time of the infraction. Once this bench minor has been served, any further violations by the same team shall be penalized by assessing a bench minor penalty.
**If a bench minor penalty for a violation of this policy is being served and before that bench minor expires another violation by the same team occurs that teams head coach shall be assessed a game misconduct under Rule601(e)1.
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Dear USA Hockey official,
You recently received a summary of several significant changes to the USA Hockey SafeSport Program. This note includes additional specific information pertinent to officials, including related to SafeSport Training requirements, mandatory reporting, and the Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies. Thank you for your dedication to USA Hockey programs and efforts to keep our participants safe and our programs free from misconduct or abuse.
All officials who are or will be seventeen (17) years old or older as of December 31 of that registration season must complete the SafeSport Training program as a condition of completing their certification requirements every season.
Beginning this season, the training must now be completed every year prior to participation each season (however, anyone who completed training in the most recent season (2018-19) will retain valid training status for 2019-20, and will complete training annually beginning in 2020-21). The training is provided by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and each official must first complete the “Core Center for SafeSport Training,” which is completed online and takes approximately 90 – 120 minutes to complete. In subsequent seasons, officials will need to complete the Center for SafeSport’s “Refresher Course,” which is also online and takes 30 minutes or less to complete. There is no cost to complete either training course.
If you (or your son or daughter) are under 18 at the time of training, USA Hockey is required to obtain parental consent for the official to complete training. If you registered on or after May 28, 2019, then the consent was incorporated into your registration; if you registered prior to May 28, USA Hockey will be contacting you soon to obtain the consent of the parents for a minor age official to complete the SafeSport Training.
If you are an adult-aged official, then according to federal law you are considered a mandatory reporter of child abuse, including sexual abuse. In the event of any actual or suspected sexual misconduct or child abuse, you must report such information to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and, when appropriate, to applicable law enforcement.
Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies
The Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies (“MAAPP Policies”) were mandated by federal law to be put into effect by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and are included in the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook with specific information for hockey programs. The MAAPP Policies are prevention policies to prohibit and/or avoid situations where risks of misconduct can occur, including:
• One-on-One Interactions. This policy prohibits one-on-one interactions between adult members of USA Hockey or those authorized by a USA Hockey program to have regular contact with or authority over minors, unless they occur at an observable and interruptible distance by another adult. There are exceptions for emergency circumstances. The policy specifically addresses situations where these types of interactions might occur, including in meetings with a player, in individual training sessions and in settings outside the hockey program.
• Locker Rooms. USA Hockey’s existing Locker Room Policy was updated, and includes specific locker room provisions for officials to address situations when officials of different genders share a locker room and to avoid situations where an adult official and a minor are alone in a locker room. Please review the new locker room policies in the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook.
• Travel. Travel is a high risk time for misconduct to occur, including when officials travel together. USA Hockey’s travel policy has been updated for both “local travel” (transportation and travel to and from local games and events) and “organization/team travel” (travel away from the home area and may include overnight stays in a hotel for games or tournaments). Except in the case of emergency, an adult official may not ride in a vehicle alone, travel alone with or share a hotel or sleeping arrangement with an unrelated minor participant.
• Athletic Training Modalities. Although officials generally do not receive treatment at the rink, from trainers or medical personnel, this policy ensures that any type of athletic training, including massages, rubdowns, taping, etc., occurs in an open and interruptible location.
• Social Media and Electronic Communications. This policy has been updated. All electronic communication from an adult official, supervisor, assignor or other person of authority to a minor-aged participant must be professional in nature. Absent emergency circumstances, if an adult official, supervisor, assignor or other person of authority needs to communicate directly with a minor-aged participant via electronic communications (including social media), the minor’s parent must be copied.
A revised copy of the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook can be found at the USA Hockey website at www.usahockey.com/safesportprogram. Please refer to the SafeSport Handbook for details of these and other policies affecting USA Hockey programs. You can also reach out to your Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator or to USA Hockey if you have questions or need assistance.
Thank you again for all of your efforts in support of the safety of participants in USA Hockey programs.
IHOA 2019-20 REGISTRATION
OPENS ***JULY 8th***!
1st step: USA HOCKEY OFFICATING REGISTRATION
Open as of May 28, 2019
2nd step: IHOA SEMINAR REGISTRATION
Link live on July 8, 2019
For step by step instructions, click here: IHOA registration process
Please check the FAQs page for questions about seminars or the registration process (name changes, registration account mistake, etc…) If your question is not answered there, then please contact the IHOA Registrar for the State of Illinois:
Dave Zednik firstname.lastname@example.org
ELIGIBILITY for VETERAN Seminars: All Officials who have been completely registered at Level 3 or Level 4 for the three (3) consecutive seasons prior.
|NOV 27||Geneva (Fox Valley)||1 & 2|
ELIGIBILITY for VETERAN Seminars: All Officials who have been completely registered at Level 3 or Level 4 for the three (3) consecutive seasons prior.
***IHOA Registration open July 8, 2019***
Steps to becoming a USA Hockey official:
To completely register with USA Hockey as an official you need to complete the following each year:
FIRST step to complete:
USA Hockey Membership Registration:
- Go to USAHockey.com. At the homepage you will click on “Become a Member” in the upper right corner and register as an Ice Official. This is where you will provide USAH with your information for their database and pay your annual membership fee (no affiliate fee for IHOA through this portal).
2. Once you are registered, you will receive a confirmation email within 24-hours. A copy of the USA Hockey Playing Rules & Casebook (new officials and Rule Change Seasons only) will be sent to you within a week, along with some additional information to help you along with the registration process.
3. Open Book Exam: Go to the “Open Book Exam” page at the OFFICIALS section of USAHockey.com and follow the steps to begin your online exam. It’s designed to allow you to go at your own pace. You may answer all questions at once, or answer ten questions every day until it is completed. Please review all answers before submitting it to the National Office. The exam will be accessible 24-hours after online registration, and we strongly encourage you to wait until you receive your Rulebook and attend your seminar (see below) before attempting to take the test.
- Returning officials: You will receive an email giving you information (including your USAH Officiating Number) relating to completing your online “Open Book Exam.”
- New officials (1st season): You will receive an email with information to complete your online “Open Book Exam;” you will NOT have a USAH Officiating Number at this time.
4. Online Education: Once registered with USA Hockey, you will receive instructions regarding the online Officiating Education module program. These modules are a mixture of required and elective topics that teach fundamental skills of officiating using video examples, animation, and knowledge-based testing. You must complete your required hours of training to receive your card and crest. You can access the Online Modules under the OFFICIALS tab at USAHockey.com.
*** SafeSport Training (if 18+ years old): All officials who are 18 years-of-age or older must complete the United States Olympic Committee SafeSport training program. This online based program trains coaches, officials, and key volunteers in detecting and preventing detrimental behavior (hazing, abuse, etc.) off the playing surface. Once completed, the training certification is good for two years before re-certification is required. This training must be completed in addition to your USA Hockey Local Affiliate Background Checks. SafeSport training can be completed by using the SafeSport link under the OFFICIALS tab at USAHockey.com
ILLINOIS HOCKEY OFFICIALS ASSOCIATION (IHOA) REGISTRATION:
- Register for the in-class seminar : http://ihoa.com/registration/
Any questions not found on the FAQs page should be directed to the
As of today, October 20, 2019, IHOA apparel is not available. Look for sometime after the beginning of 2020 for availability. Thank you for your patience!
In partnership with AHAI, the Chicago Blackhawks sponsored a first-of-its-kind event between IHOA and high school captains from the Chicago Catholic Hockey League (CCHL) and the Scholastic Hockey League (SHL). The purpose-bring together officials and high school captains to strengthen the high school game and promote a culture of safety, fair play and respect. Emphasis will be placed on USA Hockey’s new changes in rule enforcement as it relates to body checking (namely, eliminating hits to the head, hits from behind and late hits).
Click to read full article:
Former IHOA official and board member, Kendall Hanley, has been selected to officiate rookie tournaments in Irvine, California; Buffalo; Nashville and Traverse City, Michigan. She is one of four women, out of 30 officials. She will officiate at the 2019 NHL Prospect Tournament, which runs Friday through Monday in Traverse City.
“My passion and love for the game started at a young age and after college I was not quite ready to hang up my skates,” said Hanley. “I met some amazing people in Texas who were very involved in officiating who supported and mentored me early on. Officiating provides a team environment, great comradery and competition and helps me give back and support the game I love.”
This is the sixth year Exposure Combine participants have been officiating at the rookie tournaments, and 85 percent of the officials at the five rookie tournaments have attended an NHL Exposure Combine.