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by posted 12/09/2019

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Update on USAH Rule 601 (e)
by posted 12/04/2019


As you all know from my previous communication, on October 30, 2019 USA Hockey issued a directive that immediately changed any violation of Playing Rule 601(e)3 to a match penalty.  On November 26th, USA Hockey sent out a memo to all officials to clarify some abiguity with the interpretation of rule 601(e)3.

Rule 601 (e) 3 is as follows:

(e) A game misconduct penalty shall be assessed to any player or team official who is guilty of
the following actions:
 (3) Uses language that is offensive, hateful or discriminatory in nature anywhere in the
rink before, during or after the game.”


From the USAH memo:

When developing the new language of Rule 601(e), it was intentionally broad-based and all inclusive.
However, the risk of using broad language in a playing rule is that it becomes open to
liberal interpretation which might lead to misapplication during games.

The first point we must make is “chirping” and “trash-talk” are not a part of the game. Similar to
fighting, they are the product of emotional competition and unfortunately will sometimes occur
between opponents. However, “trash-talking” is not a skill or a strategy, and no player is entitled
to shout abusive and derogatory remarks toward an opponent or game official. USA Hockey
Playing Rule 601 addresses disrespectful behavior and game officials must apply the rule as
directed by the rulebook and its interpretations.

Rule 601(e)3 specifically addresses discriminatory and hateful remarks that regard the personal
traits of a human being (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.
). These types of comments are personally
offensive, dehumanizing and often have a lasting impact on the mental well-being of the recipient
or someone in the vicinity of the offending participant when the comment is made.

On the first weekend of play after the USAH directive, we had two players issued match penalties by a game official for language that was deemed discriminatory and hateful.  Neither case, in my assessment, met the criteria of "hate speech".  Use of a word in an of itself does not qualify a player's action as hateful or discriminatory, rather, it is the context in which the words are used that "weaponizes" them.   I spent some time working with league officials to ensure that an appropriate suspension was applied to these players.

When I grew up, we learned how to develop a "thick skin" in response to insults.  Today, those who govern feel that we need rules with severe consequences to protect our feelings - while I believe the intentions are noble, there are unintended consequences.  One of the parents made a very good point to me:  "It would be better for my player to have punched the opponent rather than sling an insult at him - the suspension would have only been 3 games for fighting".

Let me be clear:  PBK will not tolerate ANY form of bullying or disrimination - it is flat out wrong and is in direct conflict with our values.

What's my point?  If you are a PBK player, read our Club's Mission Statment,  develop a thick skin, get over the trash talking,  practice good sportsmanship and most importantly...


You have been warned twice.  Avoiding the suspension is really simple - keep your mouth shut.  I will not sacrifice any more of my or Jeff Walcott's time investigating 601(e)3 suspensions.




Steve Jede



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