Ask the Referee

I would like to begin to use this web page as a way for the local ACHA Officials to have any questions they have answered. If you have any questions about the ACHA or the NCAA rules please email me at

The question has come up several times about Goaltender masks. Here is how we would like ACHA Officials to deal with this issue. 

The HECC questions comes up a lot throughout the Nation. It is the  responsibly of the officials to make sure that goalies are wearing HECC approved face masks. At the same time, we can not be the "helmet police". Any HECC approved equipment has an approval sticker on it. The Goaltenders are NOT to remove the stickers. However, we know they sometimes do. The Goaltenders must carry the larger burden of making sure that their equipment is in compliance.

The only way the we as officials can learn what equipment is "legal" and "illegal" is by visiting some of the retailers web sites and seeing pictures of the gear. Then at your local officials meetings you could pass them around so the officials can get a good look at them. Each face mask comes with a certification certificate in the box. If a goalie is going to wear a "controversial" mask or a newer style, it is in their best interest to keep a copy of the certificate handy. In the end we have to use our best judgment. We always have the "out" with the NCAA rule....
SECTION 7. a. The use of pads or protectors made of metal, or of any other material likely to cause injury to a player, is prohibited. The Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Rules Committee recommends the use of any protective equipment that is not injurious to the player wearing it or other players.

If a goalie is wearing a eye-cat mask that they say is legal, but the can not prove it is legal, we can remove it from the game. I would think that if a goalie really wants to use that mask in the next game... they will have the proper HECC info. I would also suggest that you do not go "looking" for helmet violations. But if the obvious, presents itself. Then you have to take action.

Shane Hanlon
American Collegiate Hockey Association