TO:     All Minor Hockey Associations
All School Hockey Teams
All Junior Teams & League
All HCOP Zone Coordinators

INFO: Hockey NL Board of Directors

FROM: Ed Flood, Referee-in-Chief, Hockey NL

DATE: January 25, 2021

RE:    Coaches Wearing Facial Protection During Games

Coaches wearing facial protection during games is a safety situation that coaches have been very diligent with for this season. Although there have been instances where some coaches have been penalized and have received suspensions, over all the season has been very good with the policy.

Zone Coordinators and supervisors in the province have been advised that all coaches are to wear their face masks and wear them properly throughout the entire season. I have seen several situations where the game official has reminded coaches that they must wear their mask properly during a game. The coach quickly replaced the mask to the proper position.

Suspensions that have been administered this season, have been for a face mask violation and others. The suspensions may also be a combination of face mask violation as well as a face mask being lowered to make verbal comments to the officials which could result in extra games.

I will advise the Zone Coordinators and Referee-in-Chiefs around the province to speak with the coaches during games about wearing masks properly and if there is a verbal exchange that warrants a penalty, we will list penalties as follows:

9.2(f) (f) Any player or team official who engages in verbal taunts, insults or intimidation based on discriminatory grounds (race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, language) shall be assessed a Gross Misconduct penalty and the Referee shall report full details of the incident to the President. Notwithstanding the above, at the discretion of the Referee, a Gross Misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player or team official that conducts themselves in a manner as to make a travesty of the game by using obscene, profane or threateningly abusive language, gestures or actions towards any person with discriminatory or otherwise malicious intent. Such actions may also be described as verbal or physical taunts or gestures that intend to humiliate, demean, belittle, cause offense to or harm the reputation of the person or group targeted. Note: Officials must complete a game incident report and report to the President any penalty incurred under Rule 9.2 (f).

During this Pandemic, not wearing the mask properly is considered making a travesty of the game.

Any abuse aimed at an official will be reported on the game sheet and reported in addition to the Face Mask violation as a 9.2 (a or b) penalty and therefore will be considered in addition to the face mask penalty.

9.2 Unsportsmanlike Conduct and Harassment of Officials. Team officials shall be responsible for their conduct and that of their players at all times. They must endeavour to prevent disorderly conduct before, during or after the game, on or off the ice and any place in the rink. The Referee may assess penalties to any team officials for failure to do so and shall report full details of the incident to the President.

(a) A Minor penalty shall be assessed to any player or team official who challenges or disputes the rulings of any Official during the game or who displays unsportsmanlike conduct. If a player or goaltender persists, they shall be assessed a Misconduct penalty and any further disputes will result in a Game Misconduct penalty being assessed to the offending player or goaltender. If a team official persists, they shall immediately be assessed a Game Misconduct penalty. A Referee is not required to assess a Minor penalty under this rule before assessing the Misconduct or Game Misconduct but may assess either penalty initially.

(b) A Misconduct penalty shall be assessed on any player who: (1) uses disrespectful language or gestures to any person. (2) persists in disputing or shows disrespect for the ruling of any Official. (3) intentionally knocks or shoots the puck out of reach of an Official who is retrieving it. A player who, after receiving a Misconduct penalty, persists in any of the actions of (b) above, shall be assessed a Game Misconduct penalty.

Note 1: In the case of a team official, a Bench Minor penalty shall be assessed instead of a Misconduct penalty. A team official after receiving a Bench Minor penalty will receive a Game Misconduct penalty if the actions continue. A Referee is not required to assess a Bench Minor penalty under this rule before assessing a Game Misconduct penalty.

Note 2: For the purpose of this rule, “disrespectful” is defined as actions or words deemed rude, unpleasant, inappropriate or unprofessional and found to be offensive to others that have not escalated to the criteria of abuse or obscenity outlined within Rule 9.2 (f).

I will have officials officiate the game as presented to them and request that the focus is the game on the ice. I would hope that coaches would be diligent with the need to wear the masks properly.

Yours in Hockey,

Ed Flood
Referee-in-Chief, Hockey NL