Subject: RULE 615c - Fighting - Helmet Removal
I have been involved with discussions with USA Hockey about the assessment of penalties in accordance with this rule change. Multiple of scenarios have been presented and discussed about who takes off a helmet, how and why a helmet would come off, etc. The examples have been many and the result is this- very simply:
If a helmet comes off one or more players in an altercation, a game misconduct penalty or a match penalty, including a double match penalty must be assessed. Here are some examples –
Scenario A: Two players begin an altercation and Player A reaches in and grabs Player B’s helmet and removes it
Result A: Player A receives a Match penalty for deliberate helmet removal
Scenario B: Two players begin an altercation and Player A and Player B both remove their helmets prior to fighting
Result B: Both players receive Match penalties for deliberate helmet removal
Scenario C: Two players begin an altercation and Player A repeatedly punches Player B in the helmet which knocks B’s helmet off.
Result C: Player A receives a Game Misconduct for non-deliberate removal of the helmet
Scenario D: Two players begin an altercation and fall to the ice. After falling, Player A’s helmet comes off his head.
Result D: Player A receives a Game Misconduct for not wearing his helmet properly during an altercation
Scenario E: Player A turtles/ try’s to escape or after being repeatedly punched in his helmet, loses his helmet.
Result E: Player A receives a Game Misconduct for not wearing his helmet properly during an altercation
The difference between A and C is the opponent deliberately targeted the helmet in Scenario A, as opposed to simply throwing punches which knocks the helmet off. Scenario B is an obvious one. Scenario D is a situation where a helmet came off the player due to being improperly worn. Scenario E- I know, hard to believe but a penalty must be assessed.
We would not penalize the player who has his helmet removed by an opponent, regardless of being improperly worn. Furthermore, we do not reduce a player’s penalty for deliberately targeting the helmet if the opponent’s helmet is improperly worn. The purpose behind the rule change is to eliminate removal of the helmet during altercations.
Also, I have discussed - what if a player removes both his own and his opponents helmet? It is 2 Match penalties. The reason is if it were only a single match penalty, the player knows he already has one for taking off his own helmet, the removal of his opponents helmet then is a “free bee”...a "2 for 1” if you will. That is why two match penalties must be assessed if it occurs.
Teach, enforce and communicate it as black and white, no gray, no judgment.
State Supervisor of Officials, Texas
817 994 7818