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Hockey Rules & Guidelines

All games will be supervised by Salt Lake County Recreation personnel. The program will be registered with the Ice Sports Industry (ISI) and will be governed by USA Hockey rules. All officials, scorekeepers, and timers will be provided through the Salt Lake County Recreation Division.  The on-ice officials are members of the Wasatch Ice Hockey Officials Association and are contracted by Salt Lake County to officiate Youth League games. Coaches, Team Managers, and Assistant Coaches are on a volunteer basis.  Parents and Guardians are encouraged to participate in the program to help with the development and supervision of the players.

  • Each game will have a 1 hour time frame in which to be played.
  • Each game will begin with a 3-minute warm-up period followed by three 12-minute stop time periods.
  • There will be a 1 minute break between periods.  The third period may be shortened if a game is behind schedule.
  • Players who commit minor penalties will be assessed a 1:30 penalty.
  • Major penalties will be assessed a 4:00 penalty.   Misconduct penalties will be assessed an 8:00 penalty.
  • Gross Misconduct penalties require ejection from the game, plus suspension for at least one additional game, plus appearance before a panel of program administrators.

The following policies have been adopted to govern dressing room usage at all three county ice facilities:

  • Female siblings and/or friends are not permitted in boys' dressing rooms.
  • Male siblings and/or friends are not permitted in girls' dressing rooms.
  • Mothers are permitted in boys' dressing rooms in only the Mite and Squirt divisions.
  • Girls are not permitted to dress in boys' dressing rooms in any age division.
  • Separate dressing rooms for girls are available at all 3 county ice facilities.

Fair Play

The desire to win often produces a style of play contrary to the principles of sportsmanship and fair play. While winning is certainly a consideration, it is not the only consideration, nor is it the most important consideration. Salt Lake County Recreation will not tolerate such a style that ignores sportsmanship and fair play. Remember: It's only a game.

Salt Lake County Youth Hockey has implemented the STOP (Safety Towards Other Players) program.  As part of the STOP program, each player, parent, and coach will be required to make a Fair Play Pledge and sign and submit a copy of the Fair Play Code before the season begins.


The program will be administrated by the staff of the Acord Ice Center in West Valley City, the County Ice Center in Murray, and the Salt Lake City Sports Complex in Salt Lake City.  This staff will determine a non-bias selection of teams through a blind draft procedure. Team selection will be final after the draft is completed. There will be no roster changes after this time. Any special requests for player placement must be submitted in writing prior to the draft process.  Any requests submitted after this point will not be accepted.  In an effort to help insure the formation of equal and balanced teams, only requests demonstrating a genuine hardship situation will be granted.

Uniforms and Equipment

Jerseys and socks will be provided by the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Division as part of the registration fees. All players must wear the assigned jersey for league play. Players will be able to keep the jersey and socks after the completion of league play.

All players must wear ALL protective hockey equipment during league play. No hockey equipment will be supplied by Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Division, with the exception of goalie equipment.  Each team will have a set of goalie equipment assigned to them if needed for the duration of the season.  All "skaters" (non-goalies) will be required to provide the following equipment:

  • Hockey Skates
  • Helmet with full cage (HECC Certified)
  • Shin Pads
  • Elbow Pads
  • Hockey Gloves
  • Shoulder Pads
  • Hockey Pants
  • Hockey Socks
  • Protective Cup (boys), Pelvic Protector (girls)
  • Ice Hockey Stick
  • Mouth Guards (Pee Wee and Bantam divisions only)

This list represents the minimum required equipment needed to participate in the Youth Hockey League. Equipment can be purchased at any local hockey shop.

Players should keep their equipment clean and in good condition to maintain required safety standards.  Skates should be sharpened regularly.  Skate repair and sharpening services are available at any Salt Lake County Ice Facility or any local hockey shop.

Players who do not wear the minimum required hockey equipment will not be allowed to participate in league play or any team practice session.

Player Eligibility

All players must be registered with the Salt Lake County Youth Hockey League. Players must play in the division that corresponds with their age. Players register for age divisions based on their age on January 1 of each year.  Players must be in good standing, with no prior suspensions placed on them by any association. 

Due to the large disparity in skill levels between recreation level and travel level players, any players currently rostered on a travel team are not permitted to participate in the Salt Lake County Youth Hockey Program.   Please refer to the Salt Lake County Travel - Recreation Policy for more information.  For house level players who are interested in testing the competitive travel hockey waters, Salt Lake County Youth Hockey operates the Salt Lake Lightning Select Team Program in the Squirt, Pee Wee and Bantam age divisions.  This is an in-state program that represents a lowest level introduction to travel team hockey.

Penalties and Disciplinary Action

Players will be assessed penalties for rule infractions during games.  For all minor penalties and the first major penalty committed during a game players will serve the designated time in the penalty box (1:30 for minors, 4:00 for majors).  The exception to this is a major penalty for fighting which carries an automatic game misconduct.   Any player that commits a second major penalty in the same game shall be assessed a game misconduct penalty in addition to the major penalty and will be suspended for the next two games of that team.

A misconduct penalty involves the removal of the offending player from the game for 8 minutes of game time.

A game misconduct penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of that game and the next game. The only exception to this rule is when a second major in a game is assessed.  In that case there shall be a two-game suspension. 

A Gross misconduct and/or Match Penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game.  The offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately.  A player incurring a Match  penalty shall be suspended from participating in any games or practice sessions until the proper authorities have dealt with the case. A mandatory hearing before program administrators shall be held and a decision made relative to any further disciplinary action within 30 days.

Travel-Level Players Policy

Any player that is currently registered with and currently rostered on any travel level team is not permitted to play in the Salt Lake County Youth Hockey house league program.

"Travel teams" are defined under the following criteria:

  • Teams are registered with USA Hockey as either Tier 1 or Tier 2
  • Teams or organizations that hold open tryouts for team selections
  • Teams or organizations that recruit players based on ability
  • Players are or may be cut from the team or organization based on ability
  • Players are separated within the organization based on ability (i.e. placed on an "A" team or "B" team, based on ability)

The following is an explanation of the rationale behind this policy:

Discussion of Skill Levels

The skill level of the average travel team player is typically far beyond that of the average recreation level player.  Not only do these travel players dominate game play, but they often intimidate the recreation level players by virtue of their superior skills.  This has been observed on countless occasions over the years that travel team players have been permitted (in some years even required) to play in the recreation program.


There is also a considerable difference between the philosophies of travel and recreation level programs.  Travel programs place more emphasis on competition and winning.  Consequently, the better players typically receive more playing time.  Our recreation program emphasizes fun, participation, sportsmanship, and equal ice time for all players.  The mixing of those two philosophies and the mixing of travel and recreation level players has been the catalyst for many problems in the recreation program for years.

Differences in Skills

This is probably a greater issue in the older divisions than it is in the younger divisions.  At the two oldest divisions of our program, Pee Wees (11-12 year olds) and Bantams (13-14 year olds), the difference in skill levels can be huge.  In addition, checking is introduced at those levels.  Consequently, a safety issue arises when stronger, more highly skilled and more competitive travel team players engage in physical contact with lesser skilled recreation level players.  This also increases the potential for liability for the hockey program and Salt Lake County.

Participating at the Mite Level

In light of this it may be asked why we cannot allow travel team players to participate in the Salt Lake County program at the Mite (ages 6-8) level but not at the older levels.  There is a problem with telling travel team players in one age divisions that they can participate, and players in other age divisions that they cannot.  The policy needs to be enforced equally across the board.

Schedule Conflicts and Commitment to Which Team

Typically, schedule conflicts arise at least half of the time between recreation team and travel team activities.  When this occurs travel players will miss their recreation team's activity in favor of their travel team.  As a result the typical travel team player participating in the recreation program will miss one half or more of his/her recreation team's games or practices.  It is not fair for a recreation team to be without one of their players for that much of their season.  It is also inappropriate for a player to sign up for and make a commitment to a recreation team, knowing up front they will miss that much of their team's activities.

County Ice Center Scheduling Limitations

In addition, with the introduction of the home based rink system in the County youth hockey program in fall 2003, the County Ice Center in Murray has emerged as the preferred facility amongst our program participants.  This is based primarily on the centralized location of the facility.  Unfortunately the program at the County Ice Center can  only accommodate a limited number of participants.  Consequently a number of players are turned away from that facility each season and must sign up at another facility that is not their first choice.  It would be unfair and inappropriate for players to be turned away from their facility of choice in favor of travel team players who are absent one half or more of the time.

Recreation Level - A Positive Experience

It is important that the participants in the Salt Lake County Youth Hockey Program have a positive experience and want to return to the program season after season.  It has been our experience that many recreation level players (and their parents) become discouraged and intimidated by having to play with and against travel team players that are considerably better than them.  As a result they leave the program prematurely. In addition  the parents of recreation level players have often expressed their concerns about their children participating with travel team players and their desire that the travel team players not be involved in the recreation program.

Where Problems Arise

The option of allowing travel level players to play up an age division to participate in the recreation program has been an issue in the Utah hockey community for years and has been addressed by Salt Lake County personnel in the past.  If travel team Mites (6-8 year olds) are permitted to play up in the recreation program Squirt (9-10 year olds) division we then have to allow travel team Squirts to play with the recreation level Pee Wees (11-12 year olds) and the Pee Wees with the Bantams (13-14 year olds).  This is where bigger problems can arise.

With any of these age division combinations there will be occasions where the younger travel team players are playing with players who are 4-5 years older.  For example there could be travel team Mites as young as 6 playing with recreation level Squirts who have already turned 11.  The size and strength difference between a 6 year old and an 11 year old can be huge.  This again becomes a safety and liability issue in a physical game such as hockey even in age divisions where checking is not yet permitted.  When the Squirt /Pee Wee combination is considered, where checking is not yet permitted in Squirts but is in Pee Wees, the risk increases significantly.

Restriction of Travel Team Players - Summary

One goal of the Salt Lake County Youth Hockey program is that it be truly recreational in nature.  A program where the recreation level players have a chance to touch the puck, make plays, and be the stars of their teams.  A program where recreation level players don't have to be dominated, discouraged, intimidated, and constantly overshadowed by travel team players that are substantially better than them.  To this end the restriction of travel team players in the recreation program is seen as a necessary step.

Refund Policy
As per Salt Lake County policy and procedures the Parks and Recreation Division may withhold 25% of the refund (program registration fee) for administrative costs. All refunds must be requested in person and accompanied with a written refund request. No refunds shall be given after the first day of the program.

General Rules

  • In compliance with the Utah Clean Air Act smoking, smokeless tobacco, and vaping (e-cigarettes) are all prohibited in or around our buildings and park spaces.
  • All patrons and visitors must check in/slide membership card at the front desk.
  • Food and beverages are not allowed in the Fitness Area or Gym with the exception of capped, spill-proof, non-glass water bottles.
  • Possession of illegal drugs, beer, and alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the premises.
  • Foul and abusive language is unacceptable.
  • Abuse and/or misuse of County property and equipment is unacceptable. Violators will be held financially responsible for damages and losses. Any area in which the above rules are violated will be subject to closure. Violators will be asked to leave the premises and action may result in entry privileges being suspended or revoked.
  • LOCKER ROOM AGE POLICY:  Children 4 and under may enter the locker room with a parent, regardless of their gender. Children 5 and over may only use the locker room of their gender. Anyone may use the family change rooms at any time.
  • No bare feet allowed outside of locker rooms with the exception of organized classes such as karate and gymnastics.
  • Lockers are for day use only. Lockers which are not cleared at the end of the day will have the lock cut off and all items will be removed and bagged for pick-up. There will be a two (2) week holding period at which time all items found will be sent to an establishment which collects and resells used merchandise.
  • Patrons are fully responsible for personal items that are lost, stolen, or damaged at the Fitness Center. Books, bags, coats, and personal items should be kept in a locker and are not allowed in activity areas. Patrons are responsible for bringing their own lock when using the lockers.
  • Patrons may not display actions that the Center Staff deem unsportsmanlike or rude.
  • Misuse, moving, or altering any portion of the Center property is prohibited. Persons with infectious diseases are prohibited from using the facility. Open wounds must be covered.
  • All children under the age of ten (10) must be accompanied by an adult (age 18 or older) in all areas of the facility at all times.
  • Please use only the parking areas immediately adjacent to our facilities.
  • Patrons and visitors shall abide by the rules and regulations of their Center. People found in violation of these rules may have their Center privileges suspended or revoked.