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Rules and Briefings

NFHS Rules More Aligned than ever with Rules of Hockey
By UmpireHockey.com
Feb 17, 2011 - 3:00:00 PM

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With the adoption of the requirement that the ball must leave the circle on a penalty corner before a goal can be scored AND umpires now being able to penalize misconduct with an extended yellow card, the NFHS rules are more aligned than ever with Rules of Hockey.

A major remaining difference in the NFHS rules is that while a goalkeeper is allowed to stop shots using his stick above his shoulders, other defenders are not. This poses the most significant difficulty for umpires because:
  • In NFHS games if a non-goalkeeper uses his stick above his shoulder to stop a shot it's a penalty stroke

  • In all other games if a non-goalkeeper uses his stick above his shoulder to stop a shot it's "play on"
  • This can be especially difficult if an umpire is officiating, for example, a high school game in the morning and a college game in the afternoon, or vice versus.

    Other differences include that umpires do not manage goalkeeper substitutions, that the goalkeepers can substitute at the back-line rather than the center-line, that teams are required to play with a fully kitted goalkeeper, that any injured player can be substituted on a penalty corner, and that substitutions can happen on penalty corners before the penalty corner has ended.

    NFHS changes include:
    1. Removal of the "ally" markings 5 yards from the side-lines.

    2. Weight of the stick was limited to 23 ounces. Now the stick weight is limited to 26 ounces, matching the requirements in the Rules of Hockey.

    3. Clarification of permissions given to state associations for local rule changes.

    4. Clarification of responsibilities of coaches.

    5. Extension of umpire's administrative responsibilities for a contest through the completion of any required reports or correspondence in response to any action occurring while the officials have jurisdiction.

    6. Clarifies that any blood on a player's uniform or equipment must be dealt with appropriately. Previously the rules said it was necessary to have "excessive" blood before action had to be taken.

    7. Correction eliminates the self-pass as a legal action at the start of a penalty corner.

    8. Description of "dribble" was added to the definition section of the rules. The NFHS defined a dribble in this way, "Dribble is a means for a player to maintain possession while moving the ball with a series of taps."

    9. Editorial corrections eliminates restrictions normally applied during attacking free hits inside the 25 yard attacking area that were included in the description of a 16-yard hit for a ball over the back-line last touched by the attack.

    10. Introduction of an extended yellow card (10 minutes), giving the umpires more flexibility when assessing misconduct.

    11. Editorial changes were made to complete sentences and correct grammar in the description of attacking free hits for fouls within 5 yards of the circle.

    12. Editorial change was made adding "self-pass" to the list permissible actions on a free hit (the action was already permitted, just not listed).

    13. Clarifications on locations and penalties when a defender is within the "away distance" when defending against free hits.

    14. Introduction of the international standard that the ball must leave the circle on a penalty circle before a goal can be scored. Penalty corners will now be managed exactly the same at all levels of the game. In short, shots may be taken if the ball doesn't leave the circle but, and we're quoting here, "No shot on goal can be scored by an attacker from the penalty corner hit until the ball has left the circle and then is brought back into the circle."

    15. An omission was found absent from the 2010 book specifying that if the attack enters the circle before the ball is put into play, a free hit shall be awarded to the defense. This is different than the Rules of Hockey that stipulate that the penalty corner is to still be taken.

    16. The NFHS modified the section of its rules book covering misconduct in the team area. The changes clarify, for example, that a green card should be issued to the head coach and other offender, if any, for a first offense. Further, stipulates that extended yellow cards (10 minutes) can be issued for team area violations.

    17. An editorial change was made in the "Officials Guide" section of the NFHS rules book correcting a mistake instructing that one way the attack can meet the requirements of Indirect Circle Entry is to dribble the ball seven yards. The correction changes seven yards to five yards and clarifies that dribbling the ball is only one way to meet the Indirect Circle Entry requirements.

    18. Finally, additional changes were made in the "Officials Guide" updating guidance for umpires concerning player misconduct, issuing cards (reasons and procedures) and clarifying the umpire's role when addressing player misconduct.

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