By Mark Lichtenfeld. Originally published at


November is definitely tournament time and OS just finished the four-day, 24-hour Armed Forced Tournament here in the Valley. Easily one of the biggest hockey weekends ever and the play was fast and lumberjack-free for the most part. These servicemen can dish it out and they take it, too.

Still, there were several observations that need to be published in order to educate the hockey community. From referee errors to players’ rule ignorance, OS is going to elaborate on several situations to assist all of you parents, coaches and skaters who will be attending your own, respective tournaments over the Thanksgiving holiday.


Situation 1. Goal scored during delayed penalty to team already shorthanded by non-coincident minor. In this situation, the penalty already being served terminates and the delayed penalty is assessed in its entirety. See Rule 409 (b) for further clarification. Do not argue to the official that the delayed penalty terminates upon scoring of the goal. That will simply show your ignorance.


Situation 2. Slashing puck-handler across the shin guards. Refrain from beefing that this is legal. Check out the Preface to the USA Hockey Rulebook, p. xiii. The use of the stick will be limited to only playing the puck. Any stick contact, as a result of a slashing motion, to the hands/arms or body of the opponent will be strictly penalized. Now normally us veteran referees will holler “sticks down!” after the first few slashes. But if the contact continues, expect a penalty. And the Preface supports us.


Situation 3. Slashing at goalie once puck is covered but before whistle blows. OK, there may be a fraction of a second between coverage and whistle. But it doesn’t matter. The book clearly states that once the goalkeeper has clearly covered the puck, any stick contact with the glove must be penalized as slashing. See USA Hockey Casebook, page 306, Situation 4. Normally, us vets use this rule to tone down chippy games. In other words, we know when it’s a legitimate play on a loose puck as opposed to a guy just trying to be a jerk.


Situation 4. The zebra who is clearly on his game. Want to know a fail-proof secret to separate the quality zebras from those striped impersonators? Check out the officials’ procedures on delayed penalties. Specifically, watch the official who has not assessed the infraction. Is his arm pointed in the direction of the netminder looking to substitute for a sixth skater during the delayed call? If it is, you bet this ref knows his stuff. I’m not going to analyze this further, except to state that in many of the games I do, this procedure is not followed. Enough said.

Well, maybe a bit more. In fact, if the official does whistle down a premature substitution, the faceoff is either at center ice, assuming the play was stopped in the attacking zone of the non-penalized team, or the draw is at the last play spot if the action is shut down behind the red line of the non-penalized team. Under no circumstances does the draw go to the neutral zone if the play is stopped in the non-penalized team’s attacking zone. Got that?


Situation 5. The time out procedure. As regular readers know, Rule 636(f), is my favorite rule. Simply, it states that a time out must be called prior to the conclusion of the line change procedure. In other words, don’t even think about setting for the faceoff and then just as the official is about to drop the puck, demanding a time out. It’s not going to happen. And if it does, please report the incident to OS for further investigation.


(Attention all you Chicago readers: OS will be in town this weekend. Look for OS at Vernon Hills on Saturday night for the annual Saturday-before-Thanksgiving game between two local high school archrivals, and then again at Lake Forest College Sunday evening for another high school game).


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Reprinted with permission.