Halifax Minor Ball Hockey LeagueRules

Updated February  2023

The NSMBHL Managing Director or their delegate will have the final decision on all matters regarding the NSMBHL.

All leagues within the NSMBHL will follow the same structure and rules. Exception may be granted by the NSMBHL President of their delegate.

Playing surface: The U8, U10, U12 and U14 divisions will play cross rink, 4 x4.

The U17 division may play cross rink 3x3 or 5x5 on the full arena surface.

The NSMBHL will follow standard hockey rules.

As always, the decision of the ref will be final.

Respect the Referee
The NSMBHL considers sportsmanship a strong priority.  It is essential that all participants, including spectators act with the utmost respect to our referees. There will be a zero tolerance for any unsportsmanlike conduct towards the referee. In fact we will deal with unsportsmanlike conduct very firmly. Please do no expect a warning relating to unsportsmanlike behavior. Coaches are asked to help ensure their players are aware of this.

Goalie Stopping the Ball 
The ref will promote continuous play. If the goalie stops the ball they will be encouraged to "play on" if not under pressure.

If they are under pressure by the other team they can cover the ball to stop play. If the goalie covers the ball and a whistle blows the ball will be placed behind the goal and a defensive player will quickly take possession. All other players must be above the crease. The game resumes when the referee blows the whistle.

If there is no pressure from opposing players and the ref yells “play on” the goalie must move the ball. If they do not do so quickly the ref will blow the whistle and give the offensive team passion in the nearest corner.

Ball Leaving the Playing Surface
If the ball is going off the playing surface people are encouraged to stop it so that the play can continue. In this case the ref will yell “Play On”.

If the ball goes off the playing surface the referee will blow their whistle to stop play. No undue advantage is to be gained by a ball going out of play. If there is an unfair bounce caused when a ball was leaving the playing surface the ref will blow the whistle and restart the play from where the ball was leaving the playing area.

A goal cannot be scored directly from stopped play on the sidelines. The play must be a pass or the ball must deflect off of a player before entering the net.


Length of Game

U8 and U10 Division– will begin with a group warm up and then 4 skill stations. Each team spends 5 minutes at each station and then rotate to the next.  This will be followed by a mini game of 2 x 14 minute periods. The refs will assist with the flow of the game and along with the coaches will teach the kids as needed. The emphasis will be on continuous play, fun and learning the game.

The shifts will be 2 minutes long. Every two minutes, the whistle will blow and a new shift will take to the playing surface. Please be ready  so shift can be made quickly.

Coaches can go on the playing surface if they need to do so to help teach a player. Coaches are encourage to limit this direct contact and promote independence by our young players.

U12 and U14 Division – Will play 2 x 25 minute periods of running time, 4 x 4 players, cross court.

Shifts will be made on the fly.

The U17 division will play 2 x25 minute running time. 3 x 3 cross rink, or 5 x 5 full arena. The format will depend on how many players sign up. If the u17's play full rink the floating blue line rule will be used.  All changes on the fly.

Score Keeper

The Home team is to provide a score keeper.

When the ref signals a goal, the score keeper will change the score board and record who scored on the game sheet

No individual stats such as leading scorers will be kept by the league.

Making a penalty call – a penalty call is made as soon as it happens.  

All penalties will result in a penalty shot.

The Penalty shot - The ball is placed at centre, the ref blows whistle, the player takes the shot. They must remain in forward motion, no rebounds are permitted. After the shot the ball is quickly placed behind the net. One defender goes behind the net with the ball. The ref blows the whistle to resume play.

Ref will ensure the offending player understands why the call is being made. The goal will be to teach each player the correct rules.

The player who was “offended” will take the shot. If the offended player cannot take the shot or for penalties where no one was directly offended, the coach will select who will take the penalty shot. The coaches are to mix it up and ensure all players have a chance to take penalty shots.

Minor Penalties 

The following infractions will result in a penalty shot:

  • Body contact. This is a non-contact league. We understand that some incidental contact will take place. Any play for which is ruled that the player is “playing the player” and not the ball will be called.
  • High sticking - contacting another player with a high stick (above the shoulders) or causing danger to another player. It is a penalty shot.
  • High sticking -contacting the ball over the shoulder -Keep sticks below the shoulder. If a player touches the ball with their stick above the shoulders it is a penalty shot.
  • The refs will call this 100%, no leeway! Please keep the sticks down!
  • Tripping   - Hooking - Elbowing   Sometimes we know a trip, hook or elbow might be a mistake. It is still a penalty as players are responsible to control their body and stick at all time.
  • Contacting the goalie – players are not permitted to enter the crease with either foot. If an offensive player touches the crease with their foot - it is a penalty shot.
  •  Any unnecessary roughness can be considered roughing.  It is a penalty shot.
  • Catching, holding or carrying the ball. If a player catches the ball or closes their hand on the ball at any time. It is a penalty shot.
  • Delay of game - If a player intentionally shoots the ball from the playing surface it is a delay of game penalty and a penalty shot.
  • Delay of game by the goalie – If the goalie leaves their crease with both feet and plays the ball. This will result in a penalty shot.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct – any conduct deemed unsportsmanlike by the ref will result in a penalty shot.

3 minor penalties and you are out for the game.


Misconduct Penalties

A stick infraction, slashing or cross checking that is deemed dangerous by the ref will result in a penalty shot and the offending player will receive a game misconduct. They will be out for the remainder of the game.. A penalty shot will also be awarded. The team will NOT be short-handed. There will be no tolerance for dangerous stick play.

Note that a coach may also sit a player at their discretion if they are playing outside of the rules. Coaches are encouraged to manage their own players in effort to teach and to keep the game safe and fun. If a player is getting to aggressive, their coach will be encouraged to find a way to settle the aggressive behavior down.

Fighting and even the talk of fighting will be absolutely forbidden. A penalty shot will be awarded and the offending player will receive a game misconduct. Coaches are asked to strictly enforce this rule and help if a player gets out control.

Any fighting or even talk of fighting will result in the player being ejected from the game.

All misconduct incidence must be reported by the Referee to the NSMBHL President. Such misconduct may result in further discipline, up to and including suspension from the league.  If a player is suspended from the league they will not be intitled to any amount of refund. The NSMBHL will not tolerate any player or coach who acts inappropriately. Do not expect a warning regarding bad conduct.

The league officials reserve the right to deal with all misconduct as they see fit.  We will do all that we feel is necessary to ensure the NSMBHL remains a fun and safe place for all participants.

Swearing is also not tolerated. This will result in the opposing team being awarded a penalty shot and the offending player being shifted off for 5 minutes. A second offence and the player will receive a game misconduct penalty. Swearing, name calling or taunting are not welcome and will be dealt with firmly.


The Flow of the Cross Rink Game

All face offs are at centre.

Face off at CENTRE to:

  • Start of the game, start of each period
  • After goals
  • Coincidental minor penalties (after the two penalty shots)
  • When the ref needs to reset the game

Whistle blows for:

  • Penalties
  • Ball out of play
  • Ball frozen by goalie
  • A goal.
  • The ref may also blow the whistle at any time if they feel the need to restart the game.

Play only resumes after the ref blows the whistle to restart play.

 When the goalie stops the ball. Ball goes in back of net. Defensive player takes the ball directly behind the net. All offensive players must be in back of the top of the crease. The defensive player takes control of ball and looks forward.  When the players are set, and this should be done quickly, the Ref blows the whistle and the game resumes.

Ball goes out of bounds -  the team that did not shoot it out gets the ball where the ball left the playing surface. After they fetch the ball, the ref will point to where the ball is to be placed. Every one gives the offensive player 5 feet. Once set, the ref blows the whistle and play resumes.

If the ref has any uncertainty, they can opt to restart the play with a face off at centre.

Referees and coaches are encouraged to work together to help ensure each game is fun, moves with a good flow and that each player has a great experience.

Do your best to make it fun for everyone!