Boys Hockey - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented. Robert B. Gardner, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2017

NOTE: Please use the Goalkeeper Mask Guide on page 78 as a point of reference to distinguish between a HECC-certi- fied face mask and a non-certified HECC face mask for goalkeepers.

On page 83, the Summary of Penalties chart should indicate that Rules 2-5- 10, 4-7-8 and 8-4-1 should be listed under “Penalty Shot (only).” Rules 7- 16-3, 8-2-3 and 8-8-1 should be listed under “Penalty Shot or Awarded Goal Options.”

SITUATION 1: How may a water bottle be attached to the goal frame? RULING: Preferably, a manufactured water bottle sleeve should be used. Otherwise, the bottle itself shall be secured to the netting on the top or back of the goal frame. (1-3-5)

SITUATION 2: A delayed penalty for too many players on the ice is being signaled. By the time play is stopped, other players from that team are on the ice. Who may the captain choose to serve the penalty? RULING: Even though the player(s) creating the delayed penalty may not be on the ice when play is stopped, only the play- ers who are then on the ice are eligible to serve the penalty. (2-2-6)

SITUATION 3: A player spits in the direction of the opposing team’s coach, but no direct contact occurs. RULING: Game disqualification. The action must be penalized whether or not actual contact occurs. (6-1-9)

SITUATION 4: An attacking player in the neutral zone shoots the puck, which deflects off Team B’s goal frame and goes directly out of the rink. RULING: If shot from the attacking half of the neutral zone, faceoff at the nearest neutral zone faceoff spot con- sistent with Rule 9-1-8. If shot from the defending half of the neutral zone, this could be icing the puck if the puck crosses the goal line after the deflection. If the puck does not cross the goal line or if it is not an icing-the- puck situation, faceoff is at the nearest neutral zone faceoff spot consistent with Rule 9-1-8. (9-1-9) 

1-3-5:ART. 5…A water bottle may be attached to the goal net for use by a goalkeeper. TheIf a water bottle is used, it must be securedly tied to the top or back of the net goal frame.

Rationale: Water bottles that are not secured to the goal frame end up on the ice and interfere with play. This can affect the flow of the game as well as keep items off of the playing surface

2-2-5:ART. 5…The referee(s) shall meet with the captain(s) and head coaches prior to the start of the game.

Rationale: Rule 3-6 requires head coaches to verify to the referee that all participants are properly equipped. This change requires the head coach to meet with the officials and ensures the verification that all participants are properly equipped. This change would also occur in Rule 5-3d.

2-2-6: ART. 6…When rules indicate “captain’s choice of players” for serving the penalty, the captain must select a player who was on the ice when play was stopped the infraction occurred, excluding the goalkeeper.

Rationale: During a delayed penalty call, it is very difficult to monitor the specific players on the ice, as they are changing frequently. This change would simplify the process for officials to identify a player on the ice rather than recall who was on the ice at the moment the infraction occurred. Rule 4-2-8 would have the same change, as it is identical language.

6-1-9 NEW: ART. 9…No player, coach or team personnel shall spit at an opponent, teammate or game official.


Rationale: Officials have latitude to handle this situation with other rules, however this rule is specific and emphasizes the severity of the action.

9-1-2:ART. 2…The official dropping the puck shall set the players by blowing the whistle and holding the puck at the belt-line.

Rationale: This is a universal standard in hockey, however the NFHS rules have never had specific language to cover it. This change reinforces the current faceoff procedures that are already in practice in high school hockey.

1-9-3, 4-2-8, 5-3d, 6-1-8, 9-1-11i

The NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee continues in its belief that the main threat to the health of high school ice hockey is violent and reckless play. The safety and well-being of the participants is paramount and the primary focus of this committee. The committee has addressed the following areas to minimize dangerous, violent and reckless play.



  • A fair body-check is one in which a player checks an opponent who is in the possessionofthepuck
  • Boarding and checking from behind are viewed as two of the most dangerous plays in the sport. Coachesandplayers must understand thattheresponsibility in this rule remains with the player approaching an opponent along the boards.
  • The following are illegal and need to be eliminated from high school hockey:

o    Hits to the head
o    Fighting
o    Hits on defenseless players (blind side hits)
o    Late hits and unnecessary body contact


The NFHS has been at the forefront of national sportsorganizationsinemphasizingtheimportanceofeducation,recognitionand proper management of concussions.

  • Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms orbehaviorsconsistentwithaconcussionshallbeimmediatelyremovedfromthe game.
  • State association protocol pertaining to concussion management must be reviewed and followed.
  • Please review Rule 2-6-1 and the Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussions on page87. Additional concussion education can be found in the “Concussion in Sports” online course at



  • All coaches, officials, administrators, parents and participants need to understand their role in education-based athletics and activities.
  • Fair play and respect are an essential part of high school hockey.
  • Create a positive learning environment and respect all participants, fans, officials, coaches and administrators.



  • Faceoffs – Both teams must have an equal opportunity to play the puck. This requires proper positioning of all players and the official conducting the faceoff.  
  • Icing – If the puck is shot from behind the center red line, potential icing applies. It is improper to waive icing simply because the puck is close to the center red line.
  • Offsides – Officials must always be in a proper position to accurately determine offsides. A goal scored on an obvious offsides play will adversely impact the officials’ credibility throughout the game.
  • Calling the game – A smooth flowing game is a great experience for all participants and spectators. However, this does not mean that officials should “let them play.” Offenses must be penalized at all times during the game, regardless of score or period.



  • It is the responsibility of the head coach to ensure that all participants are equipped according to the rules.
  • All players shall wear a HECC certified helmet and face mask, includingJ-clips, earpieces and a valid HECC Certification sticker.A school administrator or designee must annually review all helmets and face masks to confirmcompliance.
  • All players shall wear a mouthguard during play.
  • Tauntingandunsportsmanlikeconductdirectedatopponents or officials will not betolerated.
  • Please be aware of the penalty for racial, ethnic and gender slurs.




Direct, Indirect Contact to the Head Penalties in High School Ice Hockey Continue Focus on Risk Minimization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      Contact: Dan Schuster

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 19, 2016) — In continuing efforts to minimize the risk of injury and spread concussion awareness in high school ice hockey, specific definitions for direct contact and indirect contact to the head, along with specific penalties for each, have been added to provide clarity. 

These revisions and seven other rules changes were recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Ice Hockey Rules Committee at its April 25-26 meeting in Indianapolis. All 2016-17 ice hockey rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

In its ongoing attempt to minimize the risk of injury in the sport, the Ice Hockey Rules Committee added two new articles to Rule 7-6 to clarify between direct contact and indirect contact to the head. Previously, the rule stated: “No player shall make contact from any direction with an opposing player’s head or neck area in any manner, including, but not limited to, with the shoulder, stick, elbow, etc.”

            Now, Rule 7-6-2 defines direct contact to the head as when the initial force of the contact occurs to the head or neck area, resulting in a flagrant foul. Direct contact carries a major or game disqualification penalty. According to Rule 7-6-3, indirect contact to the head occurs when the initial force of the contact begins below the neck and progresses upward to the head or neck area. Indirect contact carries a minor penalty, unless the contact is flagrant, in which case, a major or game disqualification is assessed.

“The change is consistent with the committee’s goal to spread awareness of head injury and concussions,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the Ice Hockey Rules Committee. “This change appropriately penalizes players for hits to the head. This will certainly provide clarity for officials, but it will also be a positive for high school hockey and help create a safe playing environment for participants.”

            Language regarding penalty shots in Rule 4-7-3 was revised to include language to address the designation of a replacement player due to injury. The revised rule states if the fouled player is injured, the shot may be taken by any player of the non-offending side who is on the ice when play is stopped.

            In addition, a new article was added to Rule 4-6 regarding major penalties and suspensions. The current wording only refers to players, when the intent of the disqualification penalty is to have the same consequence apply for all participants. The new addition states: “All provisions of Rule 4-6, including the major penalty and suspension, shall apply for a game disqualification assessed to a coach or other team personnel.”

            In order to create consistency regarding the penalty structure within Rule 2-3, the committee added a penalty to both Article 1 and Article 2 to create a consequence for noncompliance regarding players in uniform.

            Addressing warm-ups, previously players were allowed to skate the entire ice surface until a team assumed its own end. The rules committee removed that language from Rule 9-10-3 and replaced it with “each team shall proceed to its end of the ice and continue activity to its own end of the rink for the duration of the warm-up.” This change was made to avoid unnecessary interaction between teams during the warm-up.

            Language regarding participant conduct in Rule 6-1-6 was added to reinforce the zero tolerance policy for insensitive language. The rules committee added that no gender slurs shall be used by players, coaches or other team personnel.

            Previously, Article 5 of Rule 9-1 described the location of where players and sticks should be during a faceoff. Now it states: “Excluding goalkeepers, players shall take a stationary position on all faceoffs before the puck is dropped,” which will help clarify the process of a faceoff and eliminate motion prior to faceoffs.

 “Motion prior to the faceoff can certainly serve as an advantage for a team. This rule change will eliminate the advantage and level the playing field for faceoffs,” Schuster said.

            The final rules change addresses when a puck is grasped by hand and play is stopped. The rules committee moved 9-1-8j to 9-1-11j to make this infraction consistent with similar infractions, such as high-sticking and hand passes. The resulting faceoff will now take place in the defending zone of the offending team, not the nearest faceoff spot.

A complete listing of the ice hockey rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Ice Hockey.”

According to the 2014-15 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, there are 35,875 boys participating in ice hockey in 1,603 schools across the country, and 9,418 girls playing the sport in 615 schools.

This press release was written by Maddie Koss, a 2016 summer intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department. She is a senior sports media major at Butler University. 

To help ensure all coaches understand the new “unlimited” non-school contact rules, listed below is a checklist and a detailed explanation with examples on how to proceed to ensure that you are not violating or circumventing any of the rules.  

NOTE:  Coaches still have five(5) days of unrestricted school coaching contact. The head coach can communicate directly with your team on what those dates are. You can utilize school funds and utilize school transportation for these five(5) days of unrestricted coaching contact. 


1.     Find a non-school organization to work with to set up your unlimited summer contact schedule.  This is important as point 2 will detail all the work required of the non-school organization to ensure you as the coach are not circumventing the “unlimited non-school coaching contact” rule requirement.

a.      Most people will use their booster club.  It does NOT have to be your booster club.  If you have differences with the people on your booster club, find another non-school organization to work with.  It is highly encouraged, and most likely will be required by your local school district, that the non-school organization that you work with must have liability insurance to book your facilities.

b.     If you own a non-school entity that has liability insurance and files tax returns, you can act as an agent of your own a non-school entity and do everything outlined in letter a. But we highly recommend you use your non-school entity email, documents, phone line, etc. to communicate the following items.

Example:  An individual owns a business that has liability insurance and is the current head coach.  They can act as the agent of their business to complete the items in point 2.  We encourage you to avoid using a personal business if possible to eliminate unnecessary questions from your community or school district.

2.     Once you have located your non-school organization, we strongly recommend the coach find an individual(s) (not required) in the organization that will do the following tasks:

a.      Reserve facilities for your program events.

b.     Set your summer schedule and communicate to your program members and community.

c.      Set summer team tryout dates.

                                               i.     Communicate that being a part of this team has no bearing on students making a school team or on team status next season.

                                              ii.     All players in your community and non-community are allowed to try out.

d.     Name you as the coach of the summer team.

                                               i.     Once you are named as the summer team coach, you can then run the tryouts and select your team.

1.     We strongly encourage that you have a tryout procedure in place.  An example is enclosed.

e.      Submit entries for all summer events with payment.

                                               i.     If you have been using high school activity accounts and are not comfortable handling money, please work with your school district and the organization you are going to work with to figure how to transfer the money to the non-school entity to pay for those events.

                                              ii.     Have all money collected from families be made payable to the non-school organization you will be working with.


3.     Items to make sure you do when organizing workout sessions.

a.      The organization you are working with must do the following:

                                               i.     Post the dates

                                              ii.     Again, reserve the facility

                                            iii.     DO NOT LABEL THEM AS OPEN GYMS

                                            iv.     Identify you or members of your staff as the instructors

b.     Coaches can now coach their players on AAU/club teams but cannot start coaching them until the school year ends.



Can a booster group or individual purchase ice to run “practices” for a high school team all summer long?

A two-part response to this question:

First, yes, any non-school organization can purchase ice time.  NO school monies or resources can be used and schools cannot sponsor the events/activities.  A booster club is considered to be a non-school organization.  **Note—Schools can use school funds for use of facilities during the five-day unrestricted summertime period beginning with the first day of summer and ending July 31.

Secondly, regarding practice during this rented ice time.  The period when this can occur must be between the first and last day of summer vacation.  The sessions must be open to any and all interested students in the community and other communities and be voluntary.  

Can the coach of that high school team coach the kids outside of the 5 contact days?

If the high school coach is employed by the non-school organization, that coach is allowed to coach/instruct students participating in that rented ice session.  These sessions cannot be mandated for participation by a coach, nor can a coach determine who may or may not participate in the non-school activity.

Can the practices be exclusively for members of the high school team or high school co-op team?

No, sessions must be open to any and all interested students in the community and other communities, be voluntary, and may not be mandated for participation by a coach, nor can a coach determine who may or may not participate in the non-school activity.

Can a coach compete with and against players from a team he/she will be playing against during a non-school summertime hockey league?

Coaches can continue to compete against players they will be coaching in the next WIAA high school hockey season.  However, they are not allowed to play “with” a player they will be coaching during the next season, nor provide instruction to a player as a competitor.

Coaches are only able to provide instruction to players they will be coaching in the next WIAA high school season by being a coach hired to coach by a non-school organization.  Coaches are not able to provide instruction as a competitor playing on a different team during the summertime period.

Tom Shafranski, CAA

WIAA Assistant Director

April 24, 2015

Printable Version - Please print and place in your rules book for reference.

2017-18 Rule Differences (posted 11/7/17)

Cash Flow Bulletin (April, 2011) 

MRSA Information

Goalie Glove Specifications

On Ice Positioning

WIAA Line Change Procedure

Game Scoresheet

Available for purchase  Hockey Score Sheets in Triplicate

25 sheets for $5.00 plus $3 to handle shipping (whether you order 25, 50, 75, etc). Contact Deb Lepak at the WIAA office.

Renew Efforts to Eliminate Checking from Behind

Tournament Assignments will be available via The Arbiter.

Arbiter Online Help for Officials

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Wisconsin Interscholastic
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