Why doesn’t USA Hockey just follow the NHL rule book?
This is a common question throughout our hockey community, and important for USA Hockey to explain. The NHL is the best hockey league in the world, with the best hockey players in the world. It is a business built for fan entertainment. What we see on television every night is very different than the game our kids play, or even the game we as adults play. USA Hockey’s foundation is creating a game that is fun and competitive for our youth and adult players. None of these players are professional, and most will never be professional hockey players. USA Hockey’s rule book and the NHL rule book will always be different, naturally due to the game being played on the ice. However, there are many instances and examples historically of USA Hockey, the NHL, and even the International Ice Hockey Federation, the international governing body of ice hockey, adopting rules from one another after they’ve been studied and analyzed on the ice. The game of ice hockey is always changing: the players are faster than ever, the evolution in equipment has made for changes and the culture surrounding the game is changing. It’s important that as a hockey player, hockey family and even hockey fan you can see and understand the differences of levels of hockey, and the rules associated with them.
How does a rule get changed?
Every four years, USA Hockey’s rules for the sport of ice hockey are reviewed and are able to be changed, modified or restructured. The process starts the summer before with rule change proposals submitted to USA Hockey. Following review by several groups including the Playing Rules Committee and the Board of Directors, the rules are voted on at USA Hockey’s Annual Congress in June. The rules are then valid for the following four seasons. For more information about the USA Hockey rule book, and the process to implement new rules, click here.