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Official Rules

Official U.S. Pond Hockey Championships Tournament Rules

Last updated July 1, 2019

1. To begin the game, teams can elect to have a faceoff, or give possession to one team to start. The other team will start the second half. 

2. All players must wear helmets and hockey skates. Protective equipment is optional but highly recommended.

3. No goalie equipment or goalie sticks permitted.

4. All teams must have light and dark jerseys or uniforms. Home teams wear dark. -- IN THE TOURNEY MACHINE APP SCHEDULE -- BOTTOM TEAMS ARE HOME.

5. There will be one off-ice pond official to monitor the play (scoring, time, puck reset, and arbiter of infractions).

6. Referees will have the discretion to also award a "penalty shot" to the opposing team when a minor penalty is flagrant and/or a team is consistently playing in a reckless manner.

  • Penalty shot will be taken from center ice and must be attempted within 30 seconds of the penalty being called. Anyone on the opposing team can take the shot. The team that is awarded the penalty shot will also be given possession of the puck following the penalty shot attempt (regardless of the outcome of the shot).

7. Any major penalty, which includes any action that could possibly injure another player, will result in that player being ejected from the tournament.  A Head Referee and/or an Off-ice pond official will determine major penalties in consultation with game referee. 

8. Abuse of officials will be considered a major penalty. This includes yelling, swearing, or arguing about calls.

9. No checking is allowed. Such action will result in a minor penalty unless deemed serious enough to be a major (see off-ice pond official).

10. No slapshots allowed. Such action will result in a minor penalty.

11. Players cannot fall or lay on the ice in an effort to protect the goal area. Such action will result in a minor penalty.

12. Goaltending is not allowed. A player may not patrol, "camp out" or remain stationary in the crease area and act as a goaltender. A defender may deflect the puck in the crease area, but the defender must do so while continuing to move through the crease area. The crease area is defined as an imaginary box extending out four feet from the outside corners of the goal. Goaltending also applies to offensive players in the offensive zone/goal as well. 

13. Contacting the puck with a stick above the waist will result in a loss of possession.

14. Saucer passes (i.e. pucks that are lifted low, below the knee) are acceptable.

15. If a puck goes out of bounds, the last team to touch it loses possession. During restart, the defender must give his opponent 2-stick lengths of space.

16. There are no off-sides or icing calls.

17. Goals can be scored from any area of the rink.

18. Referees will call out the score after each goal. This includes goals scored by players or awarded from minor penalties.

19. Teams must give their opponents 1/2 ice after a goal is scored or an infraction takes place.

20. Games will be composed of two 15-minute halves with a 2-minute halftime.

21. In the event of a tie, during both qualifying and championship games, play will move to sudden death format. After the horn sounds, play will continue for up to 3 minutes of overtime until a goal is scored. If no goal is scored, the game will move to a sudden death shootout. Players will take turns taking penalty shots from 20 feet from the goal. During any round where one team makes a shot, and the other team misses, the game is over and the team who made the shot wins. If both teams miss, or if both teams make the shot, in any round, rounds continue until the game is over. A player may not take another penalty shot until all other players on his/her team have taken a shot.

22. All games are running-time and substitutions can be made during play ("on-the-fly") or while a puck is being retrieved. There is no stoppage of play after a goal is scored, or after a penalty is awarded. It is up to each team to ensure that there are only four players on the ice.

23. Players can only play on one team. If during the tournament, a player plays for a 2nd team, that player is removed from the tournament, and the BOTH teams that the player played on will forfeit remaining games. 

24. Substitutions must be made by 8:00 a.m. on the first day of tournament play at Player Check-in in the warming house tent. No other substitutions throughout the tournament are allowed. The four to eight players that are on your roster at 8:00 a.m. on the first day of tournament play must be the same players that play on your team throughout the tournament.

25. Setting picks in offensive zone is not allowed. Deference will be given to a defender in front of their own net where their progress is impeded by the pick or interference of an offensive player.

26. All players must visibly display their credentials during the game. Players without credentials are not allowed to play.

27. It is the responsibility of the team captain to ensure the correct game score has been logged on the score sheet. By signing the score sheet at the conclusion of the game, your team captain is acknowledging that they agree with the final score. Teams cannot contest scores/results after they have signed the scoresheet.

28. In the event of a forfeit during pool play of any division, the team who did not forfeit will receive a win and, for tie breaker purposes, will be assigned a goals for and goals against total for that game equal to the averages of their other pool play games. These will be assigned at the conclusion of the pool play round when advancement is being determined.