Tournament Rules

Tournament Rules

USA Hockey rules apply (unless otherwise noted) since the Capital 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 that are in conjunction in addition to USA Hockey:

  • All players must be on a certified USA Hockey Roster to play in the tournament. Any player not on the USA Hockey Roster will be disqualified from the tournament.
  • Managers must have a copy of their certified USA Hockey Roster with them at all times. Managers that request the tournament to confirm players on another team’s USA Hockey roster, that review is strictly performed by a tournament director. The team requesting the review will not be permitted viewing or access to the roster.
  • Players are not permitted to play on two teams at the same age level in the tournament but can play at different age levels (e.g., Player on 10U and 12U team) when approved by their registrar, USA Hockey, and the tournament. Approval must be received in writing from the tournament (email proof) and the player must be on both USA Hockey Rosters. The exception to this rule is for goalies; in case of injury, sickness, or unavailability a team may find a replacement goalie from a local, non-local, or tournament team of similar ability (e.g., Travel B goalie replaced by Travel Rec, B, LA). If this situation arises the team must inform and receive approval from the tournament director.
  • If a team is found to have higher-level players, absent having written approval from the tournament (email proof), that team forfeits all tournament games and is ineligible for the semi-final and championship rounds. Tournament approval must be done two weeks in advance and these players must be on the team’s certified USA Hockey Roster. When a team is forfeited from the tournament, that team is still expected to play all tournament games, but without those players.
  • All divisions have a four-game guarantee. Some division formats provide for a fifth game.
  • Teams must be ready 10 minutes prior to their game and be ready to take the ice.
  • All teams receive a 3-minute running time warm-up and 1-minute time out each game at 10U and above levels except for overtime periods. Timeouts are not permitted at the 8U level in any game. Teams supply pucks for warm-ups and games.
  • Any team that is a no-show for a game, forfeits that game and receives zero game and period points. The score will be recorded as a 1-0 win for the opposing team. The opposing team receives 2 game points and the applicable period points for that game based on 1-0 score.
  • Referee’s decisions are final, do not ask a tournament official or director to overturn or reconsider the referee’s call. The no-tolerance rule is strictly enforced. Coaches or players reprimanding the referees or tournament staff will not be tolerated.
  • Any game misconduct against a player/coach will be official. The player/coach must serve the full penalty and sit out a tournament game if required. The team manager must report the misconduct/suspension clearly on their next game sheet.
  • When there is 30 minutes or more collectively between the two teams in minor penalties in any game a tournament official can end the game or implement running time. A player who receives 4 penalties in a single game receives a game misconduct. Teams receiving 12 or more penalties in a single game, the coach is suspended from the next game.
  • There is no video replay. Do not ask for one or provide your team-captured video. All referee calls are final.
  • Only coaches and managers can present disputes to a tournament director. A protest 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 to a coach or manager who can present them to the tournament.
  • Rinks require a driver’s license or car keys to get locker room keys. All teams are responsible for cleaning their locker rooms. 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 Skills Event. Players can get dressed in any available locker room or other areas in the rink. Players and parents are responsible for their belongings inside or outside the locker room. We highly recommend getting dressed outside and coming ready to take the ice or put on skates.
  • Home team wears dark-colored jerseys and the visiting team wears light-colored jerseys. If a team has only one set of jerseys, the other team must wear an appropriate color.
  • Managers must put a player roster sticker on the scoresheet prior to each game at the 10U level and above at the tournament registration table (player roster stickers are not required for 8U). After each game scorekeepers provide the tournament officials the scoresheet. A copy of the scoresheet along with the game score will be posted online after each game. If your team needs a copy of a scoresheet, it will be online only.
  • 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.
  • Non-local teams and families must stay at a tournament host hotel. Any team or family not staying at a host hotel they were placed into 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. Keep in perspective that state and local liquor laws do not permit alcohol in public spaces at the hotel (lobby, hospitality rooms, hallways). Alcohol served and purchased from the hotel’s bar and/or food and beverage services is permitted. Drunken and disorderly conduct is not permitted and may result in removal from the hotel and disqualification from the tournament.
  • Coaches and parents must maintain control at all times. Remember these are your kids, playing a recreational/extracurricular activity for their enjoyment. Parents and coaches are encouraged to cheer for their teams and to positively support the other teams’ players, coaches, and parents. Noisemakers are not permitted.
  • Players, Coaches, Parents, Tournament and Rink Officials must abide by all health and safety protocols, established by the Rink, County, and USA Hockey guidelines.
  • 8U Rules
  • Teams must be ready 10 minutes prior to scheduled game time to take the ice
  • All teams receive a 3-minute running time warm-up
  • Games are played half-ice rather than cross-ice with blue pucks
  • Teams supply blue pucks for warmups and games
  • Sharing locker rooms with opposing team, as 4 teams are on the ice at the same time
  • Regular games are one 20-minute period
  • Quarter/Semi-Finals, consolation, and championship games are two 20-minute periods
  • Games are played 4 on 4 with goalies using intermediate-size nets, 48” x 36”
  • Every 2 minutes at the sound of the horn the clock stops and there will be a line change with a faceoff at center ice
  • Every time a goal is scored there will be a faceoff at center ice to resume play, this indicates the referee has declared a goal
  • When a goalie freezes the puck the referee stops the play, places the puck behind the net, and then signals play to resume
  • Penalties are 30 seconds
  • Upon the referee calling a penalty the play stops, the referee directs the player off the ice, and then the referee will resume play, dropping the puck in the most appropriate place to resume play
  • Upon the referee signaling to resume play, the 30-second penalty begins
  • If the penalty occurs within the last 30 seconds of a shift the remaining time carries over to the next 2-minute shift
  • Coaches are responsible for monitoring penalty time duration
  • When multiple penalties occur within a short time frame no team can have less than two players on the ice
  • Score is kept but there is no record of player goals or assists, teams must record that information. Therefore referees do not need to report to the scorebox
  • If an injury occurs the other game continues until the 2-minute period ends. The next 2-minute shift will start once the injured player comes off the ice
  • No time-outs permitted in any games
  • 10U and UP Rules
  • Teams must be ready 10 minutes prior to scheduled game time to take the ice
  • All teams receive a 3-minute running time warm-up
  • Teams supply pucks for warmups and games
  • Teams are permitted a 1-minute time out during each regular game
  • Timeouts are not permitted in any overtime period
  • All tournament games 10U -14U are 3-13-minute stop time periods
  • 16U games are 3 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’ 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.
  • Penalties are 1 ½ min minor, 4 min major, 8 min misconduct for regular games
  • If there are 30 minutes or more in minor penalties between the two teams the game will go to running time or be ended by a tournament official.
  • According to USA Hockey any player that receives 4 penalties in any game receives a game misconduct. Further, teams that receive 12 or more penalties in any game the coach is suspended from the next game.

Division Seedings and Placement Criteria 

We use the following system to determine team placements after regular game play. Each criterion is independent of the other one.  For example, some tournaments combine game and period points; however, we do not combine them. Criteria 2 (head-to-head) sometimes does not work when there are three or more teams tied in a division, so for that criteria, we provided scenarios to explain. Please note every time we place a team, we go back to the first criterion (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, etc.   


Placement Critera


1-Game Points

For each game teams get 2 points win, 1 point tie, 0 points loss


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 is 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 next criterion.  In applying head-to-head these two scenarios are considered.  For this example, we will use Scenario 1 to place the first team and then proceed 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 in head-to-head and will next be evaluated using period points for placement purposes. 
  • To place the remaining five teams, start with the first criterion- 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 are competing 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 criterion- period points, Team 2 had 14 period points and Team 3 had 12 period points. Team 2 advances to second place.   
  • To place the remaining four teams, start at first criterion – game points. Team 3 advances to third place with four game points as other teams only have three or zero game points.  


  • To place the remaining three teams, start from the first criterion – 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 criterion cannot determine placement. Placement went to least goals against, Team 4 had eleven goals against and Team 5 had ten goals against. Team 5 advances to fourth place. 
  • To place the remaining two teams, we start at first criterion -game points. Team 4 has three game points and Team 6 has zero; Team 4 takes fifth place and Team 6 takes sixth.