Welcome to the GYF 2023-2024 Hockey Season!

Greetings Everyone,

My name is Casey Brown.  I will be taking on the role as Lead Referee this season.  I am grateful and excited for this opportunity.

As we continue with player evaluations, I wanted to thank the refs who have been helping to fill slots for evaluation scrimmages.  During evaluations we are also providing referee training.  I want to thank everyone who has signed up and attended our training session last Sunday and those who are planning to attend this coming Sunday.

I am creating a comprehensive list of volunteer referees and will be sending out some information regarding scheduling for upcoming games.

GYF uses the USA Hockey Rulebook as the fundamental guide for our refs.  The only significant deviation is that GYF still uses delayed offsides.  USA Hockey categorizes the type of hocky play into two groups.  “Body Checking” category and “Competitive Contact” category.   GYF falls in the USA Hockey “Competitive Contact” category.  USA Hockey uses these two categories to provide clarification of the type of contact that is allowed in the categories.

Inside the USA Hockey Rulebook Appendices, you can find the Standard of Play Casebook.  I am including the link to that page below.

USA Hockey Rulebook Standard of Play Casebook

There are 25 Situations listed. These are great examples of questions that are often asked by players, coaches and spectators.  I recommend looking at these situations.  I am adding in a few here that offer some clarification regarding competitive contact.

Situation Eight

Is there a difference in what is allowed in a Body Checking category versus a Competitive Contact category when it comes to competing for the puck and body position?

Competitive contact and body position are very important parts of both the body checking and competitive contact games. Although there will be some differences in the amount of force that may be allowed at the younger or lower levels, the same principle of establishing body position exists in both categories and the methods used are the same. The only exception is the use of a body check, which is illegal in the Competitive Contact category.

Situation Fourteen

In a Competitive Contact category, two players are skating toward the puck with the clear intent of playing the puck. As they both arrive at the puck, a collision takes place and the bigger and stronger player knocks the opponent to the ice. Is this a penalty for body checking?

No, provided both players are focused on playing the puck, this would be considered to be incidental contact that should not be penalized.

However, if the one player were to drop their shoulder in order to make the contact with the opponent, their focus is no longer on the puck and instead became an effort to play the body. In this instance, a penalty for body checking shall be assessed.


Situation Fifteen

In a Competitive Contact category, a Team A player is skating up the ice along the side boards with the puck. The Team B player in pursuit has established an angle that allows them to close the gap along the boards and minimize the space the player with the puck has to go through. Contact between the players occurs and the Team A player is knocked into the boards and loses possession of the puck. Should a penalty for body checking be called?

No, provided the Team B player does not use any overt hip, shoulder or forearm action to make contact with the opponent and simply maintains their skating lane and focuses on closing the gap and gaining possession of the puck.


Situation Sixteen

How much competitive contact should be allowed at the younger levels of play?

Competitive body contact should be allowed in all instances provided it is done within the definition of competitive contact. Competitive contact is a hockey skill that needs to be developed and encouraged at all levels of play. Players should be allowed to compete and gain possession of the puck using their body to establish and maintain their position using legal methods.

At the same time, officials should be diligent in enforcing body checking in Competitive Contact categories any time a player shifts their focus away from playing the puck and instead intentionally plays the body with an overt hip, shoulder or forearm with no attempt to gain possession of the puck.


Here are some links to the USA Hockey Rulebook and the USA Hockey Basic Officiating Manual.  These are great resources to help understand the gameplay.

USA Hockey Rulebook

USA Hockey Basic Officiating Manual

Please reach out to me with any questions>


Casey Brown