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Fair Play Reinforces Rule Changes

By Minnesota Hockey, 12/03/13, 11:00AM CST

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Entering its eight season, Minnesota Hockey’s Fair Play system strives to improve accountability and sportsmanship among all the stakeholders in youth hockey by recognizing and rewarding teams that display appropriate behavior.  This season Fair Play will play a key role in reinforcing USA Hockey’s rule changes that focus on reducing aggressive penalties.

Under the Fair Play system, each team starts the game with their Fair Play point. A team loses it's Fair Play point if it exceeds the penalty minute (PIM) threshold established for their level of play, a coach is assessed a Game Misconduct or Match Penalty, or a spectator is requested to leave the arena by an official.

2013-2014 Fair Play PIM Threshold

Level Minutes Level Minutes
Squirt 10 min Girls 10U 8 min
Peewee 12 min Girls 12U 10 min
Bantam 14 min Girls 14U 12 min
Youth 16U 16 min Girls 16U 14 min
Junior Gold 16 min Girls 19U 14 min

The game scorekeeper is in charge of totaling HEP PIM equivalents at end of game and circling on the scoresheet whether each team earned their Fair Play point.  Fair Play points are then reported through the normal reporting process in each league and impact league standings. 

While Fair Play does not decide the outcome of individual games, consistently good (or bad) behavior can have a cumulative effect through league standings and playoff seedings, encouraging players, coaches and parents to display positive behavior at all events. 

HEP Fair Play PIM Equivalent Chart

Penalty Classification PIM Equivalent
Minor or Bench Minor 2 minutes
Major 5 minutes
Minor & Misconduct (2 & 10) 12 minutes
Misconduct (10) 10 minutes
Mouthguard Misconduct 2 minutes
Game Misconduct 10 minutes
Match 10 minutes
Penalty Shot Equivalent to penalty assessed

With this year’s changes to the USA Hockey Official Playing Rules, players and coaches will need to pay particular attention to reducing aggressive penalties in order to get their Fair Play points. Starting this season the minimum penalty for head contact, charging and boarding is a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct.

For Fair Play purposes, these penalties will be handled just like checking from behind penalties have been the past, counting as 12 minutes towards each team’s PIM threshold.  With even the highest levels having a PIM threshold of only 16 minutes, one of these penalties will put teams in immediate danger of losing their Fair Play point. This will reward the teams that make a concerted effort over the course of the season to avoid these types of dangerous hits as they will end up with more Fair Play points, boosting their position in the standings.

As a component of the Hockey Education Program (HEP), Fair Play is committed to providing all youth hockey players with a positive athletic experience.  Therefore, the Fair Play system has and will continue to reward those players and teams that play hockey with respect for themselves, their opponents and the game itself.

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