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Understanding Body Contact in Squirt Hockey

Body contact is a feature of the game in Squirt Hockey.  Intentional body checking is not.  Body checking occurs when a defensive player's objective is to gain possession of the puck by separating the puck carrier from the puck with a body check.  Body contact which occurs when players are attempting to play the puck is permissible regardless of the degree of the contact or any size or skill differential between the players.  Intent to separate the puck carrier from the puck with a body check is the primary differentiating factor between allowable body contact and illegal body checking.

Body contact occurring during the following scenarios are all examples of permissible body contact:

  • The defensive player establishing a position along the boards such that the puck carrier runs out of the room (angling).
  • When opposing players, in an attempt to play the puck have established body position and a lane to the puck, and collide upon reaching the puck.
  • A defensive player, while skating in the same direction as the puck carrier, legally holds a position on the ice to block and stop the forward progress of the puck carrier.  This is contrary to stepping up and into the puck carrier from the opposite direction, which is an illegal body check.
  • When opposing players unintentionally turn into each other as they are skating to different positions on the rink.


Understanding Tripping in Squirt Hockey

Tripping is the most commonly misinterpreted rule in Squirt Hockey.  A common referee error is the misconception that if a player falls to the ice, a tripping penalty must be called.  This is not the case.  The key to the tripping rule is “placement” of the offending players stick or body which causes his opponent to trip or fall.  To determine if the action is actually a trip, a referee must first consider if the players’ action has been the result of allowable body contact before interpreting that the offending player has illegally caused his opponent to trip and/or fall.

A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on any player who shall place his stick, foot, arm, hand or elbow, or extends the leg (Leg Checking) from the front or behind, in such a manner that it shall cause his opponent to trip or fall.

If, in the opinion of the referee, a player is unquestionably hook-checking or poke checking the puck and obtains possession of it, thereby tripping the puck carrier, no penalty shall be imposed.


Understanding Hooking in Squirt Hockey

Hooking defined is the action of applying the blade of the stick to any part of an opponent’s body or stick and impeding his progress by a pulling or tugging motion with the stick.

The shaft of the stick is not mentioned or considered in the hooking definition.  Hooking as defined is the combined action of applying the blade with a pulling or tugging motion to impede his opponents progress.  A hooking penalty cannot be called without the presence of all elements.  A player using the shaft of the stick is considered an allowable action.

Jeremy Kennedy with USA Hockey responded to the “turning the blade over” question and this is his reply.


Rule 619 (a) reads: "A minor penalty shall be assessed to a player who impedes or seeks to impede the progress of an opponent by hooking with the stick".  The reason that I bring this up is related to the question you had regarding a player turning their stick over and "Hooking" the opponents stick.  There is a move out there now where a player turns their stick over, quickly "Hook-Checks / Stick-Checks" the opponents stick, causing them to loose control of the puck/ball.  As long as this move does not impede the progress of the player in possession of the puck/ball, it is a legal move.

What you have to look for when interpreting this rule is how quickly the action is, where the opponents stick is "hooked" and how it affects the player.  If it is a quick motion that does not impede or affect the progress of the opponent and done to the blade of the stick, no penalty should be called simply for turning the stick over.  If this action is held there or a player continues to "hook-check' an opponent over and over again or for that matter is done on the shaft of the stick, a minor penalty for "Hooking" may be called.  Keep in mind that this is something that at most levels is typically a "Gray" penalty versus a "Black/White" penalty.  At the younger ages, any hook should called regardless of intent or outcome, just as a hold should always been called at lower levels.

I hope this clarifies things for you.  This is a hard situation to explain as there is no concrete statement that says this is or is not a penalty.  It is up to the outcome of the action as to whether an infraction of the "hooking" rule has occurred.  Please let me know if you have anymore questions.

Jeremy Kennedy
Manager, Membership Development
USA Hockey