Welcome To New York State Amateur Hockey Association’s Officiating Program

[Updated: August 2019]


Dear Officials:

Welcome to the 2019 – 2020 season

The offseason has certainly been a busy one for USA Hockey and the NYSAHA.

I encourage you to register with USA Hockey and select the seminar of your choice as soon as possible.

NYS Officiating Program Development Camp 2020 – Oswego, NY

NYSAHA will be hosting an officiating development camp at SUNY Oswego in Oswego, New York from June 28 through July 1, 2020. The camp is open to all completely registered officials in the New York District and is instructional in nature, but non-competitive.

For more details click here


Please see the 2019 – 2020 season SEMINAR HANDOUT.  This includes the USA Hockey Points of Emphasis for this season. 

Please read below

Dear RIC’s,
An extensive video providing numerous examples pertaining to the Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play and Respect has been completed and is in the process of being posted, along with other pertinent material, on a new Declaration of Player Safety landing page on USAHockey.com.  We apologize it took longer to complete than what was originally planned, but it was important to include multiple quality examples covering all areas of the Declaration and present them in a consistent, understandable and accurate manner.  Inputting together a Marketing and Communications plan, it was also determined it would be best to do it right instead of piecemeal and that mid-August was the best time to originally blitz our membership.   It is not as simple as one might think to find quality video clips from youth games and we will continue to search and post additional materials and clips on this landing page as they become available to further educate our membership.  The link to this specific page is:
The link to the Declaration webpage and to video clips will be included in every E-Newsletter  (Officiating, Coaching, Age-specific that goes to parents, etc.) this season and we will also do direct emails to specific member groups starting after Labor day.  The landing page will continue to be updated with new material throughout the season and all departments will follow the communications plan with social media, newsletters, and direct email.  This will be a comprehensive and all-inclusive effort that will take place throughout the season and is not something anyone in the National Office is taking lightly.
It has also come to our attention that in certain areas Supervisors, Instructors and Officials have been instructed that anytime a player makes physical contact with an opponent and their sticks are above their knees that a penalty must be assessed.  This is NOT the proper application of our current rules nor is it a practical application of the Declaration of Player Safety.  Please keep in mind, the Declaration of Player Safety document is designed for many purposes including the emphasis on enforcement of existing rules, emphasis on teaching proper skills as part of the body checking skills progression and creating awareness as to expectations pertaining to physical play.
The “stick below knees” language is included in the declaration as a means to emphasize to coaches the importance of teaching stick on the puck and having the stick on the ice as part of the body checking skills progression.  A penalty cannot be called unless there has been an infraction committed that violates one of our existing rules and “the stick must be carried below the knees” is not an existing rule.  Look at it like the standard of play for Restraining Fouls – if a player is in pursuit of the puck carrier and his stick now becomes parallel to the ice and is making contact with the opponent on the hands, the awareness of the official (antennae up) that an infraction may occur will increase – but a violation has not occurred and the penalty is not assessed until the action actually impedes the progress of the opponent or causes him to lose control of the puck.  It is the same regarding this interpretation – a player becoming physically engaged with an opponent (competitive contact or body checking) and is carrying his stick above the knees should cause the official to raise their awareness (antennae up) but an infraction has not yet occurred unless the player leads with and initiates the contact with the opponent with the stick, hands, arms or elbows.  Simply having the stick above the knees is not a penalty provided that all other aspects of the physical contact are deemed to be legal.
For enforcement purposes, there are four main areas that officials need to focus on as a result of the Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play, and Respect and they are all existing rules.  They are:
1.)    Late Avoidable Body Check – body check delivered to an opponent who no longer is in control of the puck.  If the player delivering the check had already committed to the check and contact was deemed unavoidable, the player still has an obligation to minimize contact and not accelerate or drive through the check to punish or intimidate.  There are several examples of this in the video where the player is responsible in minimizing contact (acceptable) and other examples where they are careless and reckless (unacceptable) in delivering an avoidable check, which must be penalized.
2.)    Body Check Delivered to a Vulnerable or Defenseless Player – there are two primary situations where a player is unsuspecting, unaware or unprepared for an impending hit, so, therefore, would be considered Vulnerable or Defenseless.  They are when the player has not yet established possession or control of the puck and is body checked or when the player is physically engaged with an opponent in an attempt to gain possession or control of the puck and a 2nd player from the opposing team comes in to deliver a body check.
3.)    When a player delivers a body check and initiates the primary point of contact with the hands, arms, elbows or stick.  If done to the head or neck area of the opponent, then Head Contact must be called.
4.)    Banging the boards (Celebration) of physical play that only serves the purpose of taunting or intimidating the opponents and as a result, escalates continuing questionable physical play. The first violation is a warning and the second violation by the same team is a bench minor penalty for Unsportsmanlike Conduct.  There are examples in the video where the celebration takes place and as a result, an escalation in the questionable physical play takes place.
These are all existing rules that we are simply asking officials to enforce to a strict standard as USA Hockey commits to changing the culture as to what is deemed acceptable or unacceptable behavior involving body checking.  Please reach out to me if you have any additional questions as it is extremely important to distribute a consistent and accurate message that is also being presented to parents, coaches, and players.
Matt Leaf
Director, Officiating Education Program



Effective this season, officials will be required to verify that the number of players listed on the score sheet matches the number of players in attendance. Please review the attached memo which explains the policy in detail and lists which games it applies to.

Please note that while not all officials will work games that have the policy in effect, it is important that you familiarize yourself with it.


This past season, a number of goalkeeper’s helmets have been identified as illegal equipment. The spacing between bars on the cage on the helmet has made them illegal for use. Please be diligent in checking for this equipment now for the safety of all.


Please note if you are 18 years of age (or turning 18 by December 31, 2019) you are required to be screened by USA Hockey. Please make sure you fulfill this requirement as soon as possible as you will not be able to officiate after December 31, 2019.

Have a great season and thank you for your dedication to the USA Hockey Officiating Program!

Mike Shapey, NYSAHA Referee in Chief