USA Rules II

SECTION III. Beginning the Game

1. Every official match begins with a face-off. A coin toss is first used to determine starting sides. The player winning the coin toss chooses which side to begin on. The winner of the face-off will begin games 3, 5 and 7 with the puck. His opponent will begin the games 2, 4 and 6 with the puck.

2. A face-off is when the puck is placed flat on the center of the table by the referee with the players allowed to advance to within one inch of the puck. A player’s mallet may not touch the centerline until the referee releases the puck, at which time normal centerline rules will be in effect.

Once both players are positioned, the referee will call “players ready” then wait 1, 2, 3, or 4 seconds before releasing the puck. When the referee releases the puck, the players may go for it.

The referee should make a determined effort to release the puck without causing any motion to it. If the puck attains excessive motion, the referee may declare the face-off null and redo it. If the puck goes off the table, the face-off is repeated.

If either player contacts the puck before the referee releases it then a false start has been committed. Each player is allowed one false start with no penalty. If a second false start is committed then the innocent player receives possession.

3. The following constitute winning a face-off: A score on the opponent or gaining the first clear possession without fouling. A puck that has not yet left the centerline cannot constitute possession for either player.

4. During any face-off at center of the table, the centerline rules are still in effect.

5. Every game after the first begins when the referee calls “in play” after ascertaining that both players are ready. In case of any excessive delay by either player to give an affirmative indication of their readiness, the referee will proceed to call “in play”.

SECTION IV. In Play vs. Out of Play

1. The legal bounds of play are the table’s playing surface, the walls of the rails, the front faces of the goals, the interiors of the goals, and the player’s mallets. If the puck touches any other object(s) while it is in play, whether by interference or by foul (unless the foul is nullified) it is considered out of bounds and therefore instantly out of play.

2. A puck, which grazes the top of the rail, is out of play even if it returns to the table surface. If the puck bounces off a shield and returns to the table, the puck is out of play.

3. When the puck is in play, the referee should only grant a time-out if the player calling time-out demonstrates control of the puck. A puck breaking the vertical plane of the goal face can never be considered controlled. A player must never assume that the referee has granted a time-out and should therefore stay at the ready until the referee officially calls time-out.

4. A player calling an additional time-out after his first receives an automatic conduct warning from the referee. The referee should announce ” time-out,” issue the warning by announcing, “conduct warning – extra time-out,” and immediately call ” time-in.” If the non-offending player was not in possession of the puck, the referee should ask that player if he/she is ready before announcing “time-in.” A referee may suspend this penalty if the offending player attempts to call an extra time-out because of injury.

5. If interference occurs during a shot which scores and interference is called by referee, the point does not count. Interference is defined as foreign objects on the table or playing surface, obvious unnecessary noise or distractions or actions by spectators that cause distractions to any or all players, and/or any other incident so deemed by referee. The puck returns to the player who possessed it prior to the interference.

6. When the puck leaves the playing surface and contacts anything except a player’s mallet, play is suspended until the puck is put back into play by the referee. True, even if it touches top of flat rail surface.

SECTION V. Scoring

1. If the puck stops in the goal yet has tilted and broken the horizontal plane of the goal then a score has occurred. If a puck stops in the goal and does not tilt, thereby not breaking the horizontal plane, then the player may either hand the puck to the other player or try to work the puck out of the goal using legal play methods.

2. If the puck rebounds out of the goal mouth, the point does not count. A puck which rebounds out of the goal mouth and strikes the defending player’s hand, and rebounds back into the goal does count.

3. If a puck hits a player’s hand on its way into the goal, the point counts as long as the puck would have scored without the contact.

4. If a score occurs after the table loses power, the point will count only if the puck was struck prior to the table losing power.

5. If a player takes a shot and drops his mallet and the puck enters his/her own goal for a score without it being deflected by the defensive player, the point counts. The player is permitted to stop the puck with hands or body. No point would be scored if the puck enters the opponent’s goal due to the distraction. If a player shoots and the defense loses the mallet, the defense may not use hands or body to stop the shot if the shot occurred prior to or simultaneously with the losing of the mallet. The point counts if it scores.

6. If a player commits a foul and is scored upon in the course of the same play the goal counts and the penalty is nullified.

SECTION VI. Penalties & Fouls

1. Foul: The penalty for a foul is forfeiture of the puck.

2. Technical Foul: The penalty for a technical foul is a free shot taken by the innocent player at the unprotected goal of the guilty player. After a free shot, play immediately begins when the puck either scores, rebounds from the goal, touches the opponent’s end of the table (not sides), or comes to a rest on the playing surface. All free shots must be legal.

3. Unnecessary or excessive delay of game is considered a foul and loss of puck results. Stalling is included in this ruling of delay (referee decision).

4. If the puck rises from the table and touches the defensive player’s hand(s) or arm(s), no foul need be called.

5. If an offensive player hits a puck and the puck wobbles, hitting the hand of the defensive player, but not changing the perceived speed and direction of the puck, then no foul occurs.

6. “Goal-Tending”: If “palming” occurs while the puck is moving in a direct path towards the goal for a score, “goal-tending” must be called against the player doing the “palming.” “Goal-tending” incurs a technical foul.

7. When a player loses total control of his own mallet while the puck is in play the player commits a foul.

8. When the puck is struck in an offensive manner, leaves the playing surface, and remains off the table, the player causing such action commits a foul.

9. Any player violating a centerline rule commits a foul.

10. Distractive Noise: Talking to an opponent, a spectator, a referee, or oneself during play may be penalized by a foul. Loud noises and excessive screaming can also be considered distracting. A referee may warn a player before calling a foul at his/her discretion. Intentional or excessive, distractive talking may be penalized by a “conduct warning” in addition to a foul. Possible distraction violations, which directly lead to a score or a change of possession, should be scrutinized more seriously by a referee when determining whether to ignore, warn or penalize the potential violation.

11. If the puck and mallet of the offensive player are both completely on the offensive player’s side, the defensive player may not strike either the puck or mallet. Also, the offensive player may not strike the defensive player’s mallet in this situation when the defensive player’s mallet is completely on his own side. Violation of this rule constitutes a foul.

12. If in the course of hitting the puck legally, a player’s mallet extends partially (but not completely) over the centerline, no foul shall be called if his mallet contacts the opposing player’s mallet.

13. Although a mallet is allowed to overreach the centerline, the mallet may never completely extend over the centerline — even when following through on a shot. The mallet may never extend further than its diameter across the centerline. Violation of this rule constitutes a foul.

14. Any player who, on his hand serve, makes a score in his opponent’s goal without there having been an offensive shot made on the puck, since the time that the puck was in play, commits the foul of tossed score. In other words, a player cannot just toss the puck into the opponent’s goal. The illegal score shall not create a point, and the player who was illegally scored upon shall have the right to hand serve as the penalty imposed upon the fouling player.

15. If the defensive player strikes the puck in an offensive manner (with forward momentum) and causes the puck to leave the playing surface, this constitutes “charging the puck”. The offensive player retains possession of the puck. Conversely, a defensive player who “blocks” by holding steady or by striking the puck sideways or backwards, causing the puck to leave the table, should not be charged with “charging.”

16. If the referee decides that excessive force was used by the defensive player in knocking the puck off the table, the player commits a foul.