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  • On opposite sides of the ice, each referee should move between the goal line and the center line (Red Line) of their respective half of the ice, within about 10 feet of the boards.  Many balls are played off of the boards, so standing directly against the boards increases the chances you’ll be hit with the ball and affect the play.
  • When the ball moves deep into the offensive zone, the leading ref should be at or near the goal line with a good view of the crease area, while the trailing ref should be at or near center ice with a view of the two “outside the zone” players and the action in the zone.  The best view of the crease and the position least likely to affect play is directly behind the goal.
  • The most contentious calls involve the crease area, what constitutes a legitimate goal, and goalie safety.  For these reasons, the leading ref in the zone needs to have a clear view of and focus his attention on the crease area and illegal passes in the offensive zone.  When the ball moves away from the crease, the leading ref’s attention should be split between the play on the ball and possible crease violations and goalie interference.
  • The trailing ref has a better perspective on high lifts and highsticks (being able to see the height of the ball as compared to the board height) as well as off-the-ball fouls, especially fouls around the goal when the ball is elsewhere (holding, checking, etc.) and should focus his attention on those areas.  The trailing ref should make the offsides call.
  • Either ref may have a good line of site on a foul, highstick, etc and should not feel intimidated by calls of “How can you see that from there?”  If you see it, call it.
  • This is supposed to be a running time game, but some stoppages may merit asking for the clock to be stopped.  Rule consultations between refs and the booth, altercations that require sorting out, penalties, etc.  The goal should be to keep the game moving without unfairly penalizing either team because of the delay.  A stoppage caused by the team ahead will more likely merit a clock stop than one caused by the team behind.  A stoppage is more reasonable in a close game than a 4-0 game.  If stoppages begin to affect the start and end times of games, we will have to shorten the games, so keep it moving.  The clock should not be stopped for possession fouls or goals.
  • The clock is usually run by someone (Mark) who knows the rules well and keeps track of highsticks, playing down calls and offsides.  He should not be helping with judgment calls, but feel free to consult him on rules, interpretations, etc. 

  • If no one is manning the clock and there is a stoppage resulting in a scoring situation in the last minute of any period, the referees should note the time on the clock out loud, return the clock to that time and resume play.

  • We have added a dissent minor, although we have always had discretion to invoke unsportsmanlike conduct.  Understand that a certain amount of grousing at the ref is inevitable in all sports, and try not to take it personally.  When you have had enough, give a clear warning to the player and team involved.  On the next occurrence, call a 2 minute minor to be served by the offending player.  If the offending player cannot serve (injury?) or is the goalie, a player on the ice of the same gender as the offender may be chosen by the manager/captain.
  • For an abusive or profane rant, beyond normal grousing, 1) no team warning is necessary, 2) the goalie is not immune and 3) you have options of minor (releaseable if a goal is scored), major (4 minutes, non-releaseable), misconduct (8 minutes for the player, on top of minor or major for the team), and game misconduct (gone from the game, subject to further league action).  The misconduct penalties are only applied to the player; his team does not play shorthanded after the initial minor or major is served.
Dangerous Play:
  • This is intended to address out of control or dangerous play.  A player diving (leaving his feet, but touching the ball before his body hits the ground) may be fine if the player is all alone in a corner.  If it’s done near other players, it 1) puts those players at risk and/or 2) unfairly causes them to shy away from the play fearing someone will be hurt.  A diving player whose stick hits somebody (even if they “got the ball first”) or slides into someone is not in control and should be penalized.
  • This same call also applies to a player who runs headlong through another player, usually hoping that the other player will back down, fearing a collision.  Obviously, this can be a tough judgment call if two players reach a ball at the same time (especially on the boards), and neither backs down.  Collisions happen, but there are a few players who invite more than their share of collisions.
Unintentional Penalties:
  • We have eliminated the possession change for unintentional trips, etc.  The thought is that it is so hard to score in broomball, even with a man advantage, that there is no reason not to enforce the penalty with two minutes.  The trick is consistency.
Goalie Saves:
  • The goalie is supposed to release the ball laterally, and if he does so, it is fine if he throws or kicks it right to his teammate.  To advance the ball, he must use his stick.  Of course, when the goalie is in the process of making a save, the ball may be deflected in any direction and the play continues.  An issue arises when the “save” of a weak shot or a cross ends up being pushed well up ice by a goalie who clearly knew he could advance the ball.  While giving the full benefit of the doubt to allow a goalie to make a save any way he sees fit, a ball deliberately propelled forward (a kick clear) or to a forward teammate by a goalie seeking advantage should be awarded to the attacking team at the circle.
Denying a Goal-Scoring Opportunity:
  • Generally, when the last defender commits a minor or major penalty in the offensive zone against a player heading to goal with the ball, the ref must decide whether the offensive player had control of the ball (but for the foul) and whether any other defender was in a position to “get back” and help before he got the shot off.  If the player had control and no other defenders were available, a penalty shot should be awarded.
  • A player “playing down” to block a close shot from the front of the goal should clearly result in a penalty shot.  A down defender who has fallen or was pushed into the crease, but not making enough of an effort to get up and out should draw a penalty shot.  A down player blocking a weak shot, a shot from a poor angle or a shot from distance (maybe with other defenders behind him) may also be a penalty shot, but is not as clear cut.  The penalty shot is taken by any player on the ice at the tiem of the foul. 
  • The restart in the offensive zone is intended to improve scoring opportunities by moving the ball in front of the goal.  The team taking the restart should drive the timing of the whistle: when they appear ready give them a whistle if it appears to be to their advantage.  If they ask for 10 feet, they should wait for your whistle, which you only blow after the defense has backed away.  (This is analogous to a soccer restart; hockey restarts are all face-offs.)
  • In soccer, defensive players often start way too close to the ball until the referee pushes them back.  Refusing to back away or kicking a ball away that has been properly set can result in a yellow card in soccer.  For broomball, a referee should expect a slow back-away (but not a ridiculous starting point, like right on the ball), and can warn players before issuing an Unsportsmanlike minor.
  • For reference, the radius of the face-off circle is 15ft and the distance between the Blue lines and the Red line should be about 25ft.
Ball Deflected Off a Defender for a Goal:
  • This rule tries to square the High Lift rule and the fact that a legal shot on goal can rise up to a foot over the crossbar as it travels toward the goal, (though it must come down to the level of the crossbar by the time it makes it to the goal).  If a defender is hit in the head or the chest (i.e. high) by a legal shot on goal, there is no high lift called, and a deflection off such a defender that goes in should be a goal.  However, if the shot is not on goal, either because it is too high or is not initially on line for the goal (or is actually a cross, not a shot), it is a high lift when it strikes the player and is a dead ball (no goal) thereafter.
  • Any ball striking an offensive player high will be considered a high lift and a dead ball.
Watch the Free Hand:
  • The trailing ref in the offensive zone (or either in neutral ice) should be conscious of players removing one hand from their stick when close to an opposing player.  While most of the time this is totally legitimate (a player wants a longer reach, or to cushion collision, e.g.), sometimes it's to grab a stick, impede an opposing player or shove a player.  Grabbing a stick or player should be a Holding call, impeding a player is Interference, and shoving can be Interference, Boarding or Roughing depending on the circumstances.
  • Lifting or popping the stick from below is legal and is usually not a slash.  While it is legal to press down on an opponent's stick while they play or are about to play the ball, it becomes a slash when the player chops down hard on the opponent's stick, whether they drop the stick or not.  The easiest slash to call is when the ball is away from both players and the offending player is using the slash to interfere with his opponent who is trying to get to the ball.