Former Illinois Official Kendall Hanley Named Ben Allison Award Winner

Former Illinois Official Kendall Hanley Named

Ben Allison Award Winner

By Ross Forman – Kendall Hanley – who officiated one of her 13 seasons as an on-ice official in Illinois and served as a member of the IHOA Board of Directors – was named the 2021 Ben Allison Award-winner, presented annually to an official in the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program.

The award is voted on by 150 members of the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program and given to the official who best represents the characteristics that made Ben a special person and official, including always giving 100 percent on the ice and representing USA Hockey in the finest manner.

Allison was a level three USA Hockey certified official who was tragically killed in January 2015 at the age of 20. A native of Royal Oak, Mich., and a student at Illinois State University, he had been officiating for eight years and was a part of the Officiating Development Program for three years at various levels, including the NAHL. Allison attended and played for Crystal Lake South High School.

Hanley started officiating years ago while living in Dallas. She also has officiated in Denver, and during the 2016-17 in the Chicagoland area while living and working downtown.

“Living in Chicago was an awesome experience,” she said. Her local schedule included youth and high school games, and she traveled for USA Hockey-assigned games.

This season she worked in the USHL, NA3HL and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The season “had its ups and downs due to COVID,” she said. “This season more so than ever I’ve been very fortunate to be able to skate.”

Hanley praised her fellow Illinois officials for the experiences and memories, including a high school playoff game at Johnny’s Icehouse that featured the National Anthem sung by Jim Cornelison, who sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O Canada” at Chicago Blackhawks games.

“That environment was awesome, with a packed house. It was a unique experience,” Hanley said.

“Being embraced and so welcome in Illinois hockey was an amazing experience in my career, something I’ll always remember.”

Hanley praised several Illinois officials for helping improve her game, including Erin Blair, Dave Zednik, Carl Sassolino and others. “There were a number of people in Illinois who were awesome to work with, just as passionate about officiating as I am,” she said.

Hanley said winning the Ben Allison Award is “a tremendous honor.”

“I know we would have been friends, on and off the ice, just based on his character, his character, what he represented,” she said of Allison. “I know how much he meant to so many people from the Chicago area. He made a tremendous impact on so many, especially people from Chicago.

“That’s why the award, and winning the award, is so empowering.”

She said the award “is one of the highlights” of her officiating career.

Eric Cowsill, Illinois Referee-in-Chief added, “In her tenure with IHOA, Kendall always displayed an uplifting attitude and willingness to help, whether it was teaching (at) seminars or helping new officials. It was obvious Kendall is invested in making grassroots officiating better and (she) continues to do so in current endeavors.”

((Pictures courtesy of USAH))

Passing of Mark Gore

 It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that we share the news that Mark Gore, a long-time Illinois official, passed away on January 29, 2021.


Mark was an official, mentor, supervisor, and volunteer in the hockey community. His passion for our game and the friendships that Mark developed over the years will be everlasting. His dedication to our game was so in-depth that IHOA created the Mark Gore Service award. Mark’s son, Nick, was also an Official.

Mark and Eric

Nicole, Pete, and Mark (2005-06) Pleasant Prairie Sportsplex- All Girls’ Weekend

To read a great article reflecting on Mark’s life on and off the ice, click here:

2020-21 AHAI | IHOA Advanced Development Program


Advanced Development Program

The AHAI | IHOA Advanced Development Program plans on restarting in the near future via virtual Zoom meetings. The dates for the program are still being determined; however, anyone interested in the Advanced Development Program should contact Brad Baumruck at

USA Hockey Service Awards: Illinois’ Sjoukje Brown & Bob Mathson

Illinois’ Sjoukje Brown & Bob Mathson Receive USA Hockey Service Awards

5 YEARS SERVICE: Sjoukje Brown
Central District Referee-In-Chief

The continued growth and development of USA Hockey would not be possible without the contributions of a network of dedicated volunteer field personnel. These individuals share in USA Hockey’s success and accomplishments year after year. Their selfless work and commitment continue to make a difference in the sport of hockey and in the lives of the people who play the game. USA Hockey annually recognizes the outstanding contributions of national- and district-level volunteers who have served at least 5 years with the organization as a district registrar, associate registrar, coach-in-chief, referee-in-chief, risk manager, section representative or member of the board of directors.


USAH Facemask Guideline – May 2020

Posted on Player Safety:

As USA Hockey continues adapting to the coronavirus situation, the safety of participants always remains our top priority.

FACEMASK QUESTIONS: USA Hockey has been asked about the effectiveness of a full clear shield on helmets in mitigation of COVID-19 and also about whether masks should be worn to cover the mouth and nose under helmets while practicing/playing. See below for guidance and/or click here for information.

As together we make our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, USA Hockey has been asked if wearing a helmet with a full clear shield is better than a visor (half shield) or cage. In addition, many are asking about players wearing a face mask to cover their mouth/nose while practicing or in games. Below is information that we hope is helpful.


There is no scientific proof that a full clear shield on a hockey helmet provides better protection against infectious diseases compared to a visor (half shield) or cage. That being said, a full clear shield is likely better than a visor (half shield) or cage, as it:

1. Can act as a barrier in case someone in close proximity coughs or sneezes,

2. May be a deterrent to decrease touching of the face (vs. cages where players stick their fingers through the cage),

3. Likely to prevent spitting on the ice/bench (should be enforced regardless).

It should be noted that a full clear shield will not prevent the inhalation of aerosolized droplets, and it is important that, regardless of what kind of mask a player wears, it be cleaned thoroughly after each use.


As for face masks to cover your mouth and nose, the CDC does not currently recommend those be used during physical activity.

*NEW* USA Hockey Screening Program

Effective April 1, 2020, all Screening will be conducted exclusively by the new USA Hockey Screening Program. This will be a National Screening Program that has been mandated by the United States Congress to all National Governing Bodies (NGBs). The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is the NGB that directly oversees USA Hockey.


This new USA Hockey screening is good for a 2 year period, after which a re-screening must be done every two years. It will cost $30.00 per screening. The link for this new USAH Screening on the USA Hockey website: on the Member Registration page, beginning April 1st. This new USAH Screening can be completed entirely online from the USAH website.

**Be aware, as part of this online registration process, this account will prompt you to upload a digital image/copy of your ID (driver’s license, passport or non-driver state ID). Please have a .jpg, .pdf, .bmp, .gif, .tiff, or .png file (less than 4MB) available on your computer prior to beginning your registration. **


The AHAI Screening Program has been discontinued. Anyone that has already been entered/PAID to be Screened by their club Registrar prior to this date must have their fingerprints taken and processed by ISP/FBI and results BACK to AHAI before March 22, 2020. Anyone that has been Screened by AHAI in the 2019-20 season will be valid through the 2020-21 season and will not need a new Screening until 2021-22 season.

Anyone that has previously been Screened through the AHAI Screening Program prior to March 31, 2019 must now be Screened through the new USA Hockey Screening Program by the start of the 2020/21 season September 1st 2020.


Correspondence sent from USAH:

As we hope you are all aware, in order to comply with new requirements from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (“USOPC”), USA Hockey will be implementing a national level background screening policy. Beginning on April 1, 2020, background screening will be conducted by our national background screen vendor, NCSI, and information on background screening will be included following your registration.  This letter is also to notify you of other important dates and information regarding background screening.

As of March 22, 2020, applicants will no longer be able to submit new USA Hockey background screens through Affiliate vendors, and will not be able to submit new screens through NCSI until April 1, 2020.

If you were screened after April 1, 2019 for the 2019-20 season, your screen is valid for the 2020-21 season, and you will not need to be screened under the new system until prior to the 2021-22 season. If your most recent screen is from prior to April 1, 2019, you will need to be screened under the new system, after April 1, 2020, in order to participate in the upcoming season.

All new screens submitted through the new NCSI national screening program after April 1, 2020 will be valid for two seasons.  For example, a screen submitted and approved on April 15, 2020 will be valid through the end of the 2021-22 season, which is August 31, 2022.

Background screens through NCSI under the national program will cost $30 for all domestic screens. For international screens (members who have lived outside of the US for six consecutive months in any one county during the past 7 years) the flat rate fee in $150. If that country is solely Canada, the flat rate fee is $75.

Please note that all coaches, officials, board members, employees, volunteers, billets, and anyone else who will have regular contact with, or authority over, minor athletes are required to submit to a background screen before any such contact with minor athletes.

Thank you,

Casey Jorgensen

AHAI Coronavirus update (03/12/2020)

AHAI Coronavirus update

Update 3/12 10am CST per USAH Statement

There are games/tournaments played throughout the U.S. at the local level that include USA Hockey members that are not national-level events and are operated by districts, affiliates, local associations or even private operators. The decisions relative to those events are made at the local level. We continue to encourage all involved to engage with local health and medical professionals, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, in making educated decisions.



Currently all local AHAI events are continuing as currently scheduled.

AHAI will continue to provide updates regularly on the coronavirus situation at

John Dunne, Executive Director

Clarification: USAH Rule 601(e)3


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.


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.