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Ask the Official: Shorthanded Icing, Intentional Off-sides & More

By Minnesota Hockey, 11/07/17, 3:15PM CST


The Minnesota Hockey Officials Association (MHOA) is excited to launch its new Ask the Official series. Players, parents, coaches and officials will have the opportunity to submit questions regarding USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey playing rules to MHOA. An official will respond directly to all questions submitted, and select questions may be anonymously re-printed in the Minnesota Hockey newsletter.

To submit a question, click here.

Question: I was at my daughter’s game this past week, and the officials were calling icing even when the opposing team was shorthanded. A friend told me it’s a new rule, but I don’t really understand the purpose of it.  Why was the new icing rule put in place?


USA Hockey made the change because they believe it will help with player development. Puck possession and control is a skill they would like players to develop more, and this should promote that.

There will probably be an adjustment period for players, coaches, referees, and spectators, but in the long run, it will hopefully make the game more interesting to watch.

For USA Hockey’s complete rationale and explanation of the change, click here.

Question: When watching games, I rarely see intentional off-sides called. Yet, in a recent game, it was called twice. What determines intentional off-sides?


First of all, the level of play comes into play here. For levels without tag up off-sides, this is the rule:

An Intentional off-side is one which is made for the purpose of deliberately securing an immediate stoppage of play or when an off-side play is made under conditions where there is no effort made or possibility of completing a legal play.

Example: Play comes out to the neutral zone and a player knowingly shoots it back into his offensive zone while his players are still in the zone.

In the 14U and above classifications, where tag up off-sides is the rule.

1) Attacking player deliberately touches the puck.

2) Attacking player attempts to gain possession of the puck by applying pressure to an opponent

3) Puck is shot directly on goal.

Any time an official determines, a player has created an intentional off-sides, play shall be stopped and the face off will occur in the offending teams defensive zone.

Question: Why are face-offs only conducted on the nine dots?


This is another one of the recent changes to USA Hockey’s playing rules. The goal is to align with other levels of play such as high School, NCAA, ect.

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