Ice Hockey Rules Changes - 2016-17

By NFHS on August 15, 2016 ice hockey Print




2-3-1,2: ART. 1 . . . A maximum of 20 players, including goalkeepers, may dress for and play in a game, unless modified by state association adoption. It is recommended that a minimum of two goalkeepers be among the 20 players dressed.

PENALTY: MINOR. (captain’s choice of players), and extra player(s) in uniform must be removed from the player’s bench.

ART. 2 . . . A list of names and numbers of all eligible players and goalkeepers must be handed to the referee or official scorer before the game. After the game begins no changes may be made for a player who has already been listed. Additions may be made due to inadvertent clerical error.

PENALTY: MINOR. (captain’s choice of players)

Rationale: Adding a penalty to this rule creates a consequence for non-compliance. This addition creates consistency regarding the penalty structure within this section of the rules.


4-6-4 NEW: ART. 4 . . . All provisions of Rule 4-6, including the major penalty and suspension, shall apply for a game disqualification penalty assessed to a coach or other team personnel.

Rationale: Current wording only refers to players, when the intent of the game disqualification penalty is to have the same consequences apply for all participants.


4-7-3: ART. 3 . . . The penalty shot shall be taken by the player fouled. If no player has been fouled, or if the fouled player is injured, the shot may be taken by any player of the non-offending side who is on the ice not serving a penalty when play is stopped to award the penalty shot (captain’s choice of players).

Rationale: This would be consistent with other “captain’s choice” rules.  This change would also make the NFHS rule consistent with most other rules codes.

Current NFHS rules do not address designating a replacement player due to injury.


6-1-6: ART. 6 . . . No player, coach or other team personnel shall use any racial, ethnic or gender slur directed at officials or others during the warm-up, during the progress of the game, or during an intermission or after the game.

Rationale: Use of this language is highly inflammatory and can often escalate to major in-game problems.  It frequently becomes an issue requiring involvement of school administrators and state associations.  It also attracts media attention that reflects poorly on our sport, particularly if they feel that it has not been properly addressed.


7-6-2,3: ART. 2 . . . Direct contact to the head or neck area is a flagrant foul under this rule. Direct contact occurs when the initial force of the contact occurs to the head or neck area.


ART. 3 … Indirect contact to the head or neck area shall be penalized under this rule. Indirect contact occurs when the initial force of the contact begins below the neck and progresses upward to the head or neck area.


Rationale: Concussion awareness and risk minimization of participants is vital to the NFHS and its member state associations.  This change provides additional verbiage and clarity that will penalize direct contact in an appropriate manner.


9-1-5: ART. 5 . . . ADD: Excluding goalkeepers, players shall take a stationary position on all faceoffs before the puck is dropped.

Rationale: The change will eliminate motion prior to faceoffs, not giving a possible advantage. Currently, Article 5 describes the location of where bodies and sticks should be during a faceoff and this change will help clarify the faceoff process.


9-1-11j: MOVE: 9-1-8j to 9-1-11j. “when the puck is grasped by hand (not hand pass) and play is stopped.”   

The previous result is a faceoff at the nearest faceoff spot. Now, the faceoff shall take place at the defending zone of the offending team.

Rationale: This violation involves use of the hand and is similar to hand pass or batting the puck violations which result in the defending zone faceoff of the offending team. This change would make this rule consistent with other similar infractions, such as high-sticking and hand passes.


9-10-13: ART. 3 . . . During the pregame warm-up, each team shall proceed to its end of the ice and confine activity to its own end of the rink for the duration of the warm-up be allowed to skate on the entire surface until such a time as one team assumes its own end.

Rationale:This change will assist in avoiding unnecessary interaction between teams during the warm-up. Most teams already head directly to their own end of the rink and this rule would provide clarity.




3-3-1, 3-4-2, 4-5-1, 8-1-3, 9-3-3l



1. Player Safety/Dangerous Hits

2. Concussion Recognition and Management

3. Sportsmanship and Your Role

4. Equipment Requirements

5. Faceoffs