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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.


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.

108 – Signal And Timing Devices

A face-off occurs with ten seconds remaining in the period. As play begins, one of the On-Ice Officials notices that the clock has not started. Should the Official stop play immediately to remedy the situation.

No. Rule Reference 108(b).

As soon as the Official notices that the clock has not started, he must begin counting down the remaining seconds in his head. If he counts down to 0:00 and the period should have ended but didn’t, he must stop play to end the period.

If the Official properly counts down to 0:00 in the above situation, but does not stop the play for whatever reason, any goal that has been scored after he counts down to 0:00 shall be disallowed.

404 – Misconduct Penalties

Is it possible for a player to be assessed more than one game misconduct penalty in the same game?

Yes. Rule Reference 404(b).

There are several scenarios where a player could put themselves in a position to be assessed multiple game misconduct penalties (e.g. Major plus game for a high stick that causes injury and then is first to intervene in an altercation). In all instances, the appropriate penalties must be assessed to hold the player accountable for their actions.

Standard Of Play

A player delivers a check without taking the two fast strides, but instead accelerates through the check and delivers just as much force as if he had taken two fast strides. Could this be considered charging?

Yes. By accelerating through the check and maximizing the force used, the player is no longer simply separating the opponent from the puck and instead is attempting to intimidate or punish the opponent. Under the Body Checking Standard of Play, this must be penalized under the charging rule.

Your Turn

Have you had an odd situation, or a question that you’d like answered? Click reply, and let us know.

Points of Emphasis

You’re either part of the change or part of the problem.

The full text and video can be found at:

However, the Michagan Amatuer Hockey Association has put together a shorter version of the video that can be viewed below or via:

603 – Boarding

A player is skating behind an opponent as they head towards the end boards. At the bottom of end zone face-off circle, the trailing player trips the opponent and causes him to lose control and crash into the end boards. May a boarding penalty be called in this instance?

Yes. Rule Reference 603(a).

The boarding rule covers all potential illegal actions that causes an opponent to dangerously contact the boards. Even though a tripping penalty may also be appropriate, the boarding call is preferred to draw attention to the more aggressive infraction.

621 – Face Off Locations

A stoppage of play in the Defending Zone was caused by a defending player and the Official assessed the defending team a penalty. Subsequently, during the same stoppage of play, an attacking player is assessed a penalty. Where is the ensuing face-off?

At the nearest Neutral Zone face-off spot. Rule Reference 612(c).

The stoppage of play was not caused by the actions of players from both teams for the purpose of establishing a last play face-off. The penalty by the attacking player causes the face- off to occur at the nearest Neutral Zone face-off spot.

616 – Fouled From Behind

What criteria must be met in order for a penalty shot to be assessed when a player on a breakaway is fouled from behind by an opponent?
1) The fouled player has possession and control of the puck.
2) The fouled player is beyond his Defending Zone.
3) The fouled player has no opponent to pass except the goalkeeper.
4) The fouled player is fouled from behind (beyond his peripheral vision).
5) The fouled player has been denied a reasonable scoring opportunity. This includes situations where the foul committed has denied the fouled player the ability to make a reasonable attempt to score.

Rule References 616(Note 1 & Note 2).

All of these criteria need to be met in order to award a penalty shot. If one or more are not met, then the appropriate penalty shall be assessed in the normal manner.

Your Turn

Have you had an odd situation, or a question that you’d like answered? Click reply, and let us know.

Points of Emphasis

You’re either part of the change or part of the problem.

The full text and video can be found at:

However, the Michagan Amatuer Hockey Association has put together a shorter version of the video that can be viewed below or via: