Tournament Rules

Tournament Rules

USA Hockey rules apply (unless otherwise noted) as the tournaments are sanctioned events by USA Hockey.  Below are specific tournament rules outside of USA Hockey:

  • All travel players must be on a certified USA hockey roster to play in the tournament games. Any travel player not on the USA hockey roster can be disqualified from the tournament.  This could also cause a game forfeit if it’s determined that an ineligible player influenced the outcome of the game.  Managers must have a copy of the certified USA hockey roster with them at all times.
  • Players can only be registered with one team for the tournament unless specific approval has been granted by your local registrar or USA hockey. The exception to this rule are goalies; in case of injury (e.g. goalie), a team may find another goalie from another tournament team or a goalie from the local area that is of similar caliber.
  • 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 and provide the opportunity for five games.
  • Teams must be ready 15 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 U10, U12 and U14 are 13 minute stop time periods, while U16/18 or high school games are 14 minute stop time periods. 
  • 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 do to other reasons.  A tournament official will make this decision and inform the referees and teams.
  • 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.
  • All tournament games for mites consist of two 24 minute 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 and full regulation size nets.  All penalties are 1 minute in duration and start at the beginning of the next 2 minute shift.  After goals the referee will quickly toss the puck to the side boards to continue play rather than facing off.  Games are played half ice rather than cross ice.  Score is kept but there is no record of the player that scores and assist on each goal.
  • For U10-U18 penalty times are in accordance with USA Hockey (2 minor, 5 major, 10 misconduct), except for games that go to overtime (see tiebreaking rules). Any game misconduct’s 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.  Team managers are required to show their previous game sheet to a tournament official prior to the start of their next game for any game where a player or coach received a game misconduct.  This is necessary because teams play at different rink.  Referee’s decisions are final, so do not ask a tournament official if they can overturn or reconsider the official call made during the game.
  • Only coaches can present disputes to the tournament director. All protest must be in writing and turned into a tournament director for review.  Parents and players cannot participate in this process.  If parents need to address any concerns about the tournament they must direct those concerns through their coaches or managers who can present them to a tournament director.  Parents that do not control their emotions or physical behavior can be banned from the rink for all tournament play.
  • The home team chooses the jersey color to wear for the game. Home team must inform the visiting team of their choice; however, if a team only has one set of jerseys then the other team must wear an appropriate shirt color.
  • Each team is responsible for obtaining and completing the game sheet. The first team arriving to the rink obtains the game sheet from the tournament officials.  Once completed, they will provide the other team the game sheet to complete.  This team is responsible for submitting the game sheet back to the tournament registration desk.
  • 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.  Do to the lack of space we do not assign locker rooms during 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.  As for mites, be prepared for two teams to dress in the same locker room.
  • Parents from the home and visiting team can work the penalty boxes. Tournament staff will not be assigned this duty.  Tournament staff will keep score for all games.  No one is authorized in the scorekeeping area except for tournament staff unless granted permission.  Parents must refrain from yelling, arguing, and use of inappropriate language towards any tournament official, referee, player, or fan.
  • Parents and coaches 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.
  • 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.


Use the following criteria to determine how a team advances into a quarter-final, semi-final or championship game for all divisions.  Note Tiebreaker 2 (head to head) usually does not work when there are more than two teams tied in a division with six teams.

For example, in a six team division, three of the teams are tied with game points of 4.  In order to apply the head to head tiebreaker all three teams must have played each other in regular games (i.e. 1vs2, 1vs3, and 2vs3).  If this applies then one of the three teams must have beating both teams (i.e. 1 beat 2, 1 beat 3, and 2 beat 3) in order to advance before the other teams.  If this does not occur then the tiebreaker moves to period points for these three teams.  Once a team is placed the tiebreaking rules start again from the game points for the remaining teams. So if three teams are tied and one advances, the next two teams are placed by comparing game points, then head to head, then period points, etc.

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 games (can only use this tiebreaker if all teams have played each other)
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

The following format is used during the quarter-final, semi-final, and championship games to determine a tiebreaker after three periods:

Period Players Time
4 Four on Four 4 minute running time period with goalies
5 Three on Three 3 minute running time period with goalies
6 Two on Two 2 minute running time period with goalies
7 Three Player Shootout The team with the most goals after three shooters wins the game.  If tied after three, one new shooter is added from each team until there is a winner

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 one minute in duration and continue into the next overtime period if not expired.