The Connecticut Hockey Conference is the governing body for USA Hockey in Connecticut
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This page serves as a means of communicating directly to the CHC member organizations on topics regarding officiating. Issues that are COVID specific are found on the officiating COVID-19 page.

Updated Feb 27, 2022

Neck Guards Update

Feb 27, 2022

As decided by CHC member organizations at the February CHC board meeting, effective March 1, 2022, all USA Hockey registered players governed by the CHC affiliate are required to wear BNQ certified neck guards at USA Hockey sanctioned events. This includes practices, scrimmages, jamborees, games, etc. This rule applies to upcoming tournaments at which CT teams will compete. Of specific note are the state tournaments that begin on March 1. This rule applies to CT teams playing out of state regardless of enforcement by the on-ice officials. Coaches are to ensure compliance of their players. This rule does not apply to out-of-state teams whose affiliate has no such requirement. The rule change is documented and available on the CHC web site.

It is the responsiblity of the coaches, parents and players to ensure that players are properly equipped. Officials will ask the coaches in the pre-game conversation to confirm that their players are properly equipped, including neck guards. There will be no pre-game lineup to check for neck guards. Officials will warn and penalize as appropriate for observed non-compliance beginning with the opening faceoff. 

On-ice officials will enforce this rule just like other required protective equipment. For the first offense the player will be sent off the ice and the team shall be warned. Any subsequent offense by any member of that team will result in a misconduct. A second misconduct during the game, for any offense, will result in a game miscondcut per Rule 404a.

Goalkeepers are included in this rule. 

Play shall not be stopped if a neck guard comes off during play. This is consistent with how the rule is enforced for other protective equipment except for helmets. 

Injury and Reckless Endangerment

Dec 21, 2021

The new rule book does not require a major + game misconduct when the outcome of an illegal action is an injury. In the previous rule book, the officials' hands were tied. If there was an injury then they were required to call a major + GM. Under the new rule book, the criteria is whether the action was recklessly endangering to an opponent. The definition of Recklessly Endangers is in Appendix V - Glossary in the rule book. On one hand, that means officials might only have a minor penalty even if a player is injured. On the other hand, officials might have a major + GM even if there is no injury.

Officials judge the action, not the outcome.

When an official has chosen to assess a penalty on an action that results in an injury, they are encouraged to think (and discuss with their partner) whether the action fits the criteria for reckless endangerment. If it does, then a major + GM or match penalty should be assessed. 

Also, officials can no longer assess a bare major. Any major penalty is automatically accompanied by a game misconduct.

Neck Guards

Jan 10, 2022

In light of the Teddy Balkind tragedy last week, it is worth a review of the neck guard rules for USA Hockey and the CHC. Neck guards are recommended pieces of equipment by both USA Hockey and the CHC. For USA Hockey, it's Rule 304g. The CHC Rules and Policies document on the web site (from the 2014-2015 season) calls out neck guards as required equipment. However, the CHC membership voted on Nov 19, 2019 to make neck guards recommended equipment. The link to the meeting minutes are below.

2021-2025 Rule Change Resources

Nov 3, 2021

There are several resources available online to help coaches, players, and officials understand the rules changes effective with the 2021-2025 rule book. They are linked below. The first item is a simplified summary that I use in discussions with coaching staffs to help them understand the rules that have a major impact how the game is coached and played.

Helping Curb Abuse of Officials

Oct 26, 2021

Nationwide, abuse of officials is on the rise. On-ice officials have some tools in their toolbox for dealing with abuse from spectators. One such tool is the spectator ejection policy. The policy is outlined in the Preface section of the rule book, in the Zero Tolerance Policy section.

Click the link above, scroll down to the Parents/Spectators section and read the second paragraph. The officials are empowered to stop the game and have an abusive spectator (or spectators) removed. While waiting for the spectator to leave, the game clock will run and lost time will not be replaced. The actions of the spectators will negatively impact the playing time for all players and possibly the outcome of the game. No one wants to see that happen.

Now scroll a little further to the third full paragraph in that same section. There is a position called the Parent/Spectator Monitor that was a recent addition within the past few years. The goal of this position is to stymie any abuse that may be brewing in the stands before it spills onto the ice and affects the game. It takes a special kind of person to volunteer for that position: a person that is willing to hold others accountable to the Zero Tolerance Policy and the Parents Code of Conduct; a person that thinks it's more important for the kids to enjoy playing the game than it is for a parent to enjoy belittling, demeaning, and abusing an official. The CT officiating staff would very much like to see the Parent/Spectator Monitor positions filled and active.

If there are no such special people willing to step up, then the on-ice officials must react with appropriate measure when the abuse happens. When the abuse comes from the stands, it is difficult for officials to pick out an individual. In those cases, officials are empowered to invoke the spectator ejection policy and clear the stands. While this seems like a harsh action, the possibility of it happening should serve as deterrent and may spur other spectators in the stands to take action if the abuse starts brewing.

CHC member organizations, please help stop the abuse before it happens.

The New Checking Standard

Oct 26, 2021

In just a few words, USA Hockey fundamentally changed body checking effective with the 2021-2025 rule book. In prior rule books, in the Glossary section, the objective of a body check was to separate the opponent from the puck. In the new rule book, still in the Glossary section, the objective is to gain possession of the puck. That is a HUGE change.

Checks where there is no chance of gaining possession of the puck because the opponent no longer has possession of the puck are subject to a penalty under 640b Roughing. When contact is unavoidable, the checker is not entitled to follow through with a check. It is the responsibility of the checking player to minimize contact and force.

Checks where there is no attempt to gain possession of the puck from an opponent who does have possession of the puck are subject to a penalty under 640d Roughing. Officials will look for the position of the blade of the stick (must be below the knees) and whether the check was preceded by a stick-on-puck action. Checks delivered with no attempt to gain possession of the puck are generally classified as being meant to intimidate or punish.

A check delivered to an unsuspecting opponent who is already battling for the puck with a teammate, is subject to a penalty under 640b Roughing because the opponent is considered vulnerable and defenseless. The player may enter the gathering to compete for possession of the puck, but not to deliver a check to an unsuspecting opponent.

The link below is to an officiating Zoomcast going over the new rule changes. The section on checking starts at the 43:07 mark of the video.


A Lesson on the Officiating Shortage from Mass Hockey

Oct 6, 2021

Please see this excellent article from Bob Joyce, President of Mass Hockey on the shortage of officials.

We are experiencing our own shortage of officials in CT. This is leading to some games being worked by only one official. That one official will have to make positioning tradeoff choices that they wouldn't have to make when working with a partner.  They might miss some calls. Have patience and understand that 1) the officials are doing their best, and 2) the missed calls are not likely going to impact a player's path to higher levels of hockey. Abusing the officals over the calls may lead to them refusing to work alone - which could cause games to go uncovered and be cancelled. No one wants that.


Relax, It's just a game. - USA Hockey Poster: hockey


Period and penalty durations

Sept 11, 2021

Please find information on CHC period and penalty durations below. 

AGE GROUP                      PERIOD DURATION       MINOR         MAJOR      MISCONDUCT
Youth 10U (all tiers)               12:00             1:00          3:00         6:00

Youth & Girls 12U (all tiers)       15:00             1:30          5:00        10:00
Youth & Girls 14U (all tiers)       16:00             1:30          5:00        10:00
Youth 15Only (all tiers)            17:00             2:00          5:00        10:00
Youth & Girls 16U (all tiers)       17:00             2:00          5:00        10:00
Youth 18U (non-Tier 1)              17:00             2:00          5:00        10:00
Girls 19U (all tiers)               17:00             2:00          5:00        10:00
Youth 18U (Tier 1 only)             20:00             2:00          5:00        10:00

Under new USA Hockey rules, period duration dictates minor penalty duration. The table above implements these rules.

12 min or less    1:00
13-16 min         1:30
17-20 min         2:00

For games played in halves, divide total game time by three to get period length.