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Rules of Mini Hockey

By Carol Taber

Mini hockey or knee hockey is a home-grown variant of ice hockey. Played indoors on a padded surface such as a rug, participants use miniature versions of ice hockey equipment while playing the game on their knees. As the popularity of mini hockey has grown, community recreation leagues are starting to form and establish formal rules for the game.

Rules for Team Size and Equipment

Each team consists of three players. Each player must wear a helmet with a full face guard. Each player may wear knee pads and gloves if desired. No ice hockey goalie equipment, gloves, sticks or pads are to be worn by any player. Standard mini hockey sticks are no more than 18 inches long. The goalie may use a mini hockey goalie stick not more than 18 inches in length or a regular mini hockey stick. The puck can be either a foam ball or a foam hockey puck.

There is not an official standard for the size of the playing surface for mini hockey. Recreational league rinks are usually 20 feet long and 14 feet wide, with goals 4 feet long and 2 1/2 feet wide. At least one knee must be in contact with the playing surface and in bounds at all times.

Rules of Game Play

For rec league play, there are three, 10-minute periods, with no breaks between periods. There are two referees per game. Penalties are one-minute long. Any player getting more than three penalty minutes during play will be ejected from the game. Unlike regular hockey, players may use their hands was well as sticks when coming into contact with the puck. Icing--hitting the puck from one end of the rink to the other--is allowed in mini hockey. Standard hockey rules against no slashing, high sticking and cross checking apply in mini hockey.

Scoring and Tie Breakers

One point is scored for each goal. If at the end of regulation play the score is tied, a five-minute sudden death two-on-two period is played. Two-on-two play means that two players from each team are on the field during the sudden death period instead of the three that are allowed during regular play. Player substitution is allowed during sudden death play. The first team to score wins. If no team scores, the game is recorded as a tie.

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