Click to Display

In order to comply with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 149, Sections 54 – 105, all officials must reach the age of 14 prior to being allowed to officiate USA Hockey games within the Massachusetts District.  In addition, all officials age 14 to 17 must submit the proper documentation to the league(s) they work for prior to being assigned any games. M.G.L. Chapter 149 also restricts officials age 14 to 17 on the number of hours they can work in a day and the times of day they are allowed to officiate.


Interested in becoming a USA Hockey certified official? We’d love for you to join the hardest working team on the ice! Below are the top 6 most common questions we receive each year from prospective individuals.

Is there a minimum age an individual must be to become certified as an official?

In order to comply with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 149, Sections 54 – 105, all officials must reach the age of 14 prior to being allowed to officiate USA Hockey games within the Massachusetts District

What expenses will I incur getting started?

The USA Hockey registration fee for Level 1 officials is $55.00 (plus the affiliate fee TBD for 24/25). Officials registration is separate from players/coaches so make sure you can attend a seminar before registering. Consider the fact the official will need a black helmet (no team logos) with half visor, sweater, referee pants, whistle(s), etc. Just like with players and coaches, registration must be completed every year to be eligible to continue officiating games.

How much of a time commitment will I need to put in?

From what we’ve experienced over the years, this is the factor that is the most overlooked by either new officials or their guardians. In addition to the registration requirements, USA Hockey expects all referees to stay current with all playing rules, policies, and local procedures. Parents of underaged officials who do not possess a driver’s license, need to be aware that their son or daughter will need to be timely transported to and from all necessary USA Hockey registration requirements and future game assignments.

What can I expect in my first year?

Ideally, brand new level 1 referees will begin officiating cross ice games to make them feel as comfortable and supported as possible. We’ve found these low pressure opportunities to be one of the best at developing confidence and long term success. It is extremely important to let you assignor know that you are a new a official so that they can schedule you appropriately with an experienced official at an appropriate level. Progression to higher level assignments takes place differently from one referee to another. While this is stated at all of our seminars, we feel like realistic expectations cannot be stressed enough. Keep in mind that many opportunities and games for new officials occur on the weekends, during the hockey season, when that official may be playing in contests of their own. Practice, tournaments, various sport activities, family obligations, vacations, schoolwork, and personal duties are just some of the constraints underaged officials face. Availability plays a huge part in the short and long term success, along with how fun this activity is for the official. If he or she is uninterested, overloaded, or simply not enjoying being a referee, the experience will likely not be positive.

What does the scheduling process look like? How do I get paid?

Massachusetts has numerous assignors, all whom are listed on our website. A majority of the assignors have their specific method of assigning games. Once you receive your crest and card, reach out to the assignor(s) that you would like to work for and they will explain their specific process. The payment process is also unique to the specific assignor. Much of the assigning process is done on a personal level, and all officials must advocate for themselves.

Finally, the officials who receive the most game assignments are those who have become a “low maintenance official.” These are the officials who are available to work when and where the most games are being played. They have the knowledge, experience, and skill (both mental and physical) to create a fair, fun, and safe environment on the ice. The low maintenance official is not ego driven or feels that they are entitled to games just because they completed registration, work a certain league, or attained a high certification level. They give their best effort in all assignments. These officials are also willing to work at all levels and give back to the new generation of referee’s that enter each season.

Submission of USA Hockey Officiating Membership applications for the 2024-25 Season begins on June 3, 2024 and ends after October 31, 2024.

All 2024-25 Officiating Memberships must be completed by December 31, 2024. No referee cards and sweater crests will be issued after this date.

USA Hockey Officiating Membership is valid for the entire current season in any district or state in the United States, and membership within any local officials association or local hockey league is not required for USA Hockey Officiating Program membership.

Officials will only need to register online, attend an online virtual seminar and complete the required background check and SafeSport training, if it is age required. Officials will not need to complete a separate rules exam or modules as part of the process for the 2024-25 season.

Once the online Membership Registration application has been submitted, an official cannot change the registration level they have applied for.

Officials Registered for 22/23: 2,094 (12% increase of 21/22, the most officials registered in 30 years)
Officials Completed Requirements (able to work games) for 22/23: 1,862
Percent of 22/23 Registered Officials Complete: 89.2% (Best in the country!)
Percent of 22/23 Officials that attended a seminar complete: 96.6%

As of Oct 13, 2023

Officials Registered for 23/24: 1,677
23/24 Officials having completed a seminar: 1,209
23/24 Officials Complete: 630
Total officials available (have met requirements for 22/23 and/or 23/24): 2,092

Officials Registered for 21/22: 1866
Average age of officials in 21/22: 31 (oldest = 75)
Number of officials in 21/22 18 or under: 678
Number of officials in 21/22 50 or older: 458
Average age of officials in 21/22: 31 (oldest = 75)
Brand New Officials in 21/22: 631

Officials Registered in 22/23: 2094
Average age of officials in 22/23: 30 (oldest = 76)
Number of officials in 22/23 18 or under: 860
Number of officials in 22/23 50 or older: 489
Average age of officials in 22/23: 30 (oldest = 76)
Brand New Officials: 745

Of the 1,866 Registered for 21/22, number of officials that did not return for 22/23: 729 (39%)
Number 1 reason for not returning: Lack of Opportunity
Number 2 reason for not returning: Abuse

Players Registered in 22/23: 45,946 (down 2% from 21/22)
Players Registered in 14/15 (the most players in 30 years): 49,691
Officials Registered in 14/15: 1,618

8 Year Net Loss of 3,745 players
8 Year Net Gain of 470 officials
30 Year Net Gain of 20,045 players
30 Year Net Gain of 1,007 officials

Officials Seminars

Level 1 – USAHockey proposed a significant overhaul of the level 1 curriculum for the 23/24 season. Due to numerous issues, they were not able to deliver that content, and as a consequence they did not notify the affiliates until mid August. As soon as we were made aware, we immediately pivoted our plans to undertake a the significant task of securing ice and classroom space for our level 1 officials. Were we later this season than we usually are, absolutely; but we’re working hard to catch up!

Level 2/3/4 are 100% virtual seminars this season, most of which have been on week nights, and there have been literally hundreds of opportunities across the country for officials to attend a seminar. Additionally, we are hosting seminars as registration warrants.

Why is there a shortage? And how do we fix the problem?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple solution or just one thing. All parties (The officials, the assigners, the affiliate, the leagues and the programs) need to work to solve the multitude of problems that exist. It’s a three-legged stool, it won’t work without all three legs.

We have published the first round of seminars to the USA Hockey Website –

Please note that you MUST be registered with USA Hockey PRIOR to registering for a seminar (

Confirmed Dates and locations are as follows;


Levels 2, 3 and 4 are all virtual seminars, and you can attend a seminar in ANY district. Find a date that works for you, and signup. Please note Time Zone differences!

Level 1:
9/23/2023 – Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield
9/23/2023 – New England Sports Center – Marlboro
9/30/2023 – Foxboro Sports Center – Foxboro
10/4/2023 – Tony Kent Arena – Dennis
10/12/2023 – New England Sports Center – Marlboro
10/18/2023 – Haverhill Valley Form – Haverhill
1024/2023 – Zapustas Arena – Randolph

Malden- date TBA

Level 2
9/13/2023 – Virtual
9/28/2023 – Virtual
10/17/2023 – Virtual
Additional October dates TBD
Two November dates TBD

Level 3
9/18/2023 – Virtual
10/4/2023 – Virtual
10/19/2023 – Virtual
Additional October and November dates TBD

Level 4
9/26/2023 – Virtual

See for dates and times of seminars across the country

The 2021-25 USA Hockey Playing Rule change process was concluded on June 12, 2021 during the Board of Directors Meeting at Annual Congress. You will find a summary of all accepted rule changes below, in addition to updates to the USA Hockey Points of Emphasis and Standard of Play, and an explanation of the new Standardization of Discipline regarding Match Penalties.

The 2021-25 USA Hockey Playing Rules will take effect starting September 1, 2021.

2021-25 Playing Rule Change Summary

2021-25 Playing Rules Points of Emphasis and Standard of Play

2021-25 Standardization of Discipline with Match Penalties

We have published the first round of seminars to the USA Hockey Website –

Please note that you MUST be registered with USA Hockey PRIOR to registering for a seminar (

Confirmed Dates and locations are as follows;

6/23/2022 – L1 / L2 – Canton

7/13/2022 – L3 Zoom
7/16/2022 – Womens Only L1 / L2 – Valley Sports Arena
7/17/2022 – L1 / L2 – Breakaway Ice Center
7/26/2022 – L3 Zoom

8/9/2022 – L4 Zoom
8/15/2022 – L3 Zoom
8/27/2022 – L1 / L2 – Algonquin Regional School
8/28/2022 – L1 / L2 – Agawam

9/7/2022 – L3 Zoom
9/10/2022 – L1 / L2 – Andover
9/17/2022 – L1 / L2 – Barnstable
9/28/2022 – L3 Zoom

October dates and locations to be determined.

Games: The Next Step in Returning to the Rinks


This will be an opportunity to learn more about the modifications being made to allow hockey games to take place during Phase 3, Step 1 in Massachusetts.


Speakers include but not limited to  Kevin Kavanagh (Executive Director), Paul Gilmartin (Valley Associates), Bob Joyce (President),  Kevin Donovan (Referee-in-Chief),Rob McBride (FMC), Tom Smith (Safety Committee) & Wes Tuttle (NESC)


Date & Time: Monday, August 17, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. EST

Register here:

This site and video provide a brief overview into joining a meeting, and adjusting and troubleshooting audio and video on your devices.

CLICK HERE to view

We are all missing the game! Here is your opportunity to connect with leaders in officiating to discuss their path, connect with others and see how we can all support each other. Attendees are encouraged to ask our panelists questions. Plus, each panelist has a Massachusetts connection! Submit questions before the webinar by email to

Chris Rooney (current NHL official) will be joins Ryan Daisy(current NHL Official), Kevin Donovan (USA Hockey Referee-in-Chief), Katie Guay (first female official for a D1 NCAA Men’s game, Olympic official & one of four women to officiate at the NHL level), Brian Murphy (retired NHL official & new Hockey East Supervisor of Men’s officials) & Scott Zelkin (USAH Manager of Junior Officiating Development Program).

Written By Brad Lohmeier – posted on Facebook.

To the hockey parents I’ve witnessed,

You may not realize it but the “worst referee ever” and the ref who “sucks” just happens to belong to the person standing beside you. He’s my son.

The “crappy” ref is 13 years old and has officiated over 50 games. He has taken on everything from Atom House to Championship games in Pee Wee Rep tournaments.

He would rather be sleeping in but because of his passion for the game, he gets up at 4:45am to ref your child at their 6:15am game on a Saturday morning.

He can often hear your voice, he knows what is being said….yet he does his job in a responsible, professional manner and somehow manages to not take it personally.

The “ref who shouldn’t be out there” has spent hours studying, writing tests, going to classroom and on ice sessions to be certified by Hockey Canada. He has been recognized by his local hockey association and has worked hard to earn the right to be on the ice. He’s had multiple coaches from other towns compliment him for doing a great job. He most likely knows the rules of the game better than you.

Yet, he SUCKS!

He’s had parents “boo” at him as he walks to the change room after a game. He’s even been followed into the change room by a pissed off coach. Yet he keeps officiating.

So….if the referees decided not to show up because of the abuse from the parents and coaches – then what? Do you have the courage to jump on the ice? I guess you just cancel the game and go home. How does that sound?

Parents, coaches, players and everyone in that rink must answer to the ref. He didn’t make the rules, he is simply enforcing them. If anyone in that rink is out of line….that 13 yr old has the power to throw them out of the rink. Guess what?….he has thrown out a coach who was in his 40’s because the coach took it too far. Could you do that? Perhaps, but perhaps not.

They call the game as best as they can and it’s truly remarkable how few mistakes they make.

When your player clearly tripped a kid then scored, you were fine with that. Turn the tables and now it’s a different story.

Who do I cheer for? The black and white stripes. They keep the game fair and they keep the players safe.

I’m beyond proud of my “worst ref ever.” He takes on more than you will ever know….and he loves every second.

As for me, I feel sorry for what your kid must go through on the ride home after the game. Hockey is supposed to be fun….I’m guessing for your kid it’s not.

And for the penalty that was called at 3:25 in the third period – it was too many men, and you probably didn’t notice….but the ref did.