The SPHL will be piloting video review of goals for the 2023-24 season. 

The league, in partnership with Sporfie, will be outfitting two arenas with replay equipment.  The technology will be available for all 28 home games of the Evansville Thunderbolts and the Pensacola Ice Flyers. 

“After discussion by the Board of Governors about video replay, we are excited to create this pilot program with Sporfie,” said SPHL Commissioner Doug Price. “By starting with two teams, it will allow us to test the replay system and on-ice protocol and see what effect it has on our games.”

Reviews will be at the referee’s discretion and limited to the following situations:

• Puck crossing the goal line
• Puck entering the net using a distinct kicking motion
• Puck entering the net before the goal frame is dislodged
• Puck directed, batted, or thrown into the net by an attacking player.

Unlike in the NHL, the final determination on the play is entirely up to the on-ice official.

Here’s the newly-added Rule 88 in the SPHL Rule Book, which covers Video Review:

88.1 Video Review – It shall be the Referee’s sole discretion as to whether the use of the video review system shall be utilized for any apparent goal or nongoal that takes place during the course of the game.  Any potential goal requiring video review must be reviewed prior to or during the next stoppage of play. No goal may be awarded (or disallowed) as a result of video review once the puck has been dropped and play has resumed. When a team scores an apparent goal that is not immediately awarded by the on-ice officials, play shall be blown down and reviewed at the sole discretion of the on-ice officials. If the goal is confirmed by video review, the clock (including penalty time clocks, if applicable) shall be re-set to the time the goal was scored. If the goal is not confirmed by video review, no adjustment is required to the game clock time.

88.2 Procedure – If the Referee determines the use of the video review system is necessary, the referee shall inform the off-ice official at ice level and the Public Address Announcer shall announce that “The play is now under review”. Once the play has been reviewed and deemed a goal, the goal will be announced in the normal manner. If the review reveals that the goal must be disallowed, the Public Address Announcer shall announce the reason for the disallowed goal as reported by the Referee.

When the Referee indicates there is to be a video review, all players (with the exception of the goalkeepers) will go to their respective players’ bench immediately. During the period of video review, no replay of the situation may be shown on the arena video screen or any other public video monitor.

88.3 Situations Subject to Video Review – The following are the only situations subject to video review by the Referee.

(i) Puck crossing the goal line.

(ii) Puck crossing the goal line prior to the goal frame being dislodged.

(iii) With the use of a foot/skate, was a distinct kicking motion evident? If so, the apparent goal must be disallowed. A distinct kicking motion is one which the player propels the puck with his skate into the net. If the Referee determines that it was put into the net by an attacking player using a distinct kicking motion, it must be ruled no goal. This would also be true even if the puck, after being kicked, deflects off any other player of either team and then into the net. This is still no goal. How ever, a puck that enters the goal after deflecting off an attacking player’s skate or that deflects off his skate while he is in the process of stopping, shall be ruled a good goal. See also 49.2.

(iv) When the puck has been directed, batted, or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick. When this occurs, if it is deemed to be done deliberately, then the decision shall be no goal. A goal cannot be scored when the puck has been deliberately batted with any part of the attacking player’s body into the net.

88.4 Coach’s Challenge – There are no Coach’s challenges in the SPHL.

88.5 Video Review Assistant – The position of Video Review Assistant shall be recognized as an official off-ice officials position required for each League game to assist the Referee in the timely review of any situation subject to video review as outlined under Rule 88.3.

88.6 Logistics and Equipment – The video review tablet shall be located at the scorer’s table positioned between the penalty boxes or in the penalty box. The Referee shall have full control of the video review system at all times with the assistance of the Video Review Assistant if necessary.

88.7 Final Decision – If the Referee determines the use of video review is necessary, the Referee shall not be required to consult with the Goal Judge. In determining whether to award an apparent goal, the video review must conclusively show the entire puck entered the net legally with regard to the situations subject to review as outlined above. After the play has been reviewed with the use of the video review system, the Referee shall make the final decision.


“We look forward to supporting the SPHL as they pilot our Video Replay platform this season. The pilot teams will also enjoy the extended capabilities of the Sporfie platform; including instant highlights for marketing and a unique fan engagement experience, all from the same setup,” said Sami Karoui, CEO of Sporfie. “This partnership expands our continued commitment to provide a simple, flexible and affordable solution that serves the needs of the league, its teams and their fans.”

Here’s hoping for a successful pilot for the SPHL in making the right call!