The International Ice Hockey Federation is pleased to introduce the updated version of the IIHF Officiating Procedures Manual (OPM) on June 15, 2009. This manual has been updated by the IIHF Officiating Committee in co-operation with the IIHF Office. In the new version you will find tips for game officials regarding different items of officiating. The updated OPM contains the materials and tips combined from different IIHF championships and events including the World Championships which have been collected by IIHF referee supervisors. Section “Positioning” contains the adjustments due to the rule changes which will come into effect from July 1, 2009.

The material will be interesting for game officials of different levels, national association referee-in-chiefs, national association instructors and all people who want to become a game official or who want to improve their skills.

The IIHF Officials Procedures Manual is available for all game officials to reference as a guide at games. Download the full version (PDF, 10.8 MB) or click on the sections below.






After operating the Four-Man Officiating system at the Continental Cup, European Champions Cup and the World U20 Championship at the start of the 2008 season; and taking into consideration that some nations will begin to use this officiating system in the near future and at the 2008 World Championship, the IIHF has published a Procedures Manual for the Four-Man system. The manual contains some procedures and guidelines that were implemented in the above mentioned IIHF events. This material should be useful for officiating staff members in the various countries that are looking at implementing the Four-Man system and the Directors of Officiating of national leagues and also the IIHF Game Officials.


OPM - 4-Man Officiating System





The use of the Video Replay of disputed goals is approved by the IIHF and is included in the Rule Book. All available television pictures must be provided and used by the Video Goal Judge for this system.

The following situations are the only situations that will be subject to Video Goal Judge review:

  1. To determine if the puck has completely crossed the goal line.
  2. To determine if the puck entered the net prior to or after the goal frame was dislodged.
  3. To determine if the puck entered the net prior to or after expiration of time at the end of a period or the game.
  4. To determine if the puck was directed into the net by a hand or kicked into the net by a skate.
  5. To determine if a puck deflected into the net off of a game official.
  6. To determine if the puck was struck with a high stick, above the height of the crossbar, by an attacking player, prior to the puck entering the net.
  7. To establish the correct time on the official game clock at the point that the puck completely crossed the goal line, provided that the game time is available on the Video Goal Judge's monitor.

Enclosed are the operation procedures and the technical requirements of the IIHF Video Goal Judge System, which is used in various IIHF events and the Olympic Winter Games.

Video Goal Judge System - Operation Procedures
Video Goal Judge System - Technical Specifications
Video Goal Judge System - Graphic





The IIHF updated measurement standards for goalkeeper's equipment, which affect goalies primarily from the waist down. These equipment standards are written in the spirit of 'fair play' and are a supplement to the IIHF Rule Book.


If at any time the IIHF feels that this spirit is being abused, the offending equipment will be deemed ineligible for play until a hearing has ruled on its eligibility.

IIHF Goalkeeper Equipment Measurement Procedure
IIHF Goalkeeper Measurement Standards
IIHF Size of Goalkeeper's Equipment Memo





Immediately following the scoring of a goal in any game, a 45-second Goal Break will stop the game for the television purposes described below. The timing of this procedure is activated by the OBSV spotter and managed by the Timekeeper:

00 – 10 seconds:


Celebration of the goal by the players

10 – 20 seconds:

Slow motion replay number 1

20 – 30 seconds:

Slow motion replay number 2

30 – 45 seconds:

Goal scorer close-up with graphics

There will be a signal light (red light) installed in the official Scorekeeper’s Bench advising the Referee and teams that the 45 second Goal Break Procedure is in effect.  The Referee should not drop the puck, until he/she sees that the red light is off and receives the signal from the Scorekeeper’s bench to proceed with the face-off at centre ice.



Frozen Game Puck Regulation

In an effort to provide the players with the best possible puck each and every shift, the following procedure to ensure that a frozen puck is in play at all times.  The procedure will be as follows:

  1. The penalty box attendant is to open the penalty box door at a whistle when the puck has been in use for more than 2 minutes of actual playing time.

    at 17:34 – a new puck
    at 16:10 – a whistle, same puck
    at 15:12 – a whistle, new puck

  2. As the Linesmen will not be aware of the actual time that a puck has been in play it will be the job of the Penalty Box Attendant to open the penalty box door to signal to a linesman to come and get a new puck. The Linesman will pick it up for use at the up coming face off.

  3. Before the opening face off of each period the Linesman will come to get a puck just before the face off is to take place.

  4. During a Snow Cleaning Service the Linesman will not come to get the new puck until the conclusion of the service.

  5. If for any reason there is a lengthy stoppage of play (altercation, ice repair, broken glass, etc) and it is evident that the puck in play has been out of the freezer for an extended length of time the Penalty Box Attendant is to signal the Linesman to get a new puck as play is about to resume.


Snow Clearing Service

A snow clearing service will be operated at the first stoppage of play after the 15:00 minute mark, the 10.00 minute mark and the 5:00 minute mark of each regular period in all games of the men’s and the women’s tournaments of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  This service will be to the area in front of both player benches, around the goal posts and goal crease area of both goal nets plus the area in front of the goal nets. The service will be executed in a maximum of 60 seconds.

Snow Clearing Service Responsibilities

For the operation of snow clearing service the organiser must appoint eight (8) persons with good skating skills, equipped with shovels and containers to successfully operate the required clearing service.  The Organiser is responsible to appoint one Crew Supervisor to manage the service from the Scorekeepers Bench and one coordinator to control the entry and departure of the cleaners onto and off of the ice surface at the Olympia entrance door.

The cleaners must be on skates and be assembled in an area near the Olympia entrance for easy access to the ice surface.  Seating in the area of the Olympia entrance is required for the cleaners in order to control the traffic patterns around this entrance door. 

Snow Clearing Service Timing

Snow clearing service breaks may only be taken only when teams are at equal strength when a stoppage in play occurs (4 on 4, 5 on 5, or 6 on 6). The determination of equal strength is the manpower on the ice at the time of the whistle.  Therefore, if Team A is a player down, and a penalty is called on Team B, a snow removal break is not allowed.

If the teams are at equal strength and a stoppage of play is due to one of the following:

  1. a goal has been scored
  2. a penalty has been called
  3. a penalty shot has been awarded and taken

then a snow removal break is still allowed.

In the event that a snow removal break is not taken during at the prescribed time because of penalties, player scrums or the flow of the game, the missed snow removal opportunity will be made up at the first whistle when conditions are met as described above.

The only exception is when a five minute (non-coincidental) major penalty is called on a player. In this situation the snow removal break must be taken during the stoppage in play when the major penalty was called and will be administrated by the Crew Supervisor / Protocol Volunteer in the normal fashion.

No snow removal breaks will be taken in the final thirty seconds of the first and second periods, and the final two minutes of the third period.  Also, no snow removal breaks will be granted in overtime, with the exception of the Gold medal game where the above procedure will apply for the 20 minute overtime period.

Snow Clearing Service Operations

When the whistle is sounded to stop play at which time a snow clearing service is scheduled, a red lamp will be illuminated at the Scorekeepers’ Bench by the Crew Supervisor and the coordinator is responsible to open the Olympia door to enter the cleaners onto the ice surface.  The cleaners, on skates, take with them a shovel and a container to return the snow the snow with them.

  1. The Crew Supervisor immediately starts timing the break
  2. One linesman places the puck on the ice where the next face-off will take place while the referee proceeds to the Scorekeepers Bench
  3. The players proceed to their respective benches while the other linesman stands between the player benches
  4. Should a player scrum occur at the respective stoppage of play then the service shall be halted until the scrum has subsided and the players returning to their respective player benches.
  5. Should the scrum of player not subside within 20 seconds of the stoppage of play then the service shall be held at the next stoppage of play during that period.
  6. One cleaner is assigned to clear the snow from around the goal posts and crease area of each goal net (total 2 cleaners)
  7. Two cleaners are assigned to clear the snow from the ice along the boards in front of and between both player benches
  8. Four cleaners are assigned to clear the snow in front of the nets (2 at each end).
  9. At the opening of the Olympia entrance door, the cleaners skate quickly to their designated positions and quickly shovel the loose snow off the ice and put it in the container prepared for this service.
  10. Should game officials or players block their path while clearing the loose snow in their designated areas, the cleaners are to gently manoeuvre through or around the persons in question
  11. Once completed, the cleaners take their container and shovel and leave the ice quickly using the same door used for their entry.
  12. With 20 seconds remaining in the Snow Clearing Service Break, the Crew Supervisor cues the Referee to blow the whistle to indicate that the players proceed to the face-off spot
  13. With five seconds left in the break the back linesman gets a cue (5 second cue card) from the Crew Supervisor to blow the whistle to drop the puck
  14. The puck should drop at the eighty second mark
  15. The Crew Supervisor should turn the red signal lamp off at the eighty second mark

Team Considerations

Teams should be aware of the following procedures during the snow clearing service breaks:

  1. Goalkeepers will be allowed to go to their respective players bench
  2. Teams are allowed to change lines once the referee blows the whistle with 20 seconds remaining in the Snow Clearing Break, signaling the teams to return to the face-off (this is to cover the ‘No change rule’ for the team that ice the puck)
  3. These line changes will follow the same protocol as a normal line change during a stoppage of play
  4. Teams will be allowed to request their official time-out from the Referee once they are called back to the ensuing face-off by the Referee's whistle
  5. The Referee will immediately advise the Official Scorekeeper of the time-out request and the official time-out will follow the normal protocol


Since the 1999-2000 season, the IIHF has worked to improve the quality of the game and the safety of the players while ensuring that the contests are played within the rules governing the sport to promote the positive image of hockey, and to give the opportunity for players to use their skills for the benefit of fans to witness great performances on the ice.


Each year, the IIHF has prodeuced an IIHF Rules Emphasis Bulletin, highlighting the rules which we should focus on in order to acheive this goal. The bulletins are written for the benefit of our game officials, players and coaches participating in IIHF competitions.


2009-2010 Rule Emphasis Bulletin (updated 24th June 2009)
2006-2010 Rule Interpretation Bulletin #1
2002-2006 Rule Interpretation Bulletin #1


Further to the discussions and decisions at the 2009 IIHF Annual Congress held in Berne, Switzerland, please find the 2009-10 Rules Bulletin with the three new rule changes that will come into effect starting on July 1, 2009.


2009-2010 Rules Bulletin (updated 11th July 2009)





The IIHF Game Officials Handbook was created to help game officials prepare to officiate at IIHF competitions.


A game official must be prepared mentally and physically for a demanding but enjoyable schedule of hockey games and activities. Officials should be in excellent physical condition and fully prepared to perform at the highest level.


Once a game official confirms his/her participation in an event, it is suggested that they contact their national association to discuss their particular assignment with the Referee-in-Chief, and that they visit the IIHF web site to learn more about the specific competition.


Game Officials Handbook (updated 30th June 2009)





The IIHF Off-Ice Officials Handbook outlines the responsibilities of the Off-Ice Officials assigned by an IIHF Championship organizer to an IIHF Championship competition.


Regulations pertaining to organizing the technical components of an IIHF Championship can be found in the IIHF Championship Regulations and IIHF Sport Regulations. Regulations pertaining to international player transfers, discipline, health and first aid, medical doping control, and the actual playing rules, can be found in the respective rule and regulation documents of the IIHF.


Please contact the IIHF Office directly for clarification on any of information in this handbook, or for questions on topics not covered in this publication.



IIHF Off-Ice Officials Handbook




2006-2010 IIHF CASE BOOK

The IIHF Case Book is a supplement to the IIHF Official Rule Book. It is comprised of rule interpretations and clarifications, Referee and Linesmen guidelines, techniques and instructions.


It also provides players, team officials, and the media with clarification of the playing rules.Situations often develop during the course of a game that require specific rulings or interpretations, and an attempt has been made to provide an explanation that is compatible with the spirit and intent of the rules of ice hockey, and the standard of sportsmanship that players, team officials and game officials must recognize and accept. 

IIHF Case Book (updated 30th June 2009)





An era comes to an end

“Most successful Olympics ever”

Triple gold for Eric Staal


Reaction after gold medal game

Canada takes over

Miller gets MVP honours

Visnovsky reprimanded

Staal’s chance to make history

Expectations and Dreams

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