Tournament Rules

Tournament Rules

USA Hockey rules apply (unless otherwise noted) since the Country & Western Showdown is sanctioned through USA Hockey.  Participants, please take the time to read the rules below to ensure you have a clear understanding.  Coaches can speak to a tournament director for specific tournament rules and to referees for the rules of play under USA Hockey.  The following are specific tournament rules outside USA hockey:

  • All players must be on a certified USA hockey roster to play in the tournament games.  Any player not on the USA hockey roster will be disqualified from the tournament.  Managers must have a copy of the certified USA hockey roster with them at all times.
  • Players are not permitted to play on two teams at the same age level.  However, players are permitted to play on two tournament teams at different age levels (e.g., 10U player also playing on a 12U team) when approved by their local registrar and USA hockey.  When that situation occurs, those teams must inform the tournament and get approval.  The one exception to these rules is goalies; in case of injury, sickness, or unavailability a team may find another goalie from local or tournament team of similar ability (e.g., Travel B goalie replaced by Travel B or A2 goalie).  If this situation arises that team must inform and receive approval from the tournament director.
  • When a team is found to have non-rostered or higher-level players – e.g., AAA or AA player on a B team they forfeit all tournament games and are ineligible for the championship round.  However, that team is still expected to play all tournament games, but without those players.  Please note the naming conventions across the United States vary, so that will need to be considered in determining whether a team has higher level players on their team.  These rules only apply to players, and not to the seeding of the teams, as those decisions were made using various factors several weeks/months prior to the tournament.
  • All teams play four games. Most division formats provide for three regular games, then a fourth game as a consolation or championship game.  Some divisions may be structured differently that provide some teams the opportunity to play five games.
  • Teams must be ready 10 minutes prior to their scheduled game time to take the ice.
  • All teams receive a 3-minute running time warm-up and 1-minute time out during each game. Time outs are not permitted in any overtime period.
  • All tournament games for 10U, 12U, and 14U are 13-minute stop time periods. 
  • All games for 8Us consist of 24-minute periods.  Regular games are one period, while semi-final, consolation and championship games are two periods.  Every 2 minutes at the sound of the horn the clock will stop and there will be a line change with a faceoff at center ice.  Play will be 4 on 4 with goalies using regulation size nets.  All penalties are 30 seconds in duration and occur and expired during each 2-minute shift.  When a goalie freezes puck or a goal is scored the referee places the puck behind the defensive team’s net and signal to resume play.  Games are played half ice rather than cross ice.  Score is kept but there is no record of player goals and assists, teams must record that information.  When an injury occurs in one game the other game continues until the two-minute period expires.
  • For 10U, 12U, and 14U when a team leads by 5 goals in the third period, play becomes running time. Stop time resumes if the goal differential changes to less than 5 goals.  Games before the rinks, public skate sessions or non-tournament ice slots may experience running time in the third period or when the tournament gets behind for other reasons.  A tournament official will make this decision and inform the teams.
  • For 10U, 12U, and 14U penalties are in accordance with USA Hockey (1 1/2 minor,
    4 majors, 8 misconduct), except for games that go to overtime (see tiebreaking rules). Any game misconducts called against a player/coach will be official.  The player/coach must serve the full penalty and sit out a tournament game if required.  The no tolerance rule is strictly enforced.  Coaches or players reprimanding the referees will not be tolerated.  When there 30 minutes or more collectively between the two teams in minor penalties in any game a tournament official can end the game or implement run time.
  • Referee’s decisions are final, do not ask a tournament official if they can overturn or reconsider the officials call.  Any game misconducts are final and must be served.
  • Only coaches and managers can present disputes to a tournament director. All protests must be in writing and turned in for review.  Parents and players cannot participate in this process.  If parents need to address any concerns, they must direct those concerns through their coaches or managers who can present them to a tournament director.
  • All teams must clean their locker rooms to get back their driver’s license or car keys. Teams will be fined by the rink and tournament for any damage done to the locker room. Fines must be paid immediately.
  • We do not assign locker rooms for the Showdown Olympics. Players can get dressed in any available locker room or other area in the rink available for dressing. Players and parents are responsible for their belongings inside or outside the locker room.  We highly recommend getting dressed outside, and come ready to take the ice or put on skates.
  • Home team wears light colored jerseys and visiting team wears dark colored jerseys.  If a team has only one set of jerseys, then the other team must wear an appropriate color.
  • Tournament officials are responsible for game sheets and will post results to google docs after each game.  Managers provide 3 player roster stickers for scoresheet each game at the 10U, 12U, and 14U. For 8U the scoresheets do not require stickers.
  • One team official can tend the penalty box, but no one is permitted in the scorekeeping area, unless permission has been granted by a tournament official.
  • Coaches and parents must maintain control at all times. Remember these are just kids, your kids, playing a recreational/extracurricular activity for their enjoyment.  Parents and coaches are encouraged to cheer for their teams and to support the other teams.
  • Players, Coaches, Parents, Tournament and Rink Officials must abide by COVID safety protocols, which are established to comply with Rink, County, and USA hockey guidelines.  Currently the procedures encourage masks, but do not require them to be worn.  There are no restrictions on the number of spectators, and no social distancing requirements are in place at the rinks.
  • Non-local teams must stay at a host hotel.  Any team not staying at a host hotel at the group rate negotiated by the tournament (except for local teams) are immediately disqualified from the tournament.  Teams misbehaving at the hotel or causing damage to hotel property will be disqualified from the tournament and are responsible for any damages to hotel property.  Parents must supervise their children at the hotel to reduce noise levels and disruption to hotel guests.  If a problem arises at the hotel the team contact must notify the tournament director.

Tiebreakers

We use the following tiebreaking system below.  Each tie breaker is independent of the other one.  For example, some tournaments combine game and period points; however, we do not combine them. Tiebreaker 2 (head-to-head) sometimes does not work when there are three or more teams tied in a division, so for that tie-breaker we provided scenarios to explain.  Please note every time we place a team, we go back to the first tiebreaker (game points) to place the next team.  We also do not skip a placement order; meaning place first, then third, and then go back to second place.  It’s always first place, then second place, then third place, and so on.

Tie-Breaker Description
1-Game Points For each game teams get 2 points win, 1 point tie, 0 points loss
2-Head-to-Head If tied after game points teams are judged on head-to-head (refer to the scenarios in first bullet below to understand the application).
3-Period Points If tied after game points and head-to-head teams are judged on period points; each period teams receive: 2 points win, 1 point tie, 0 loss
4-Goals Against If tied after game points, head-to-head, and period points teams are judged on least goals scored against them in the regular games
5-Goals For If tied after game points, head-to-head, period points, and goals against teams are judged on goals for in the regular games
6-First Goal If tied after game points, head-to-head, period points, goals against, and goals for teams are judged on first goal of head-to-head game
7-Least Penalties If tied after game points, head-to-head, period points, goals against, goals for teams, and first goal are judged on least penalty minutes
8-Coin Toss If teams are tied at this point a coin toss is the determining factor

For example, in a six-team division, three teams have four game points (i.e., Teams 1, 2, and 3), two teams have three game points (i.e., Teams 4 and 5), and one team has zero game points (i.e., Team 6).  Below would be each team’s placement:

  • Teams 1, 2, and 3 with four game points are considered for first place.  Since these three teams are tied with four game points, head-to-head is the next tiebreaker.  In applying head-to-head these two scenarios are considered.  For this example, we will use Scenario 1 to place the first team and proceed from there to place the remaining five teams.
  • Scenario 1 – one team played and beat the other two teams in regular games, while the other two teams did not play each other in regular games (i.e., 1 beat 2, 1 beat 3, and Team 2 and 3 did not play each other).  Team 1 advances to first place in this scenario.
  • Scenario 2, all three teams played each other in regular games and beat each other once (i.e., 1 beat 2, 2 beat 3, and 3 beats 1).  Under this scenario all three teams remain tied under head-to-head and will be evaluated next using period points.   
  • To place remaining five teams, start with first tiebreaker – game points. Teams 2 and 3 have four game points, Teams 4 and 5 have three game points, and Team 6 has zero game points.  The two teams with four games points compete for second place.  Using Scenario 1 from the prior bullet, head-to-head does not apply since Team 2 and 3 did not play each other.  Evaluating Team 2 and 3 using the third tiebreaker – period points, Team 2 had 14 and Team 3 had 12 period points. Team 2 advances to second place.
  • To place remaining four teams, start at first tiebreaker – game points. Team 3 advances to third place with four game points (other teams had three or zero game points).
  • To place the remaining three teams, start from the first tiebreaker – game points. Team 4 and 5 have three game points and Team 6 has zero game points.  Teams 4 and 5 are considered for fourth place with three game points.  Looking at the results, Team 4 and 5 played each other and tied in their regular game, so head-to-head cannot determine placement.  We then consider period points, Team 4 and 5 tied with eight period points so this tie-breaking cannot determine placement.  Placement goes to least goals against, Team 4 had eleven, while Team 5 had ten against.  Team 5 advances to fourth place.
  • To place remaining two teams, start at first tiebreaker – game points.  Team 4 has three game points and Team 6 has zero; Team 4 takes fifth place and Team 6 takes sixth.    

Game Tiebreaking Rules

10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U Rules

Overtime rules for quarter-final, semi-final, and championship games tied three periods:

Period Players Time
4 4 on 4 4-minute running time period with goalies
5 3 on 3 3-minute running time period with goalies
6 2 on 2 2-minute running time period with goalies
7   Shootout The team with the most goals after three shooters wins game.  If tied after three, each team adds one new shooter until there is a winner.  Each new shooter must be a new player until everyone on the team has had a turn.  If there is no winner at that point, teams can reuse players.

8U and 6U Rules

Overtime rules for quarter-final, semi-final, and championship games tied three periods:

Period Players Time
3 3 on 3 3-minute running time period with goalies
4 2 on 2 2-minute running time period with goalies
5 Shootout The team with the most goals after three shooters wins game.  If tied after three, each team adds one new shooter until there is a winner.  Each new shooter must be a new player until everyone on the team has had a turn.  If there is no winner at that point, teams can reuse players.

Applicable to 6U and 8U

  • Penalties given during the overtime periods depart from USA Hockey rules.  When a penalty is assessed the non-penalty team gets to add a player.  For example, 4 on 4 will go to a 5 on 4, a 3 on 3 will go to a 4 on 3, and a 2 on 2 will go to a 3 on 2.  All penalties are 30 seconds in duration and expire at the end of each overtime period.