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On-Line Canadian Hockey Association Official Rules Book
If you are interested in looking up any of the official rules which apply to all minor hockey players in Canada, make sure you check out the CHA On-Line Rule Book.
The following articles are written to address some of the more misunderstood  infractions which occur during a hockey game.
bulletHand Passes - Not A Simple Call
This rule is one of the most commonly disputed calls during the course of a game, especially at the minor hockey level.  The rule is very simple to understand if one takes the time to logically think about some situations that may happen during a game.
bulletDelayed Off-Sides: Keeping The Game Moving
Possibly one of the most welcome rule changes of all time was the one which allowed a delayed off-side to be nullified once everyone from the attacking team clears the zone. This one rule change has done more to improve the flow of the game than any other, especially at the younger ages when children are just learning about off-sides.
bulletChecking From Behind: Where Did The Respect Go?
Checking from behind has been around since hockey has been played on ponds but not until recently has this issue been looked at seriously. This need to enforce this rule arose in part by the lack of respect for an opponent’s well being that is shown in almost every hockey game.
bulletImpact Penalties - Setting The Tone
Impact infractions are a large part of the game of hockey. When a player commits an impact infraction it is usually so obvious that everyone in the arena expects a call to be made. Referees are advised to have "zero tolerance" with respect to all impact penalties because they tend to involve the illegal use of a stick or fist on an opponent and are the type of infractions which can lead to retaliation, rough play and anger on the part of players from both sides.
bulletFace-Offs: Encroachment
Everything has to start somewhere and in hockey it is with the "face-off". Face-offs occur dozens of times each game, and for the most part they are done without incident. However, from time to time, problems occur and the official has to take action.
bulletSlew-Footing: Potential For Serious Injury
Slew Footing has become a common infraction throughout Minor Hockey leagues across the country. Slew footing can be a very useful move and at the same time a very dangerous move. Slew footing allows smaller or weaker players to get a larger, stronger player off balance or off the puck at the very least.
bulletHead Checking - A Simple Rule - A Tough Call
Deliberate checks to the head are not only the cause of many major injuries in hockey today, but they are also the cause of much of the violence that occurs on the ice. When a teammate receives a vicious check to the head, players become infuriated and often go out of their way to seek revenge. These actions thus cause a great deal of strife for the referee and tend to bring out the worst in parents and coaches.
bulletFor a more in-depth look at the rules of hockey, make sure you visit our online full-length feature book:
For The Sake Of The Game...Hockey Without The Silver Lining

This is a little section for all of the hockey experts who think they know the rules of the game. Read some of the questions and situations that follow. See if you can come up with the correct calls. Be careful though, some of the questions are tricky. Just remember that the referee has to come up with the answers immediately and without the benefit of checking the rule book. If you have any situations you would like to add, send them in along with your answers. I am sure our readers would enjoy the "challenge".

Rule 62, Situation 6 & 7:  A player from Team "A" contacts the puck with a high stick in the neutral zone and the puck goes into the corner of the defending zone of Team "B".  Players from Team "A" refrains from playing the puck as they are aware that if they touch the puck the face-off will be brought outside Team "B's" end zone and into the neutral zone.  Team "B" also refrains from playing the puck in their defending zone waiting for Team "A" to touch the puck and force the play to be stopped and a face-off to move outside in the neutral zone.  The referee blows his/her whistle as neither team is playing the puck.  Where is the face-off?


Rule 72, Situation 13:  Team "A" is in Team "B's" end zone.  A player from Team "B" shoots the puck over his defending blue line into the neutral zone.  The puck then deflects off another player from Team "B" in the neutral zone and bounces back into Team "B's" end zone.  Team "A" still has players in Team "B's" end zone.  Is this a delayed off-side call or is it on-side?


Rule 60, Situation 10:  Team "A" shoots the puck at the goal of Team "B".  The puck enters the net but immediately bounces out again without the Referee seeing the goal.  The Referee suspects there may have been a goal scored but allows play to continue.  At the first stoppage of play the Referee checks with his linesmen and Goal Judge (if appropriate).  At least one of them saw the puck enter the net and the Referee awards a goal to Team "A".
Question #1:  Should the Linesman who saw the puck enter the net have blown the play immediately?
Question #2:  Should the clock be reset to the time the goal was scored (or as near as can be estimated by the officials)?
Question #3:  If Team "B" scored before the play was stopped, would the Team "B" goal count?
Marty Kirwan, OHL Referee and Contributing Editor to After The Whistle, demonstrates some of the more common signals. For a larger photo, simply click on the picture.
The signal shown is that of a "Tripping" penalty. The referee contacts his hand with a part of his leg situated close to or below the knee area, just like a stick or body part would contact that area of a player which would cause him to trip.
This photo is what you will see when a Referee assesses a Checking From Behind penalty. The Referee will have his palms facing out with his fingers pointed towards the sky. The arms start at the chest and end in the above position.
The signal shown is that of a "Slashing" penalty. The referee places one arm straight out in front of himself and uses his other arm in a chopping motion to make contact with his outstretched arm, much like a stick does to a player.
The signal shown is that of a "Boarding" penalty.  The referee signals this by striking the clenched fist of one hand into the open palm of the opposite hand in front of the chest.
The signal shown is that of a "Bodychecking" penalty.  The referee uses his/her non-whistle hand for this signal.  With an open palm, and with the fingers together, the referee comes across their body on to the opposite shoulder.
The signal shown is that of a "Butt-Ending" penalty.  The referee will use one arm to come across his chest with his hand open and flat.  He will use his other arm to close his hand into a fist and come across his chest under the hand which is open and flat.
The signal shown is that of a "Cross-Checking" penalty.  The referee will use a forward and backward motion of the arms with both fists clenched, extending from the chest for a distance of about one foot.  The ref will start the signal close to his body, make a motion outward from his body and bring it back.
This signal is to display that the referee will be calling a penalty.  The signal is refereed to as a "Delayed Penalty".  The referee will extend his non-whistle hand directly into the air with his hand open.
The signal shown is that of a "Elbowing" penalty.  The referee will raise one arm in a bent position and tap that arm's elbow with the open palm of the other hand.


The signal shown is that of a "High Sticking" penalty.  The referee will hold both fists clenched, one immediately above the other at the height of the forehead.
The signal shown is that of a "Holding" penalty.  The referee will clasp either wrist with the other hand in front of the chest.
The signal shown is that of a "Hooking" penalty.  The Referee will make a tugging motion with both arms as if pulling something from in front toward the stomach.
The signal shown is that of an "Interference" penalty.  The Referee will cross both arms stationary in from of the chest.  Both hands will be open with the palms facing inward towards the referee.
The signal shown is that of a "Match Penalty" penalty.  The referee will pat the open palm of one hand on the top of the head.
The signal shown is that of a "Misconduct" penalty.  This is for either a Misconduct, Game Misconduct, or Gross Misconduct of any kind.  The referee will place both hands on the side of his hips.
The signal shown is that of a "Penalty Shot".  With the hands of the referee closed in a fist, he will raise both arms directly over his head and cross both arms.
The signal shown is that of a "Roughing" penalty.  The referee will close one hand into a clenched position and extend one arm outward to the front or side of the body.  This looks like a punching motion.
The signal shown is that of a "Spearing" penalty.  The referee will conduct a jabbing motion with both hands thrust out immediately in front of the body and then hands dropped to the side of the body.


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