Novice ½ Ice Game Structure and Regulations for the 2019/20 Playing Season


To:          SHA Membership
From:      Kelly McClintock, General Manager

Re:       Novice ½ Ice Game Structure and Regulations for the 2019/20 Playing Season


July 4, 2019


The following are the Regulations to create a province wide structure for Novice Hockey within the Province for the 2019/20 season along with Registration Regulations governing when Sanctioned Exhibition and Tournament Game play can begin and the maximum number of games that can be played in a season.

These Regulations are based upon feedback received at Zone Meetings along with the SHA Board of Directors. The goal of the Regulations are to fall in line with Hockey Canada’s mandate to place an emphasis on skill development (primary emphasis on skating) at the beginning of the season through practices with games to follow at the end of the season. In addition, another goal is to teach young players the necessary skills of hockey to have more fun when it comes to games, which in turn will allow them the opportunity to enjoy the game we have all loved for a lifetime!

All Novice Hockey prior to January 1st must be half ice, practices and games. Please note that the SHA has chosen the January 1st date as a transition date from ½ ice to full ice. The other three Western Provinces will be ½ ice for the complete season.

Thank you.



There are basic rules regarding the format and structure for Novice Half-Ice games:

  • 3-minute warmup. (Home Team will use the game zone and the visiting team will use the skills zone)
  • The half-ice game will be played 5 on 5 (skaters) and 1 goalie from each Team or both Teams may alter the format, 4 on 4 or 3 on 3, if the number of players on one or both teams is less than 10 skaters.
  • Games are 2 x 24-minute periods. (Teams will switch ends after the first period)
  • Players benches will not be used. Those players not participating in the half-ice game zone will be in the half-ice skills zone working with their coaches until the buzzer sounds and there is a line change which signals their turn to enter the game zone.
  • Officials will draw a dot in the middle of the game zone for all face-offs.
  • Shift are 2 minutes, running time continuous play. (See below)
  • Buzzer sounds once at the end of each 2-minute shift; however, the clock continues to run.
  • There are no icing or off-side calls.
  • Score will be kept; however, goals and assists will NOT be recorded.
  • Goalies may not be pulled at any time.
  • Line matching must take place. The more advanced players from each team being matched against the more advanced players from the opposing team.

Continuous Play and Change of Possession:

As identified by Hockey Canada as a core element at the Novice category, one of the keys to improving the flow of each game and reducing the stoppages is to create continuous play, particularly on change of possession. These basic rules apply:

  • One coach from each team will assist in moving of bumpers/boards at the end of each shift.
  • A face-off will take place at the start of every shift.
  • There will be no stoppages in play during shifts; continuous play will be used. (Exception: Injury)
  • Puck shot out of play: Official blows whistle, defending team backs off and non-offending team gets possession.
  • Goalie freezes puck: Official- blows whistle, attacking team backs off and defending team gets possession.
  • Goal Scored: Official blows whistle, attacking team backs off and defending team gets possession.


The following guidelines apply to Minor Penalties during Novice Half-Ice Games:

  • Standard: Delayed penalty procedures are followed. (NOTE: Goalie can’t be pulled during delay)
  • The official calling the penalty blows whistle, identifies offending player and penalty.
  • Offending player is escorted to player bench by the official who called the penalty.
  • The second official gives possession to the non-offending team. (Offending team must back-off)
  • The offending player is eligible to return during the same shift if goal is scored by the non-offending team.

Regulations Concerning Novice Hockey

All Games until January 1st

  • Half-ice


  • Start date November 15th

Tournament Games:

  • Start date December 1st

Games after January 1st including the Start of League Play

  • Teams have the following options for game formats after January 1st;
    • Continue to play half ice games with the half ice game format rules.
    • Play full ice with the half ice game format rules.
    • Play full ice like any other regular full ice game in an older age group.

League Playoffs:

  • If a League decides to have playoffs, they must be Tournament style format over no more than two weekends.

Maximum Number of Games in a Season:

  • 45 games.
  • Note that “carded” games do not count in the number of games.


Any coach, team and/or association found to be non-compliant with the Novice half-ice format prior to January 1st will be subject to sanctions from both the Minor Hockey Association and/or the SHA.

Sanctions may include but are not limited to:

 - Head coach suspension.

- Minor Hockey Association (and members) not being able to enter SHA Provincial draws.

 - Minor Hockey Association (and members) not being able to host any SHA sanctioned event.

 - Minor Hockey Association (and members) not being able to attend any SHA sanctioned event.

 - Minor Hockey Association’s SHA membership reviewed.

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