The Vermont Principals Association
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Girls Ice Hockey

Boys Ice Hockey


Following, you will find the basic rules, regulations, and recommendations as set up by the VPA Hockey Committee.  Please read them and please direct your athletic staff to read them so there will be no misunderstandings.

As of July 1, 2015, all schools will be required to have medical personnel, as identified in Title 26 of the Vermont Statutes, at every home game. Link to Vermont State Statute


Ice Hockey Points of Emphasis 2024-24

Updates: When a player, manager, or other team personnel is removed from the game, that person is to leave the playing area immediately. If the removed person is a student or school-age person, the removal will take place only if there are authorized school personnel available for supervision and must remain with the ejected player until the end of the contest. The individual will not return to the playing area at any time and must remain near the team-assigned locker room.

Coaches are responsible for reviewing this information and for also reviewing the 2023-2024 Ice Hockey Rules Changes listed on page 2 of the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Book.

The V.P.A. Ice Hockey Committee, in conjunction with the Vermont Hockey League, has been charged with the responsibility of supervising boys’ and girls’ interscholastic ice hockey in Vermont and establishing guidelines for regular season and post-season competition.

  1. The boys and girls ice hockey season will begin on Monday, November 28, 2023.
  1. A school may schedule no more than twenty interscholastic ice hockey games in a season, exclusive of the V.P.A.  state tournament.
  1. Rescheduling and adding games to the schedule in order to qualify for a tournament will not be allowed.  Such actions will result in the removal from seeding.
  1. All Vermont interscholastic hockey teams, boys and girls, will play by the National Federation Ice Hockey Rules, and the Vermont Hockey League rules modifications, including
  1. Rule 5-2-2-Warm-Up will consist of 10 minutes prior to the start of the game.  The first period will be played on warm-up ice. The officials meeting with the coaches will occur during the warm-up period.  Officials will approach each bench to have the coaches verify that all athletes are properly equipped.  The captain’s meeting will occur during the last minute of warm-ups on ice.
  2. Fifteen-minute periods will be used.
  3. Vermont Hockey League and VPA require that all players must wear commercially manufactured throat protectors that are clearly visible. And which meet the manufacturer’s original specifications.  
  4. A game (disqualification)  results in suspension from the game, plus the next two games. A second game (disqualification) offense results in the suspension of that player for the season. (VPA Rule)  All VHL schools must file a report with the Vermont Principals’ Association office and the VHL commissioner for any game disqualification within 2 days (preferably 24 hours if possible) of the infraction (both in and out of state).
  5. A game disqualification in the final game of the season will result in a two-game suspension to start the next season in which the disqualified player participates.  Please note that if a team receives more than two player or coach disqualifications during the season or tournament, the school will be required to meet with the Activities Standards Committee before being allowed to continue in the tournament. (VPA Rule)
  6. Final decisions of the VHL Grievance Committee may be appealed through the   VPA Ice Hockey  Committee.
  7. Rule 4-11: Removal from the game. (NFHS Rule) When a player, manager, or other team personnel is removed from the game, that person is to leave the playing area immediately. If the removed person is a student or school-age person, the removal will take place only if there are authorized school personnel available for supervision and must remain with the ejected player until the end of the contest. The individual will not return to the playing area at any time and must remain near the team-assigned locker room. If there is no one available for supervision, the individual must remain on the bench.  At that point, the coach shall be notified that any further disruption by that individual shall result in the termination of the contest.  PENALTY – FORFEITURE, and the score shall be 1-0.
  8. Article IVB. (VPA Bylaws) A coach who intentionally strikes, shoves, kicks, or makes other aggressive physical contact with another coach before, during, or after an interscholastic contest, shall be disqualified immediately and his/her coach’s eligibility may be suspended for up to one full calendar year.  A coach who is disqualified under this provision shall not coach in any contest, pending a hearing before the Activities Standards Committee.  The Activities Standards Committee shall determine the length of the suspension, giving due consideration to all relevant factors, including the seriousness of the offense.  At the end of any suspension the coach may request the reinstatement of his/her eligibility.  At this time, the Activities Standards Committee will place the request on their next meeting agenda, at which meeting the coach and principal are required to attend.  The Activities Standards Committee will make the determination whether or not to reinstate the coach’s eligibility.
  9. Penalty Options Rule 7-4-2 (Page 36). The penalty options for the following have been increased by the VPA: 

See specific rules for penalty option criteria.

Boarding Rule 7-18

Checking from Behind Rule 7-19

Grabbing a Face Mask Rule 7-20

Head-Butting Rule 7-21

VPA Penalty Options:


There is no provision for minor penalty assessment for any of these Infractions.

j. For the 2024-24 Hockey season the following goal differential rule is in place.In all games, periods 1 and 2 are played as regular periods. In period 3, if there is an 8 goal or larger differential, running time is implemented. If during the period, the goal differential goes to less than 8, regular time is resumed. 

  1. Uniforms – abide by Rule 2, Sec. 1.2, of the 2021-22 National Federation rulebook regarding the color of visiting team uniform. Qualify: Except as mutually agreed upon by both teams and with the approval of the tournament director within 24 hours prior to the game.
  1. The host school shall also provide minor officials, including timers, scorers, and penalty box attendants who must be adults. Minor officials shall be under the jurisdiction of the game officials. Schools are also responsible to have staff available to move nets for ice cleaning; the officials will be responsible for setting the nets for the next period of play. This is a safety issue for the school staff, and it allows the officials to make sure that the nets are set properly for play.
  1. It is required that the host school have a designated school representative that remains until all game participants have left the arena. It is recommended the police be present until all game participants have left the arena. 
  1.  Host schools must have medical personnel at all games as stated in Vermont State Statute Title 16, Chapter 31 Link to Vermont State Statute
  • A member of a school team is a student-athlete who is regularly present for, and actively participates in, all team tryouts, practices, and competitions. Bona fide members of a school team are prevented from missing a high school practice or competition to compete with an out-of-school team, practice, or competition including tournaments, showcases, combines, or other athletic events. 
  • Whenever a conflict arises between the high school team practice/competition and an out-of-school practice/competition on the same day, the high school team practice/competition shall be honored by the student-athlete. Priority must be given at all times to the high school team, its practices, and its contest unless permission has been granted by the school. It is expressly understood that permission shall not be granted on a regular basis.
  • It is highly recommended to all schools that this information be put into all athletic handbooks and also should be presented by Athletic Directors/Coaches at pre-season meetings with athletes and parents. (Date Warned: 5-28-14, Date Adopted: 8-8-14)
  • Note- During, the 2024-24 season, players must be on a school’s hockey roster for 60% of the school’s regular season games in order for the player to participate in the tournament.

10.  a. During the regular season games (i.e. all non-VPA sanctioned post-season games), no tie-breaker overtime periods except the single overtime period provided in National Federation Rules shall be played.  This single overtime period shall be 5 minutes in length (SUDDEN VICTORY).

b. To break regular season tournament ties after the final overtime period, the following will be used:

1. Each team will select five different players.

2. Each player will take a penalty shot, with the referees alternating

      shots from team to team (visitors go first).

3. At the end of all 10 shots, the team with the highest number of

      goals advances (wins).

4. If the score remains tied after this round, the same five players

      will take alternating sets of single penalty shots (visitors first) 

    until one player fails to score when the opponent shooter scores.

5. Regular season tournaments that remain tied after overtime are

    officially considered a tie for the purpose of their regular season record.

13. During the regular season, no more than 29 individuals shall be on the team bench, consisting of 24 players and 5 non-playing personnel.


A scrimmage is defined as and intended to be a learning situation, not a competitive event.  Further, it is defined as a practice session involving students from more than one school, organization, or group.

  • While the public need not be denied admittance to a scrimmage, it shall not be played as a regular game, and no admission shall be charged.
  • Scrimmages shall not be publicized.
  • Awards cannot be given.
  • If a timing device is used, normal game time shall be altered to ensure that instruction is the primary reason for the scrimmage.
  • No official score shall be kept.
  • Neither team may count the scrimmage as a game.


  1. All VPA teams are eligible to apply for the 2024-24 tournament. The top 16 teams in each division are accepted.  In order to qualify for VPA Tournament play, a VPA member school must have played at least 40% of its regular season games with Vermont schools in their  respective divisions. Example-a Metro Division school must have played at least 40% of its regular season games (8 out of 20 games) with Vermont Metro Division schools.
  1. Seedings into the tournament will be based on the school’s entire played schedule.
  1. The entire season schedule, record, and league win/loss points must be listed on the  application.
  1. The following dates for boys’ and girls’ hockey tournaments will be as follows:

Last game to count: February 21, 2024

Pairings: February 22, 2024 (posted approx. noon)

Playdowns, if necessary: February 23/24 2024 at home ice of higher seeded team

Quarter-finals: Feb 27/28 2024, at home ice of higher seeded team

Semi-Finals: At home ice of higher seed.

Girls: March 1/2, 2024 Boys: March 1/2, 2024

Girls/Boys Division I (Metro) and Division II (Lake) finals will be at UVM (Gutterson).

D1 Championships March 6, 2024   – TBD

D2 Championships March 7, 2024  – TBD

All hockey school administrators – please notify rink managers of dates for playoffs and quarter-finals.

  1. ADEQUATE police (security) will be provided at each tournament contest. A designated school representative from each school shall be present and remain until all participants have left the arena.
  1. A signed official roster shall be presented to the official scorer prior to warm-up.
  1. For the 2023-2024 tournament season, the first overtime period will be a maximum of eight (8) minutes in length.  At end of the first overtime, there will be a resurfacing intermission followed by 15-minute periods until a winner is determined. New ice will be made at the end of each period at all levels of state tournament play.  There will be no ice made between regulation play and the first overtime period unless the tournament director and working officials so determine.  In the tournament, after one overtime period, new ice will be made, after every 15 minutes of play. Teams will change ends.
  1. The higher-seeded team will be designated as the home team at all games with the lower-seeded team being designated as the visiting team. The Hockey Committee will make the seedings, based on all games played, using the following point system teams keep the original seed throughout the tournament:

Only games at the varsity level with members of our Association or games with out-of-state schools that are members of their comparable state athletic association will count in determining the point index.  Different point indices as listed below are based on which division the school is to be placed for the state tournament. The tournament divisional alignments are listed in the division alignments section of the winter guide. Games listed and no disposition noted in the VPA office will be considered a loss.

As of 2023-2024 hockey point index has been implemented.

                             Boys AND Girls

Division I win 3 points

Division II win 2 points

Division I tie 2 points

Division II tie 1 point

Division II loss vs. D I  .5 point

The points will be totaled and the total divided by the number of games played 

     to find the point index. All teams will be paired in the order of their index.


  1. There will be a 10-minute warm-up period prior to each game.
  1. Medical coverage will be provided at all the tournaments and playoff games at V.P.A. expense for Quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals
  1. Ticket information: Once eliminated during tournament play, team members are ineligible for free admission to the next scheduled tournament event. However, schools may request to purchase tickets for the players.

4. Champions will be awarded a trophy, and runners-up in each division will be awarded a plaque. Individual awards will be presented to team members of champion and finalist teams, plus the coach, assistant coach, and manager. 

5. The traditional handshake practice by mutual consent of the coaches is recommended

    after the game.  Players/Coaches ejected from the game shall not return to the ice or bench

    area for any reason.

6. No more than 29 persons shall be on the team bench, consisting of 24 

    players and 5 non-player team personnel. 



The function of a coach is to educate students through participation in interscholastic competitions. An interscholastic program should be designed to enhance academic achievement and should never interfere with opportunities for academic success. Each student-athlete should be treated as though he or she were the coaches’ own, and his or her welfare should be uppermost at all times. Accordingly, the following guidelines for coaches have been adopted by the NFCA Board of Directors.

The coach shall be aware that he or she has a tremendous influence, for either good or ill, on the education of the student-athlete and, thus, shall never place the value of winning above the value of instilling the highest ideals of character.

The coach shall uphold the honor and dignity of the profession.  In all personal contact with student-athletes, officials, athletic directors, school administrators, the state high school athletic association, the media, and the public, the coach shall strive to set an example of the highest ethical and moral conduct.

The coach shall take an active role in the prevention of drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse.

The coach shall avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco products when in contact with players.

The coach shall promote the entire interscholastic program of the school and direct his or her program in harmony with the total school program.

The coach shall master the contest rules and shall teach them to his or her team members.  The coach shall not seek an advantage by circumvention of the spirit or letter of the rules.

The coach shall exert his or her influence to enhance sportsmanship by spectators, both directly and by working closely with cheerleaders, pep club sponsors, booster clubs, and administrators.

The coach shall respect and support contest officials.  The coach shall not indulge in conduct that would incite players or spectators against the officials.  Public criticism of officials or players is unethical.

Before and after contests, coaches for the competing teams should meet and exchange cordial greetings to set the correct tone for the event.

A coach shall not exert pressure on faculty members to give student-athletes special consideration.

A coach shall not scout opponents by any means other than those adopted by the league and/or state high school athletic association.

Eighth-Grade Girls’ Ice Hockey Policy

The declining enrollment in schools across Vermont has had an increasing effect on participation on athletic teams.  In this proposal, I’m highlighting how this is affecting girls’ hockey.  It has gotten to the point that some districts are unable to provide opportunities for middle school athletes to play on appropriate girls’ teams, forcing girls to play on the boys’ teams or finding outside clubs to participate on.  These girls should be given the opportunity to play on teams that follow the appropriate rules meant for these sports, not only for their safety but also to allow them to develop the proper skills they need to develop as athletes in these sports. 

The declining enrollments around the state are also affecting high school participation; even very successful high school programs are struggling to field full teams.  Allowing eighth-grade girls’ to play on these teams will help high schools maintain their programs.  

In order for eighth-grade girls to qualify to play on a high school team the following would have to apply:

  • There is a lack of a 14U youth girls’ hockey program either in a local club or middle school program. Example: the only option is to play on a boys’ team, with full contact or join a travel program in the state or out of state.
  • Schools wishing to use eighth-grade athletes need to complete an application, available in the VPA Hockey Guide.
  • Schools requesting to use eighth graders will be required to produce documentation from the local youth program verifying that there won’t be an acceptable girls’ program. (14U)  Documentation needs to be a formal letter on letterhead from the youth hockey board president or designee.  
  • If an acceptable youth program is available no eighth grader will be allowed to play on their local high school team or another high school team in the state.  This policy is not designed to give early access to “Elite” eighth-grade players.
  •  8th-grade girls could not be dual rostered while playing on the high school team.
  • The requesting high school program has a demonstrated need for athletes; using the Member to Member numbers as a full complement of players for a team.  Any program that will be receiving eighth-grader players on their team is prohibited from making cuts.

8th Grade Girls Hockey Waiver


  • All members of Vermont High School Hockey share an equal responsibility to ensure the integrity of the game is upheld.  The onus to incorporate change is not only on the officials, but also on the administrators, coaches, parents, and players, as well.  
  • Administrators are expected to hold players, coaches, officials, and parents accountable for their actions in an effort to promote a safe and positive environment for all participants. 
  • Coaches are expected to teach proper skills and hold their players accountable for illegal and dangerous actions, regardless as to whether they are properly penalized, or not.
  • Parents are expected to support the decisions of the officials and support the coaches in teaching the proper skills in a safe and positive environment.
  • Officials shall enforce a strict penalty standard according to the guidelines that have been established.
  • Players are expected to compete within the playing rules.

All Vermont High School Hockey members must demonstrate awareness and support for the application, spirit and the respect of the rules in order for continued improvement in the game of hockey.