skip navigation

Fair Play to Penalize Offensive Behavior

By Minnesota Hockey, 11/02/18, 2:15PM CDT


The Fair Play program was implemented in 2004 with purpose of rewarding teams for displaying proper behavior and sportsmanship during competition. Starting with the 2018-19, that focus will also include a stronger penalty for the use of offensive, hateful or discriminatory language.

Under the Fair Play system, teams earn an extra point (Fair Play Point or FPP) in their district or league standings when they meet standards for penalties and sportsmanship. To receive their Fair Play Point, teams must ensure none of the following occurs:

  • Total Fair Play penalty minutes criteria is exceeded
  • Spectator conduct requires referees to stop play and request spectator(s) to leave the arena
  • Coach is assessed a game misconduct or match penalty

The new rule will add a requirement stating that in order to earn their Fair Play Point, no player on the team can receive a game misconduct for an obscene gesture or offensive, hateful or discriminatory language. In the past, this type of game misconduct penalty would have counted as 10 penalty minutes toward the team’s penalty threshold. With the rule change, teams will automatically lose their Fair Play Point if a player is penalized for that type of behavior.

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

Below are the official Fair Play penalty minute equivalents for each type of penalty and the penalty minute thresholds, by age level, which teams must stay under to earn their Fair Play point.


Level Minutes Level Minutes
Squirt 10 min Girls 10U 8 min
Peewee 12 min Girls 12U 10 min
Bantam 14 min Girls 15U 12 min
Youth 16U 16 min Girls 16U 14 min
Junior Gold 16 min Girls 19U 14 min

Note:  The minimum penalty for head contact, charging, checking from behind and boarding is a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct. For Fair Play purposes, these penalties count as 12 minutes towards each team’s PIM threshold.


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

This change to the Fair Play program coincides with a revised conduct policy (see Minnesota Hockey Handbook, p. 35) that is designed to place an additional emphasis on preventing and addressing instances of inappropriate behavior. Minnesota Hockey’s updated conduct policy includes a procedure for addressing incidents involving language, gestures or conduct that is offensive, hateful or discriminatory in nature.  

Players, coaches and spectators should strive to encourage and promote mutual respect at all times while participating in youth hockey. All participants deserve the opportunity be in an environment that is free from any form of harassment. 

Most Popular