The North American PowerHockey Association (NAPHA)
Official Tournament Rule Book
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These rules are subject to revisions/change when
for future revisions.
Rules updated as of July 2004.
Note: See updates of tournament rules and regulations of Section I (G); Section III (A, B, C and G); Section IV (B); Section VI (L); and Section X.
Section I [Game Rules]
A minimum of six players is recommended on each team's roster.
A total of five players (including the goaltender) are required
on the floor to play a game. No new players can be added to
a team during the tournament.
- A team may only play two level 1 ranked players on the
floor at the same
time. A level 1 or 2 ranked player can be considered a
level 3, only if he/she tapes the stick (or uses a bracket
or stick mount) to their chair (See player classifications
in Section IX of the Rulebook).
- A level 3 ranked player must be on the floor at all
times, playing a forward or defensive position.
- Goaltenders can not be a level 1. A goaltender can be
played by a level 2 or level 3.
A team may make line changes (change players) at any time
during the game. The player(s) coming into the game can not
come on the court until the player he/she is replacing is
next to the team bench.
The game will begin with a face-off at the center face-off
circle. The referee will place the ball at the center of the
circle and blow the whistle to start play. After each period,
teams (goaltenders) will change ends. In overtime, teams will
remain on the end in which they began the third period. Each
period will begin the same as the start of the game. After
a goal has been scored, play will resume with a face-off at
the center face-off circle.
A face-off will be called by the referee if the ball becomes
unplayable by rolling under a player's wheelchair, into a
team's bench area, scorekeepers/timekeepers area, or into
an unplayable area such as a hallway or bleachers. Players
(except goaltenders) must attempt to move off the ball or
play the ball, or risk getting a delay of game penalty (See
minor penalties in Section VI of the Rulebook). The face-off
will take place in the face-off circle closest to where the
play was stopped. This includes resuming play after a penalty
or a time-out has been called. If the ball was shot from beyond
the center line [half court] and becomes unplayable, the face-off
will take place in the zone from where the ball was shot.
A goal is scored when the ball completely crosses the goal
line. A goal will not be allowed if the ball was kicked by
an offensive player and as a result entered the goal either
directly or after deflecting off any player including the
goaltender. After a goal is scored, the clock will be stopped
for one minute to allow for substitutions and the referee
to report the goal and assist(s) to the scorekeeper. If a
team is slow in returning to the face-off circle, the referee
will issue a warning. If it happens again, a delay of game
penalty will be called.
The referee will call a face-off if there is a save/frozen ball by the goaltender. The whistle will be blown immediately (equivalent to a count of one-thousand-one) when the referee identifies/sees: (1) that the ball is under some portion of the goaltender's wheelchair from the rear tires to the front tires, is trapped securely between the goaltenders stick and a defenders stick, is trapped under a goalies footrests or feet, or trapped by the goalie on the outside of the goal; (2) when the ball is shot or rolls under the goaltender's wheelchair and clearly does not go into the net or roll away from the goaltender; (3) No player may reach (jab, poke, or swipe at the ball) under a goaltender's wheelchair from the rear tires to the front tires or at a ball trapped under the goaltender's footrests or feet to try to score a goal (assuming the goalie has some portion of his/her wheelchair within the goal crease). Any goal scored in this manner will be disallowed and a face-off will take place in the face-off circle closest to where the play was stopped. A referee will not call a save/frozen ball: (1) If a ball is just sitting, not trapped by a defenders stick on/against the goalies stick or rolling/sitting free in the crease uncovered by the goaltender. An offensive player may try to play the ball in this situation.
Players are not allowed to use their feet or hands to carry
or hold the ball while it's in play, but they may use their
feet to stop the ball. For example, if the ball rolls into
the front of a player, he/she may stop the ball with their
feet and direct it to their stick. But they are not allowed
to kick the ball ahead of them, out of the goal crease, out
of the zone, to a teammate, or away from an opposing player.
All players (including goaltenders) will not be allowed to
reach, kick, stretch or raise their legs in an effort to play
or defend the ball.
An offensive player is OFF-SIDE if their entire chair
crosses the centerline prior to the ball. If the ball leaves
the offensive zone, that team's players must clear the zone
before the ball can be carried or shot back into the offensive
zone. If the off-side is whistled the face-off will take place
in the offending teams zone at the face-off spot nearest the
center-line. If an offensive player crosses the line before
the ball which is shot, passed or deflected into the offensive
zone, but a defending player is able to play the ball, the
referee shall signal a DELAYED OFF-SIDE. The off-side
violation will be nullified if all offensive players in the
offensive zone clear the offensive zone by making chair contact
with the centerline. The offensive zone must be completely
clear of offensive players before a delayed off-side can be
nullified with the ball still in the offensive zone. During
the delayed off-side, the referee shall stop play for the
off-side violation if ANY offensive player touches the ball
or attempts to gain possession of a loose ball while the ball
is still in the offensive zone or forces the defending ball
carrier further back in the offensive zone. *No goal can be
scored on a delayed off-side.
Section II [Playing Area]
||The playing area for electric wheelchair hockey games will
be the surface of a gymnasium, approximately the size of a
basketball court. If there is any question as to the playing
area, it must be brought to the attention of the officials
before the start of the game.
||The nets used for goals will be provided by the tournament
officials. Generally the nets should measure approximately
6 feet [183cm] wide by 3 feet [91cm] high by 1 ½ feet
[46cm] deep. The goal crease should measure approximately
7 feet wide [along goal line] and extend 4 feet outward from
||On the playing surface there will be five face-off areas.
One in the center of the court and one on each side of both
nets positioned approximately halfway between the nets and
||If possible, the scorekeeper, timer, penalty area and team
benches shall be on one side of the court.
||All coaches and players must stay in their team areas throughout
Section III [Equipment]
All sticks must be made of a plastic (or composite material) handle, shaft, and blade. Wood or metal shafts are not allowed, nor are composite shafts with wood or metal in their composition. Goaltenders may use a goaltender style stick if they choose, but this stick must also follow the plastic or composite guidelines.
*Although we do not state specific dimensions (height, length, width) for stick shafts and blades please use the following measurements as a general rule of thumb on what is acceptable—1.) A stick shaft length of 42 inches (105 cm) from the end of the shaft to the heel of the blade. 2.) The blade shall be approx. 10 inches (25 cm) from the heel to the end of the blade. The blade shall have a maximum height of 3 inches (7.5 cm) along its entire length. 3.) Goaltenders sticks blades shall be approx.16 inches (40 cm) from the heel to the end of the blade. The blade shall have a maximum height of 4 inches (10 cm) along its entire length.
1.) Dowel stick: A dowel may be inserted through the blade of the stick for players with a limited ability to stickhandle. The dowel should be made of plastic or similar material (the dowel can not be made of metal) and can not exceed more than 3 inches in length on either side of the blade and it cannot be more than ½ inch in diameter. Wood dowels will be allowed (as long as they meet the required measurements listed above), but that is the only part of the stick allowed to be made of wood, and it must be covered with tape for safety reasons. Dowel sticks are mainly used by players who fix (tape) the stick to their wheelchair (level 3 players). Other players can use this adaptation.
2.) T-Stick: Similar to the “dowel stick” function, this is when a larger piece of material (plastic) is affixed to each side (or put through the blade) of the stick blade to create a “T”. Currently we do not accept the European version of a “T-stick” which is quite large, but we will accept a North American version of a “T-Stick” following these standards; A “T-Stick” can only be made out of a standard acceptable hockey stick blade discussed above. The “T” or “Wings” can only extend 3 inches off of each side and cannot be higher than the blade of the stick. It must be of similar width. ONLY players who fix or tape sticks to their wheelchair may use a “T-Stick”.
3.) Curving: Curving of the stick is allowed, but the blade of the stick cannot wrap around/enclose more than 3/4 of the ball. *This allows a much greater curve than common ice hockey rules, but is allowed to give players more ball control, as it is much harder to stick handle with just one hand. Essentially, excessively curving the stick serves a similar function of a “dowel” stick.
*A team may challenge the legality of an opposition player's equipment (See minor penalties in Section VI of the Rulebook).
4.) A player may tape, the stick to their wheelchair (the blade must be placed in the front of the wheelchair's front wheel), or to their hand/arm/leg if they are unable to hold/grip the stick. Players are permitted to use brackets or stick mounts, as long as it places the blade in the front of the wheelchair's front wheel and does not prohibit the ball from rolling under wheelchair. Material other then plastic or composite may be used to make a bracket or stick mount. No stick blade may be placed between the front and rear tires, obstructing passage of the ball through that area.
*All objects/attachments considered dangerous must be covered (taped/padded).
|| If a goaltender chooses to use a standard goaltender stick (larger/thicker blade), the stick must be taped/mounted/bracketed to the wheelchair as defined in Section III (B). Only goaltenders are allowed to use these types of large-bladed sticks. If a goaltender is moved to another position he/she must switch to a non-goaltender stick. A goaltender may use a "dowel" or "T-Stick" adaptation.
||All players must require the use of an electric (power)
wheelchair in their daily life. Players who use only manual
wheelchairs in their daily life will not be allowed to transfer
from a manual wheelchair to an electric (power) wheelchair
simply for the purpose of playing hockey.
- No modifications shall be made to a wheelchair that
will prohibit the ball
from traveling underneath or around the chair. No stick
blade may be placed between the front and rear tires,
obstructing passage of the ball through that area.
- Although there is no "official limit" on the
speed of wheelchairs, alterations/modifications to increase
the manufacturer's speed of a wheelchair, which clearly
shows that chair to be excessively faster than all other
chairs is not allowed. Industry standard wheelchairs with
industry standard speeds are acceptable.
- For safety reasons, electric scooters/carts will not
||A hollow plastic ball (2" in diameter) with holes in
it will be used as the official game ball.
||Participants are highly encouraged to wear protective gear such as a helmet, eyewear, and leg, knee, arm or chest pads. However none of this is required. Any protective equipment used must overall fit to the individual’s body. All types of padding may not excessively extend beyond the players various body parts. For example, a goaltender using some type of leg pad will not be allowed to have the padding extend beyond their feet or more than a couple of inches above their knee. All padding including the goaltenders padding may not be excessively thick.
*As a general reference for acceptable leg, chest and arm padding, players should try to find equipment that could fit underneath their clothing (jersey, pants etc.). It is not a requirement to wear padding under clothing, but gives players an idea of what size of padding is acceptable. For example, goaltenders may NOT use ice hockey goalie pads such as large leg pads, arm blocker, goalie mitt etc.
**The Player/tournament committee as defined in section X may disallow any protective gear at any time if they find the size of such gear to be excessive and unfair.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Player Classification and Tournament Committee (See Section X of the Rulebook) may disallow ANY equipment from being used during tournament play at any time. If you have questions about possible equipment issues please bring them to tournament organizers attention as soon as possible.
||Team members must wear the same color/style jersey. The
should have a number that is able to be seen by the referee
Section IV [Timekeepers, Scorekeepers, and
||It is the Tournament Coordinator's responsibility to ensure
that a timekeeper, scorekeeper, and referees are available
and ready for each game.
||Each game will consist of three fifteen-minute periods. Each period will be played on a non-stop [running-time] basis, except when a goal is scored. The clock will be stopped for no more than one minute to allow for substitutions, and the referee to report the goal and assist(s) to the scorekeeper. The final five minutes of the third period will be played on a stop-time basis, meaning the clock will be stopped after each whistle [stoppage of play], if the score of the game is within three goals. Between each period there will be a two-minute break. After the break teams will switch playing ends. Each team will be allowed one time-out per game consisting of two minutes in length. A team may only call time-out during a stoppage in play. (For instance, when the ball becomes unplayable [out-of-play], after a goal is scored, or after a penalty has been called.) If the game goes to overtime, and a team has not used its time-out, the time-out will be carried over to the overtime period.
||The official game clock should be large enough and placed
high enough so that the referees can see the clock from anywhere
on the playing area.
||The timekeeper is responsible for keeping track of the time
for each period, any time-outs, and the time for any penalties.
The timekeeper must also instruct the penalized player when
he/she may return to the game.
||The scorekeeper will record the time of each goal, the name
and number of the player who scored the goal, and the name
and number of the one (or two) player(s) who assisted on the
goal. The scorekeeper is also responsible for recording any
information regarding penalties.
||It is the referees' responsibility to inform the timekeeper
and scorekeeper of each goal, the name and number of the player
who scored the goal, and the name and number of the one (or
two) player(s) who assisted on the goal.
Section V [Penalty Stipulations]
||If a goaltender receives a penalty, a teammate on the floor
at the time of the penalty must serve it. The player serving
the penalty will be chosen by the penalized team.
||A player serving a penalty must return to the playing area
after completion of a penalty before he/she can be substituted.
||After three game misconduct's in one tournament a player
may be subject to further penalty or removal at the discretion
of the Tournament Coordinator and the U.S. EWHA Board of Directors.
||Any player given a game misconduct must exit the playing
||If a level 1 ranked player is serving a penalty, his/her
team may have only one level 1 ranked player on the court
until the penalty has expired. The level 1 ranked player serving
the penalty is still considered to be on that line even though
they are in the penalty box. If a level 3 ranked player is
serving a penalty, the player is still considered to be on
that line, and his/her team does not have to put another level
3 on the floor to replace the penalized player.
||If coincidental penalties are whistled/called (meaning one
player from each team is called for a penalty), teams will
play shorthanded [four-on-four].
Section VI [Minor Penalties]
||HOOKING: When a player places his/her stick around another
player, player's stick, or wheelchair in attempts to stop
or hold the player. [Two minute penalty.]
||BOARDING: Recklessly "riding" a player into the
boards with excess. [Two minute penalty.]
||HOLDING: When a player, with his/her hands or wheelchair,
impedes another player's progress by holding the player, player's
stick, or the player's wheelchair. [Two minute penalty.]
||INTERFERENCE: Making contact with another player who does
not have possession of the ball. [Two minute penalty.]
||UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT: Swearing, arguing or abusing other
players, officials, or equipment. [Two minute penalty.]
||IN THE CREASE: No player except for the goaltender is allowed
in the goal crease at any time, unless the ball goes into
the goal crease first. Players may go into the goal crease
if the ball is in there first, but must immediately attempt
to exit the goal crease by driving through or backing out
of the crease. Stopping/Parking any part of their wheelchair
in the goal crease at any time will result in a two-minute
penalty. If a player is trapped [boxed in, unable to back
out or drive out] while attempting to exit the goal crease,
a whistle is blown and a face off will occur at center court.
Players are permitted to have their sticks in the goal crease
only if the ball enters the goal crease first. If a players
stick is in the crease before the ball, a penalty will be
called and any goal scored on that play would be disallowed.
If any goal is scored when in violation of this rule, it will
then be disallowed. [Two-minute penalty.]
||BENCH MINORS: Can be called against players or coaches for
abuse against officials or other players or for too many level
1 players, or players in general, on the floor. [Two minute
penalty.] See Section I (B/1).
||RAMMING: A player may not deliberately run into another
player with his/her wheelchair. A player may only "ride-off
another player". Side-to-side contact only. Backing into
another player as they pass by, using the front of a player's
chair to make contact, or trying to push a player's chair
out of the way is not permitted. [Two minute penalty.]
||DANGEROUS DRIVING: Referee may call this penalty if he/she
deems that a player is driving dangerously or recklessly.
This includes driving in reverse at a high rate of speed for
more than two chair-lengths, or in a crowd (referees' discretion).
A player is permitted to drive in reverse for more than two
chair- lengths only if the player is attempting to get back
on defense and is the lone defensive player in his/her zone.
[Two minute penalty.]
||CHARGING: Deliberately hitting another player with a run
of more than two wheelchair lengths. [Two minute penalty.]
||HIGH STICKING: No player (including goaltenders) shall purposely
raise their stick above their shoulders to make contact with
the ball or another player. A player may only raise their
stick shoulder height while in the act of shooting/hitting
the ball (including wind-up and follow-through). If the player's
raised stick makes contact with an opposing player a penalty
will be called. [Two-minute penalty.]
|| DELAY OF GAME: (1) A penalty will be called if the ball is under a player's chair and he/she makes no attempt to move off the ball or play the ball (this does not include goaltenders). (2) Goaltenders will be given a penalty if they repeatedly knock the goal net off the goal crease/goal line. (3) A penalty will also be called for taking too much time to return to the face-off circle after a goal, or other stoppage of play. (4) A penalty will be called if a player deliberately shoots the ball over the boards. For example, if a player trapped in their own zone dumps the ball over the boards (as a defensive strategy) to force a face-off. A penalty will be called if the player is not looking down court or facing down court trying to move the ball up court. [Two-minute penalty.]
||ILLEGAL EQUIPMENT: During a stoppage of play a team may
ask the referee to examine a player's equipment to see if
it is in violation of rules. If the player's equipment is
illegal, the player will receive a penalty. If the equipment
is found to be legal, the challenging team will receive a
delay of game penalty. [Two minute penalty.]
||THROWING/DROPPING STICK: A penalty will be called if a player
deliberately throws, drops, or shoots a stick (or any other
object) at the ball to prevent a goal, or a player from advancing
with the ball. [Two minute penalty.] If the player with the
ball is advancing towards the goaltender with no defender
between him/her and the goaltender, and a stick is thrown
or shot at the ball, thus preventing a goal, a penalty shot
will be awarded to the advancing player. If the player with
the ball is advancing towards an empty net, and a stick is
thrown, dropped, or shot at the ball, thus preventing a goal,
the referee will award the advancing player a goal.
||SLASHING: Non-shooting motion contact with the hockey stick
on another player's body. [Two-minute penalty.]
Section VII [Major Penalties]
||DRAWING BLOOD: If a player bleeds after a minor penalty,
a major penalty is then assessed. [Five minute player penalty.]
At referees' discretion, penalized player may receive a game
misconduct and be ejected from the game.
||SLASHING: Deliberate/Intentional contact with the hockey
stick on another player's body or wheelchair. [Five-minute
player penalty.] At referees' discretion, penalized player
may receive a game misconduct and be ejected from the game.
||SPEARING: Using the blade of the hockey stick to spear another
player. [Five minute player penalty.] At referees' discretion,
penalized player may receive a game misconduct and be ejected
from the game.
||BUTT ENDING: Using the end of the hockey shaft to hit another
player. [Five minute player penalty.] At referees' discretion,
penalized player may receive a game misconduct and be ejected
from the game.
||ATTEMPT TO INJURE: At the officials' discretion, any conscious
attempt to hurt another player. [Five minute player penalty.]
At referees' discretion, penalized player may receive a game
misconduct and be ejected from the game.
||FIGHTING: Using body or wheelchair to fight with or injure
another player. [Five minute player penalty.] At referees'
discretion, penalized player may receive a game misconduct
and be ejected from the game.
Section VIII [Playoff Schedule]
||Teams will play a round-robin format, meaning each team
will play every other team once. Then the championship round
will begin with the team finishing with the best record playing
the team with the worst [second best record playing second
worst etc.]. If there are an odd number of teams in the tournament,
the bottom two teams will play each other to see who advances
to play the top team. If there are ten or more teams, the
teams will be divided into two pools/divisions. If possible,
each team will play the other teams in its pool/division once.
In the championship round, the top team in each pool/division
will play the bottom team in each pool/division. This schedule
may vary depending on the number of teams. See schedule provided
by Tournament Organizers.
If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, there
will be a five minute overtime period. (There will be no
overtime in round robin/pool play. Games will end in a tie.)
The overtime period will be played on a non stop-time basis
[as stated in Section IV/B.], with the first team to score
winning. If the overtime period ends in a tie there will
be a shoot-out. Each team is allowed three players [only
two level 1's may be used, just as during the game] who
will each shoot once. Teams will alternate [switch] after
each shot. If at the end of the first rotation there is
still a tie there will be a second shoot-out [in same order
as the first] with the first team to score a goal winning.
The goaltender that was in the net for the majority of the
game must continue in net for the shoot-out. A goaltender
may be substituted for, only if he/she has a mechanical
problem with their wheelchair and was substituted for during
the game. The goaltender may not be one of the players chosen
to be one of the shooters in the shoot-out. The home team
[higher seeded of the two teams] will have the option of
being the first or second team to shoot. If both teams are
seeded the same, a coin flip at the beginning of the game
will determine which team is the home team.
Section IX [Player Classifications]
||Level 1 Players:
A player who has the upper body strength to lift the stick
and hit the ball a good distance and with speed. These
players have the ability to shoot and pass the ball quickly
and with velocity. These players can usually switch the
ball easily from forehand to backhand (or vice-versa)
allowing good ability to carry, control, and maneuver
with the ball through/around other players. These are
players who can reach in front, across, or possibly even
behind his/her wheelchair with their stick relatively
easily to bring the ball into their control or take it
away from another player.
||Level 2 Players:
This level ranges from (a) players who may be able to
lift the stick and hit the ball with fair distance and
speed, but lack the power and reaching ability as seen
in a level 1, to (b) players who may rely on the strength/momentum
of the wheelchair to shoot and pass the ball, and may
be unable to easily lift and swing the stick. These players
generally keep the stick on one side of their chair or
hold the stick between their legs. They may or may not
have the stick taped/attached to their hand/arm/leg.
Level 2 players lack the ability to easily or effectively
reach with their stick to more than one side of their
chair/body. These players are able to carry and control
the ball, but their limited ability to reach restricts
their capability to maneuver with the ball through and
around other players. A level 2 player will commonly
not have the strength to easily or effectively use their
backhand to shoot, control the ball, or pass the ball
*Important note: Many level 2 players will have the
ability to shoot/pass the ball with their own strength
and may be able to take the ball from another player.
Unlike a level 1 player, these players are unable to
easily reach out in front, behind, or across his/her
wheelchair with their stick.
Level 3 Players:
A player who tapes/mounts/brackets the stick to the
wheelchair, or may hold the stick between their legs.
These players rely almost entirely on the strength/momentum
of the wheelchair to shoot, pass, and control the ball.
They are very limited in physical ability/strength to
maneuver with ball through/around other players, and
are unable to reach with their stick.
This classification system is based solely on physical
strength. It does not take into account a player's knowledge
in playing the game of PowerHockey. It may be common
for a level 2 or level 3 player to be more beneficial
to a team due to their knowledge of the game.
SectionX [Player Classification Committee]
|| The Player Classification and Tournament Committee will consist of one player from each team and one representative from the local tournament organizers (this person will be the chairperson of this committee). This committee does not make or change/modify Tournament Rules, but can handle major complaints on various issues, mainly disputes regarding a player's listed level. Teams will come with a roster, listing what they believe each of their player's level is according to the tournament rules. The committee will actually approve these ratings and potentially vote on changing a player's level. This will be done during the first two days of a four, (or more) day (game days) tournament or done during the first day of a three, (or less) day tournament.
If there are any questions, clarifications, comments or
if any further information is needed please feel free to Contact
©2005 U.S. Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association. All Rights Reserved.
PowerHockey is a registered trademark of the U.S.EWHA.