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Ask the Official: Disallowed Goals and Tournament Celebrations

Under USA Hockey rules, the determining factor is whether it was deflected or directed. If the puck merely deflects off the skate of an attacking player, it would be a good goal.

The Minnesota Hockey Officials Association (MHOA) offers players, parents, coaches and officials 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 recently encountered an incident where a player was ejected from a game near the end of a tournament championship. After the game, he attempted to return to the ice still in his equipment to celebrate. Is this appropriate?

Answer: The would not/should not be allowed to participate in handshake or any awards presentation that would include the opposing team.

However, he would technically be able to celebrate with his team after the game and take part in pictures, etc. This would be under the jurisdiction of the tournament director as there is no clear ruling in the rule book.

Question: During a tournament last weekend, I witnessed a goal, scored by the opposing team, waived off. I asked my forward coach what he saw, and he thought it was a goal as well. When I asked my defenseman, who swept it out after it crossed the line, he also admitted it was a goal. I tried to communicate with the officials at the next break in play, but it was 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, during a tournament. They were clearly done talking to coaches and wouldn't come to the bench.

Do officials want that feedback? If so, would they change the call and give the opposing team a goal?

Answer: First off, that is a great display of sportsmanship and fair play. Any player or coach who makes a concerted effort to do the right thing, especially when it may adversely affect their own team, deserves recognition.

Officials should always be looking for feedback and be willing to answer questions if coaches are being respectful. It is unfortunate that the official(s) in this situation did not give you the time for you to give them yours.

With that said, this is a difficult situation for on-ice officials because we don’t have the luxury of video review in youth hockey. As officials, we are trained to call what we see. Oftentimes, it is nearly impossible to determine when he lost sight of the puck in comparison to what you observed after the play occurs.

For those reasons, my assumption is they would not have changed their call, even though the team that was scored on was admitting it went in the goal.

Question: At last night’s game, the officials waved off a goal for our team after it went off a player’s skate. He was standing in front of the net and barely moved his foot, if at all. Shouldn’t that have been a good goal? I thought it would only be disallowed if there was a kicking motion.

Answer:  This rule is different at various levels of play so how you see and hear it called at the NHL or NCAA level doesn’t apply to youth hockey.

Under USA Hockey rules, the determining factor is whether it was deflected or directed. If the puck merely deflects off the skate of an attacking player, it would be a good goal. If the referee determines it was directed, such as turning the skate, in a deliberate attempt to score the goal, then the goal would not be allowed. Any attempt determined to be a kicking motion the goal would also be disallowed.

Official’s Note: Anytime the puck deflects off of an on-ice official and goes directly into the goal the goal would be disallowed.

Editor’s Note: Each season USA Hockey publishes a rule comparison sheet that explains differences between USA Hockey, NFHS (which is what Minnnesota high school hockey uses) and NCAA rules. Click here to view the comparison.

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