Ref - Zoe - ARL


Last updated Sept 11, 2020

The ARL is a non-contact, co-ed, social hockey league for players that want a less-competitive atmosphere. We accept rookies that are just learning the game of hockey and skating as well as players that have been playing a while but enjoy the non-competitive, non-aggressive game we play. Open to Adults 21 years and over, the ARL league rules are designed to ensure the safety of our players and enjoyment of the game.

NON-CONTACT – All participants, in addition to the rules of the game must actively avoid potential collisions whenever possible (offense and defense). We are a hockey league for beginners – we call ROOKIES. This is what the ARL is all about.

A detailed rules and regulations document for the ARL is available below:

View Embedded PDF

* The rules outlined on this page override the guide above where conflicts exist *

Without getting too technical, here is an overview of the ARL’s rules and procedures (if you need clarification, please contact us.)


General Overview

  • Our games are played in a friendly manner (with ARL Spirit), which means we value sportsmanship, safety and fairness to all members of the team.
  • In the interest of fairness and sportsmanship, no team may score more than 5 goals more than their opponent at any time. Any goals scored after that maximum will not be counted or recorded. We ask that stronger teams try to help make the game even out as best they can or at least stop scoring.
  • All participants, attackers and defenders, must actively avoid potential collisions whenever possible, even if this means loss of advantage, puck possession, or scoring chance.
    • Failure to do so will result in a minor penalty and/or a Game Misconduct at the discretion of the Referee. 
    • This means that all players must make every effort to avoid collisions with the opposing team, regardless of the situation on the ice or the calibre of player. 
    • You must be aware of the players around you at all times.
    • You are not allowed to ‘play the man’ and must at all times try to play the puck.
    • If you see a collision about to occur, you must make every reasonable attempt to avoid it.
  • If a player enters the goalies’ crease with a skate or stick (with the exception of retrieving a loose puck) the referee will blow the play dead and a faceoff will take place in the neutral zone. This rule will be enforced throughout the season because as a league we want to ensure that we are protecting our goaltenders. This may result in a lot of whistles during the games played over the first few weeks but we hope as the season goes on players will be more aware of the rule and stay clear of the crease.
  • Players DO NOT cut to the net in an aggressive manner
    • It almost always results in a collision. We are strongly discouraging players from cutting to the front of the net with the puck in an attempt to score. While ‘crashing’ the net may look enticing, there is a strong potential of a high impact collision with the goaltender which may result in injury. This is a play more suited to a league with a higher level of competition.
    • As we have frequently noted, safe and cooperative play is paramount to the ARL mission. Due to the fast pace of the game calls related to this rule will be in the hands of the referees.
    • While there will be no rule AGAINST cutting to the net in an attempt to score, if contact is made with the goalie violating players will need to live with the consequences:
      • Players who make incidental contact with the goalie while attempting this play may face a two minute minor penalty at the referee’s discretion.
      • Players who make direct (not incidental) contact with the goalie while attempting this play will be assessed a five minute major, a game misconduct and a suspension at the discretion of the committee, in consultation with the officiating referees.
    • In the name of consistency, and to be sure this rule is enforced the following penalty structure will be implemented for players violating this rule:
      • First offence, a 5 minute major and a game misconduct, plus a minimum one game suspension.
      • Second offence, a 5 minute major and a game misconduct plus a minimum two game suspension.
      • A third offence will result in expulsion from the league.
    • Once again, we want players to have fun and we want friendly competition in the spirit of the league, but the level of play must exist with an emphasis on player safety.
  • This is a co-ed league and we expect a certain level of sportsmanship (NO tolerance for abusive language, swearing etc.) Don’t slam the gates or smash your stick in frustration – we will eject you from the game)
  • Slashing (hacking – no attempt at the puck) is not allowed, well except for one obvious exception.
  • Fighting and attempt to injure including bodychecking will result in an immediate game misconduct AND suspension
  • Two majors in a season will result in banishment from the league without refund. ARL will pride itself for a “clean” reputation. Players pay to have fun and not to get injured.
  • Players are not allowed on the ice until the Zamboni doors have closed. If you do go out early – DON’T shoot any pucks until the gate is closed. Don’t shoot pucks in warm up at the net if someone is posting the net.
  • We welcome player input and suggestions at any time.


  • If your team is without a goalie at the start of a game we will run the clock for 5 min then begin playing without a goalie. The shorthanded team will play with a sixth player that will act as a third defenseman. Every effort will be made to get a goalie from the ARL – i.e. next available or if a no-show situation, the goalie from previous game etc. There will be no shots allowed from outside the blue line and all shots will need to be low and not hard. The game and all stats will count as normal.
  • Goalies are allowed to play the puck up to their blue line as long as their actions are considered non-aggressive and safe. Crossing the blue line will result in a penalty.


Regarding the stoppage of time for ARL games

  1. We do stop time for the final one minute of each game – if there is a 5 goal difference then we do NOT stop the clock.
  2. We do not stop time for penalties – we ask that everyone move the process along as fast as they can and get lined up for the next faceoff as soon as possible.
  3. We do stop time for player injuries – It doesn’t happen often thank goodness – we usually stop the clock and look after things then get the game going and it ends up running late – if it’s a longer time then the refs take a few min off the next period. We try to catch up times in each game going forward.
  4. There are no time outs – Captains can talk to the refs in between periods if needed.

Our refs manage our timekeepers so any concerns about the clock need to be directed to our refs and not directly to our scorekeepers.


Minor penalties will result in the offending player being charged with a 2:00 minute penalty (once you have 3 minor penalties – you LEAVE the game immediately – you serve that 3rd penalty in the dressing room).

  • Tripping, hooking are considered 2 min minor penalties
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct: trash talking, arguing with refs, swearing, abusive language, slamming bench doors, swinging stick against boards, throwing of any objects and any unsportsmanlike conduct will result in a minor and at the discretion of the ref – you will be immediately asked to leave the game. You may be further assessed a suspension at the discretion of the convenors.
  • 3 penalties in a game = you leave the game
  • No slap shots. A slap shot is considered a very hard shot taken above the ankle. A slap shot and even a fake slap shot will result in a 2 minute penalty so please don’t even try or test us, we will call it if even remotely close.
  • High hard shots from the point are not allowed – keep them low please, people can get hurt
  • Intentionally screening the goalie is not allowed – this is NOT the NHL. A player is allowed to have a skate in the crease as long as they are not acting aggressively.
  • No Diving – defined as deliberately leaving your feet during the play. When a player intentionally leaves their feet to block shots on defense or when they dive in order to try to stop a break-away, that player will be assessed a minor penalty.
  • When a team will be short-handed when play resumes, the faceoff will be in that team’s defending zone. Exceptions may apply.
  • Broken Stick – A broken stick is one which, in the opinion of the Referee, is unfit for normal play. A player without a stick may participate in the game provided they drop the broken stick. They MUST NOT skate with the broken stick.  A minor penalty shall be imposed for an infraction of this rule. A player who has lost or broken their stick may only receive a stick at the players’ bench or be handed one from a teammate on the ice. A player will be penalized if they throw, toss, slide or shoot a stick to teammate on the ice.


Any of the following action(s) will constitute instant lifetime banishment from the league (at the discretion of the convenors) without refund:

  1. 2 majors in a season
  2. Physical abuse or verbal threat of a ref(s) or player(s) on or off the ice;
  3. Third man in or jumping off the bench during an altercation;
  4. Property damage of the rink facilities or other players’ belongings;
  5. Suspended player playing or player that is not on the team’s roster.
  6. No playing under the influence of alcohol. Playing while under the influence could result in a suspension or your removal from the league

* These rules are for the safety of all players. *


  • Players must be on the team’s roster or else that player is considered a Ringer.
  • Substitutes (“poolies”) are allowed, including goalies, when organized through the Pool coordinator (
  • Players may sign up to join the pool as forwards, defense or goalies and the Pool Coordinator will be responsible for managing the player call-ups. Pool players and goalies will pay a fee per game due at the game. Poolie signup is currently unavailable. It may open again in the future.
  • Having a player play that is NOT on the roster, part of the Pool, or currently active in the ARL will result in a forfeit of the game.
  • Players are not allowed to canvass for extra games at the rink.
  • Pool players are required to have their name and number on the game tracking sheet. Please visit the timekeeper at the beginning of the game and have it recorded. Captains are responsible for ensuring the Pool player appears on the list.
  • The only time it’s acceptable to add a player to a game without prior authorization is when your team has less than 10 skaters minutes before the match is to begin. The captain may canvas players from the game prior. They may not selectively choose players (aka “stack” their roster).
  • Placement on a preferred team is not (and has never been) a guarantee. The convenors maintain the authority to trade any players, or goalies, between teams at anytime.


  • 2 mins warmups
  • At end of 2 minute warm-up, the game will begin immediately after 45 seconds – please get all pucks off of the ice and your line ready to go as soon as possible
  • 3 periods of play (15-15-15 running time) – the final minute of the game is stop time
  • Penalty shots are NOT stop time – we ask that everyone move the process along as fast as possible.
  • Shake hands after the game
  • As a courtesy to the other teams, please wait until both teams playing have completely left the ice before going on the ice yourselves.


  • Offsides in effect.
  • Blue-line icing. (which means when you gain your blue line you can ice it)
  • Quick faceoffs (make your line shifts between whistles quick), refs will drop the puck regardless if the centreman is ready.
  • Timeouts are not allowed.
  • Crease rule. Do not act aggressively in front of the net. The refs will whistle the play dead if there is heavy traffic in front of the net – they will not wait to see the puck completely covered up.
  • Stoppage of Play will be called if a goalie is hit in the helmet by a puck or if there is too much traffic in front of the net or if the ref loses sight of the puck.
  • Screening the goalie (goalie interference) is not allowed
  • Maximum 2 goals per player, per game. If a player scores a 3rd goal in a game it will not count. That may affect the actual resulting score of the game.
  • High hard shots from the point are not allowed – keep them low please, people can get hurt.
  • Minimum, 5 roster players + goalie to be legitimate game. Team short of players will forfeit game 1-0
  • Players on the ice must have an ARL-issued sticker affixed to their helmets.
    • Damaged stickers or a sticker that looks like it has been removed from a helmet and placed on a new one will be considered invalid.
    • If you replace your helmet mid-season, please let your captain know and a new sticker will be issued.
    • Players who do not have a valid sticker will be asked to leave the ice. As captains are responsible for their players, the captain will also receive a warning.
    • Further infractions may result in disciplinary action including league banishment.


Regarding our ARL, we want the safest, smartest arrangement possible for our players and goalies.

We use 2 experienced refs for all games… (may or may not be carded/certified refs) but must be experienced – if scheduling or no show – we will add an available experienced player ref to join the experienced ref or even go with two experienced player refs if we have to – but we will not use any rookie refs in this division unless we are forced to. If scheduling is a problem for any reason we will use any player refs available to us and explain to both teams that we are in that situation.

We will always demand that players and any coaches or bystanders do not abuse our refs at any time. Swearing at them or yelling, etc., will result in an eviction or suspension at the discretion of the convenors.


Helmets with chin straps are MANDATORY – no exceptions. See: What equipment will I need?

ARL requires a minimum half shield with mouth piece or cage w/o mouthpiece. Again, safety is our #1 concern. Teeth can be replaced but eyes can’t!

In the event of an injury on the ice, please be aware that the refs will attend the injured player and if required look for one person off-ice to become the main point of contact to call 911 and communicate with them. The location of the defibrillator at the Wave is just inside the front doors to the right (Blue) side – the door opens sounding a beeping noise – take it directly to the refs. The wave also has a first aid kit with ice pack and triangle slings. This is located in the Zamboni Operator’s room which is always locked – just knock on the doors to get their attention.


These rules are often unique to the ARL and the ARL-style of play. Please familiarize yourself with them.

5-Goal Rule

  • At any time during the game, if one team is ahead by 5 goals they are required to LIGHTEN UP until the other team scores one making it a 4-goal difference.
  • If the team with a 5-goal advantage scores a sixth goal it will not count or be recorded.
  • No penalty will be applied to this rule.

Hotdogging Rule

  • Hotdogging is a penalty that we call on a very skilled player that goes end-to-end and scores a goal. A hotdog call could also apply to an aggressive defender. This is a discretionary call. This penalty may be called if a skilled player takes advantage of a weaker player on the opposing team in such a manner that the ref deems it unbecoming of an ARL player!
  • In all our divisions including our Rookie division, we don’t want players that score their two goals every game – we expect those better players to support the rest of their team and not try to control the game results. We know this isn’t black and white. The hotdog rule is something the refs can use to game manage. It is called more often in beginner but CAN be called in rookie level as well. If a team is winning 4 – 0 and someone from that team runs blue line to blue with the puck and scores, they’ll call that hotdogging. That’s just one example. The thing about the ARL is that not all rules can be written in stone.  The refs have to use their discretion keeping in mind that games are supposed to be fun. We will back them on whatever they feel is necessary. So people – PASS the puck and be helpful!
  •  Division 1 (Open Division) is excluded from the hotdogging rule. However, we still ask that players still continue to play in the ARL spirit.

Co-ed Rule

Since we are after all a CO-ED hockey league, we never want to see a full men’s team on the ice. Some of our rookie division teams only have 2 or 3 women on their roster, so if they aren’t going to be at the game, we will get a female pool player to fill in so that your team has at least one. All teams must have minimum one woman on the team for each game or it is a forfeit. We ask Captains to let us know who will be away and what their needs are each game. We will also ask all female ARL players to join the new Women’s Poolie List (if they are interested) for the season and we will look after getting your team a female replacement.

If the situation should occur that the only female player on a team gets ejected from a game then that team will forfeit to their opponent. While some may feel this is a harsh punishment for the team as a whole we need to understand three things:

  1. This is a social Co-Ed league.
  2. The situation where a player (male or female) needs to be ejected is rare.
  3. The situation where a team has only one female player on their roster is relatively rare. A typical ARL team has at least 2-3 female players.

As a league we are ultimately most concerned for the safety and fairness of all players involved. The enforcement of the rules will come down in favour of the majority of the league and our primary objective is to support the Co-Ed vision of the ARL.

Collisions Rule

We ask that all players do their best to avoid collisions, but, due to the fast-paced nature of the sport, they do happen.

If you bump into someone male or female and they fall down, stop and ask them if they are OK before rushing off to score your goal. Failure to do so may result in an unsportsmanlike penalty, at the discretion of the referee.

We expect co-ed courtesy in the ARL.

Winter 2020-21 (COVID-19)

The Winter 2020-21 season required certain rule adjustments in accordance to recommendations from various health authorities while the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was active.

These rules are no longer in place and remain for historical purposes.

Guidelines and Protocols Handbook

View Embedded PDF


In the event a player receives a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, they are required to contact within 24 hours of receiving the report. Failure to do so may result in the ejection of the player from the ARL and/or affiliated facilities.


  • Teams may only dress a maximum of 12 players and 1 goalie for each game
  • If a team attempts to compete in a match with more than a roster of 13, they will automatically forfeit 1-0
    • Additional disciplinary action may also be taken at the discretion of the league owners/organizers
  • A team roster can consist of up to 16 individuals (combination of players and goalies)
    • The additional 3 spots will be known as “Alternates” or call-ups.
    • These alternate players, for all intents and purposes, will be considered active roster spots as any other player on the team.
    • Each additional individual above the base 13 must pay a jersey/sock and admin fee (“Roster Addition” fee), and agree to the same conditions as any other player (Terms and Conditions, COVID-19 Waiver). The fee is non-refundable under any circumstances.
    • Players are allowed to share a roster spot, on the condition 1 player has paid the full league fee and the other has paid the Roster Addition fee.
    • A team may only have multiple goalies on the condition that all teams in the ARL have an assigned regular goalie.
      • If a team finds itself without a regular goalie at anytime during the season and a replacement cannot be obtained in a timely manner, a goalie sharing a roster spot may be moved to that team, at the discretion of the ARL convenors.
    • The ARL is not responsible for finances outside of collecting the league fees noted above. If the individuals agree to split the fees on their own, it up to them to handle and is outside of the authority of the ARL. The league will not arrange split-payments.
  • Team captains have been given the authority to call into play any player appearing on their roster, provided the active skaters do not exceed the 13 max.
    • This means both players sharing a spot may participate in the same match at the same time, if a regular player is unable to play.
  • Alternate players have no guarantee of a set playtime or number of matches.
  • If a full-time roster spot opens during the season, the alternate players will be given first offers of paying a prorated fee and occupy the spot going forward.
  • Placement on a preferred team is not (and has never been) a guarantee. The convenors maintain the authority to trade any players, regular or alternate, between teams at anytime.

Substitute Players (aka “Poolies”)

  • Due to the unique situation brought on by COVID-19, Substitutes (“Poolies”) will not be available at this time, with the exception of Goalies.
  • The hope is the Alternates/call-up system (noted above in the “Rosters” section) works as a viable replacement.
  • The previous ruling was that “Poolies” can only be called in when a team hits less than 10 skaters.
    • For Winter 2020/21 Alternates can be called in at anytime, provided the max of 12 skaters + 1 goalie is respected.
  • Teams will not be able to recruit last minute players from a game being played prior.
  • 5 skaters (+1 goalie) is still the minimum number of players required.
    • A team with less than 5 skaters will forfeit 1-0
    • In the (very rare) event there are 4 skaters, the recommendation is the opposing team lend some players to balance the teams and engage in an exhibition match.
  • The conditions outlined in this section may change as the pandemic evolves.


Please take note of the following restrictions in place at the arenas utilized by the ARL.

  • No spectators are permitted within the facilities.
  • Face masks or covers are mandatory in the facility at all times, including the dressing room (but can be removed to play)
  • Players are required to observe physical distancing (2 meters / 6 feet) within the facility
  • Separate facility entrance and exit
  • Teams are only allowed to enter the facility 20 minutes prior to the game and must vacate the facility 20 minutes after the game
  • Showers and washrooms are not permitted for use in the dressing rooms.

Infractions (Penalties)

  • Infractions will result in opposing team being issued a penalty shot.
    • The clock will continue to run during the penalty shot.
    • Only the player that was the victim of the infraction may take the shot.
      • In the event the player is injured and unable take the shot, the ref will randomly pic a player who was on the ice at the time as a substitute.
    • We ask that the shooter get into position at center, all the attacking players line up on their own blue line, all defending players line up behind their own goal line (3 in one corner and 2 in the other corner)
    • Please do so quickly in order to minimize any lost play time.
  • After the penalty shot, the offending/defending team will take possession of the puck behind their net.

Penalty Shot Procedure

  • The player taking the penalty shot will line up at centre ice
  • The player’s teammates will line up on their own blue line and remain there for the duration of the shot
  • The opposing/defending team, will line up behind their own goal line – 3 in one corner and 2 in the other corner and remain there the duration of the shot
  • If the shooter scores, the defending team gains possession. The attacking team must wait until the shooter tags up at the centre red line before applying pressure.
  • If the shooter misses, the defending team gains possession. The attacking team must wait until the shooter tags up at the attacking zone blue line before applying pressure.


  • There will be a 3-minute warm-up.
  • Playtime will consist of 2 periods.
  • Each period will be 22 minutes.
  • Goalies will not switch sides between periods.


The cost of a jersey and a pair of socks is built into every registration. All players will be provided a uniform that is theirs to keep.

Players are asked to wear their ARL-issued jersey during each match. In the event a player forgets or does not have their jersey, the team captains are provided spares that can be used. If no spares are available, a jersey of like-colour may be worn.

If the player is wearing a number that is different form their normal one, it is the responsibility of the team captain to have the number written on the score sheet. Failure to do so may result in the player being considered unauthorized, thereby causing the team to forfeit.

In past seasons, teams who provided their own jerseys were provided a rebate in the amount of what would have been the cost of the league provided jerseys. Unfortunately, due to the fast tracked nature of the registration process along with complications from the pandemic, this option will not be available. All teams will be provided league-issued jerseys. If a team still decides to use non-league issued jerseys, they will not be compensated in any form.


  • No face-offs
  • Period 1 – visiting team has first possession
  • Period 2 – home team has first possession – team with possession lines up on/behind the centre red line while team without possession lines up on/behind their own blue line.
  • Spitting is prohibited. This includes spitting water. Each team will get one warning. After that, spitting will result in a minor penalty; second offense, game ejection
  • Accidental/incidental contact may occur.
  • When a scrum or gathering occurs, the puck will be given to the defending team and attacking team must retreat. A whistle will be blown to separate players and another whistle to signal resumption of Play once the official is satisfied attacking team has retreated and the defending team has gained puck possession.
  • Pulling your goaltender for an extra attacker will not be permitted.


Goals result in change of possession. The team that scores the goal must all tag up/clear the centre red line before attacking/applying pressure.

Goaltender Freezes the Puck

When the goaltender freezes the puck, all players on the attacking team must exit the attacking zone (clear the blue line) before re-entering and applying pressure.


The team icing the puck will lose possession and must wait on their side of the centre red line until the opposing team retrieves the puck. If the officials feel the defending team is deliberately avoiding the retrieval, they may allow the attacking team to forecheck before the defending team touches the puck.


Offsides will result in a change of possession. The team that was called for offside must exit the attacking zone (clear the blue line) before re-entering and applying pressure (similar to a delayed offside).

Physical Distancing

Players must practice physical distancing on the bench during game play. It is understood that there will be some brief exchanges while players are entering and leaving the bench. It is recommended that
players enter one door and exit the other.


Until further notice, handshakes/fist bumps shall not occur before, during or after the game.

Water Bottles

Participants will be required to have individual water bottles – absolutely no sharing.


COVID Alert is a privacy-first, open-source app for iOS (iPhone) and Android that can let you know if you have been exposed to COVID-19. While it is not a requirement, we highly recommend all players utilize the app.

As always, Pat Doherty-Baranowski is exempt of all rules…