Conduct of Play

Conduct of Play

Players, coaches and spectators must treat all other players, NFHL staff, spectators, other coaches and umpires on/off the field with the utmost respect and dignity. Everyone is expected to compose themselves maturely and have sportsman-like conduct on/off the field at all times.


Note: This policy has been adapted from NCAA rules. If a NFHL does not have a designated coach, the captain will serve as the “coach”.

Green Card.

    • The temporary suspension commences when the umpire restarts the play after the award of the card.
    • A green card may be issued to the head coach as a warning prior to assessing a red card. No players are removed from the field when a green card is issued to a coach or bench personnel.
    • Point of Emphasis: The head coach is responsible for actions of their team bench area and shall receive any card assessed related to bench decorum.

Yellow Card.

    • The temporary suspension commences when the umpire restarts the play after the award of the card.
    • No yellow cards are to be issued to coaches; only green or red cards.

Red Card.

    • A player, bench personnel or coach receiving a red card shall be ejected from the game, shall leave the premises of the field of play and shall sit out the next regularly scheduled game, including postseason games. Should a player, bench personnel or coach receive a red card in the last game of the season (including post season games) the suspension would carry-over to the first game of the following season (exhibitions and/or scrimmages do not satisfy the suspension).
    • The head coach shall receive any red card assessed to their team bench area and will be required to leave the field of play.
    • A team whose “Head Coach” receives a red card, must designate who the “new” head coach will be. Any further cards to that team’s bench area will be assessed to the “Head Coach” at the time.
    • Point of Emphasis: It is expected and understood that umpires have the responsibility to deal with misconduct from the bench area in a professional but firm manner. The issuance of any card to the bench area is at the discretion of the umpires alone and cannot be reversed.
    • There is no procedure for appealing or rescinding any red card issued to a coach or player.
    • A coach/player serving a game suspension shall be restricted to the designated spectator area and is prohibited from any communication or contact, direct or indirect, with his or her team, assistant coaches and/or bench personnel from the start of the contest to its completion.
    • If a coach is red carded and refuses to leave the site of the contest within a reasonable amount of time (three minutes), the game shall be declared ended, and the opposing team shall be awarded the win (score becomes 1-0). The game shall count as a countable game.
    • A red card may be assessed to any player/coach or team personnel for any of the below improper conduct for the entire time an official is onsite at an institution.

The following shall be regarded as conduct that is improper, unfair, and unacceptable and may result in a warning or ejection:

    • Verbal/physical abuse or hostility towards any other participant, person or any other member of the public.
    • Disputing, appealing, protesting and/or reacting in a provocative or disapproving manner in an inappropriate way toward any decision made by an umpire or official.
    • Feigning injury and/or overreacting to an alleged breach or decision.
    • Charging or advancing towards an umpire or technical official in an aggressive manner.
    • Using rude or abusive language or hand signals.
    • Abuse of hockey equipment or clothing, venue equipment or fixtures and fittings.
    • Entering the field of play for any reason without the permission of the umpires.
    • Not respecting the 5-meter area off the sideline of the field outside of the designated team bench area and remaining behind a clearly marked restraining line.

Regulation game player suspensions (yellow card) and player/coach disqualifications (red card) will carry over into overtime play.

Suspended players (green/yellow) shall be placed at the scorer’s table on the same side of the table as her bench.

Coaching of players who are suspended from play is permitted.

The coaching of players who are participating in the game at the time when an injury timeout is called is permitted.

Designated Bench Area.

    • The official party on the field must remain within the designated bench area during play.
    • Coaches and players in the bench area must remain behind a clearly marked restraining line (defined as some type of distinguishable and visible marking for all participants, i.e. painted lines, cones or temporary tape) a minimum of five yards from the sideline, if five yards is not available, as close to five yards as possible and no less than 3 meters from the sideline). This is not an option.
    • Point of Emphasis: The area from the restraining line to the sideline must be kept clear for the umpires to see and position themselves as they see fit. Interference to the sight line or movement of an umpire will result in a green card warning or possible red card for persistent violations of the designated bench area rule.


    • Teams and team captains (or coaches) are ultimately responsible for the conduct of their spectators.
    • Spectators are not permitted behind the goal area and must be at least 10 yards behind the end line, and a minimum of five yards from the sideline.
    • NFHL staff can assess spectator misconduct and spectators can be required to leave the facility even in the absence of a request from a game umpire.
    • Misconduct by spectators should be brought to the attention of the captain/coach of NFHL staff if present. It should be noted that use of profane and/or vulgar language, and/or harsh treatment towards any participant of the game by spectators shall not be tolerated.