USA Hockey Issues Additional Interpretations for New Provisions of Rule 615(c), Fighting
Mark Wilkins, the USA Hockey Section Director for Referees, sent the following email to supervisors a few days ago regarding the new provisions of the Fighting Rule, Rule 615(c).
Please note that the information contained in this memorandum is consistent with the stated policies of the Atlantic District Officiating Program since the rule changes for the 2011-2012 season were made public. If, after reading this, there are any further questions about what happens if a player removes his or her helmet during an altercation, please send an email to webmaster [at] aaharefs.org, or post a question on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/aaharefs.
Due to some misinterpretation and differences in opinion throughout the country regarding New Rule 615(c), the Interpretation Committee has discussed and developed the attached document which will clear up the confusion.
To: All USA Hockey Officials, and District Referees-in-Chief
From: Dave LaBuda - USA Hockey National Referee-in-Chief,
Matt Leaf - Director, USA Hockey Officiating Education Program,
BJ Ringrose - Coordinator, USA Hockey Officiating Education Program
Date: September 30, 2011
Re: Rule 615(c) - Fighting
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the new rule change to Rule 615 in regards to Fighting and removal of the helmet. This memorandum serves to clarify any misconceptions and misinterpretations our 26,000 USA Hockey Officials may have. Please note this memorandum is a product of the USA Hockey Rules Interpretation Committee and should supersede any contradictory presentation or interpretation given by any member of USA Hockey (volunteer or staff).
To start, Fighting is a strict Point of Emphasis among the USA Hockey Board of Directors (the governing body of USA Hockey) this season. The general message that should be understood by all players, coaches, and officials is that under no circumstances should fighting be tolerated at any level of our game. The act of fighting threatens the safety of all players and the integrity of our game, and it should not be condoned by any official, coach, or parent.
The official interpretation of Rule 615(c) is as follows,
Paragraph 1: "A game misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player whose helmet/facemask comes off their head during an altercation." - This means that a player is responsible for wearing his helmet properly during a game. If his helmet is removed during an altercation (whether deliberate or not) and the officials deem that the helmet was not worn properly by the player (straps too loose, unfastened, or missing, etc.) then that player shall receive a Game Misconduct in addition to all other penalties he incurs during the altercation.
Paragraph 2: "A match penalty shall be assessed to any player who deliberately removes his (or opponent's) helmet/facemask prior to or during an altercation." - This rule states that anytime a helmet is removed deliberately by a player (either his own or an opponent's) during an altercation, a Match Penalty must be assessed under Rule 615(c). A deliberate attempt to remove a helmet can be defined as holding, pushing, or punching the helmet or facemask of the opponent.
The purpose of this rule is to,
- Hold all players accountable for wearing the mandatory equipment properly
- Prevent all types of contact that targets the head
- Prevent all types of altercations in general
- Prevent any deliberate removal of head protection during the game
The judgment is very limited and restricted to whether the removal of the helmet is deliberate and was the helmet worn properly? To help with the understanding of these rules and interpretations, we have provided several scenarios beyond the ones contained in the 2011-13 USA Hockey Playing Rules Casebook.