THE BALL STAR HOCKEY LEAGUE is respected in Halifax circles as a well run and organized league. Currently we play at the Lions Community Centre in Spryfield. The gym isn’t perfect but it’s getting better with regards to obstacles as some renovations have improved the arena. The rules and guidelines here are in place to keep us on track. At this point, we do not wear helmets or mouthguards or protective eyewear, so safety must be a top priority. Above all, the main purpose is to have fun and this cannot be overstated enough. 

Release Form/Waiver

Each player will need to sign a waiver/release form before being allowed to play in the league.  This is mandatory for all players (including replacements and exhibition players).  Any player who declines signing this form will not be permitted to play in the league.  This waiver is an acknowledgement that players are accepting formal responsibility for the inherent risk of playing ball hockey.

Drafting Players

At the start of the draft process, each team captain draws a number out of a hat to decide the order they go in selecting players. This number cannot be traded to another captain. The order goes from 1 to 6 and then 6 back to 1 which gives the captains with numbers 1 and 6 back-to-back picks. Each team captain drafts one goalie and seven others to build a team of 9 players including themselves. They choose their roster in any order, alternating in turn with the other team captains in the order determined by random draw. At the end of the draft process, captains can discuss and make any necessary trades. 

Draft Selection Order

To keep the integrity of the league, there will be no exchanging of draft order number once the captain has selected it from the hat.  The draft order you pick is yours to keep.

Composition of Team 

Each team is composed of 9 players: one goaltender and eight others that can divided amongst the positions of offense and defense and alternated between forward and defense, at any time during the game, as the team sees fit. 

Losing a Player 

Should a team lose a player, for whatever reason, he cannot come back to play for any other team that season. The team losing a player will be given a replacement player, chosen by the league, that was not in the draft as long as that player is of an equal or less skill level to the player he is replacing. The player cannot be above the skill level of the player being replaced. Once a replacement player is confirmed, the player being replaced cannot come back during that season (including playoffs). All replacements are the decision of the league.

Trading Players

Captains will be able to trade players from the draft up until BEFORE week 8 of the regular season.  All trades must be sent to the league and can only be approved once all the player(s) from the trade have been contacted by their respective captains. No captain or other player is allowed to release this info to the trash site or any other form until it is sent out by the league.

A captain is only allowed to trade a maximum of four (4) players per season. The same player can be traded more than once, if you are a captain and trade for Stinky you will be thankful for this rule.  No other trades will be permitted. Goalies are considered part of the players traded.

The player(s) involved will need to return their previous team shirt back to the league and will be given a new team shirt.

Playing With Less Than Full Roster 

Teams will be required to play with less than a full roster from time to time. Players not in the draft by that team are unable to be added to a team roster. All teams will need to have all 9 players on their roster heading into the playoffs.  A replacement player is mandatory during the playoffs.  No team shall have a choice of replacing or not any player before the start of the playoffs.

Replacement of Goaltender

Teams are required to only use their drafted goalie.  If for whatever reason, the goalie is not available, the captain must contact Ryan Milligan (the league) as soon as possible and a replacement goalie will be chosen by the league.  The goalie has to be of equal or less skill level to the goalie he is replacing.  The league will start from the list of replacement goalies on hand during the season.  If a goalie is not found from the list, the league will choose a goalie from one of the existing teams with the first priority skill level AND ensuring this replacement has already played for his original team when possible.  In the rare case all of these options have been exhausted and no replacement is found, the league will pursue other options.

Time Out 

A team captain may call one time out per half at any time when there is a stoppage in play. Time outs will last for approximately one minute. During overtime in the playoffs, each team will be allowed one (1) timeout per period.

Time Out for Shorthanded Teams 

(A) If a team is missing 3 of its players with just one sub on the bench, they may be allowed 3 time outs during the game as long as all are not used in one half. They can use 2 time outs in either the first or second half and one time out in the other half. 

(B) If a team is missing 4 of its players with no subs on the bench, they may be allowed 4 time outs during the game – 2 in each half.

Number of Players on the Floor at Once 

No more than four players (usually two forward and two defense) and one goalie constitute the allowed number of players a team can have on the floor at any time. If a team chooses to “pull the goalie” they can add a fifth runner – this can be done at a whistle or while play is on the go – however, the fifth player cannot step onto the floor as a replacement until the goalie has reached the bench.

Overtime Shootout

A team must go through all of their players during a shootout before starting back from the beginning no matter how many players are on that team for that specific night.  This means a team missing players will go through their lineup quicker than a team with their full roster. No player can go twice until all players from that team have gone.

Wearing the Team Shirt 

A player is not allowed on the floor during play unless he is wearing the team’s t-shirt. This is a firm rule that the team’s logo MUST be worn on the player’s chest. No substitute shirts can be worn, even if they are the exact same colour. The only exception here is for goaltenders. Players are not allowed to switch shirts on the bench when one of the players has forgotten his shirt.

Assistant Team Captain 

Each team captain should designate an assistant captain for their team in the event that the captain is unable to attend the game. The assistant captain will act as the “go to” guy for referees should any situations during the game need to be addressed. If the captain and the assistant captain are absent, the third choice will act as captain for that game.

Addressing the Referee 

Only the team captain may address the referee(s) for their interpretation of any calls during the game. This is only to be done at a stoppage in play, not during.  When the captain is not present the assistant captain will take his place.  Any other player addressing the referee could receive a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Line Changes during Play 

A player must be in the bench area – within 3 feet of the bench – before another player is permitted to enter the floor as a replacement. If not, the team may be penalized for too many men. This call is at the referee’s judgment. If a player at the end of his shift is not fast enough getting off and the ball makes contact with them while their replacement player has entered the floor, a penalty for too many men may be called.

Stoppage in Play 

The referee with blow the whistle indicating a stoppage in play for the following reasons:

(A) When a goal has been scored;

(B) When the goalie covers the ball;

(C) When a penalty has occurred;

(D) When the ball is out of bounds;

(E) When the ball lands on top of the net or on the mesh at the bottom of the net in back. 

(F) When the ball has been stepped on or is broken, a new ball enters the game and possession is given to the last player who had possession. Otherwise a face off at centre may occur.

(G) When the ball comes in contact with a high stick, the ball will be overturned.

(H) When the ball is frozen against the wall or the net by a player.

(I) when a player is visibly injured.

(J) As soon as the ref sees any sign of blood.

(k) When a player has the ball along the wall or in the corner, using your body to restrict the player’s movement is not permitted. A whistle will result with the ball being overturned to the other team.

After a Goal Has Been Scored 

A faceoff will occur at center.

When the Goalie Traps the Ball 

The referee will stop the play when the goalie traps the ball in his glove or under his pads and possession is given to that goalie’s team behind the net. The goalie must have have part of his body inside the goal crease otherwise a delay of game penalty could be issued by the referee. No player may attempt to get the ball once it’s trapped by the goalie.


The referee may call a 2 minute penalty for each of the following:

TRIPPING – Even if a player causes a trip by accident, it is still a penalty. A tripping penalty is called even when a player trips due to walking on another player’s stick.

HOLDING – A player is not allowed to wrap one or both arms around another player.

HOLDING THE STICK – A player is not allowed to grab another player’s stick.

SLASHING – This will be called when a play hits another player with his stick or chops down on another player’s stick.

ROUGHING – Any bump or use of the body is considered roughing. As opposed to ice hockey, players must play the ball, not the man.

HOOKING – Wrapping the stick around another player’s body will result in a hooking penalty.

INTERFERENCE – When a player interferes with or obstructs an opposing player’s movement on the floor, an interference penalty may be called. This also applies to goaltenders who have to be careful playing the ball and not interfere with an opposing player and vice versa.

HIGHSTICKING – If a player’s stick is above the waist and comes in contact with an opposing player, a penalty will be called.

CROSSCHECKING – If a player uses two hands on his stick to hit another player, usually above the waist, it’s considered a penalty for crosschecking.

TOO MANY MEN – A bench penalty will be given to the team that exceeds four players plus a goalie on the floor during play.

DELAY OF GAME – If a goaltender traps the ball but is not inside the goalcrease, a delay of game penalty may be issued. The goalie must have one part of his body inside the crease. This will be to the discretion of the referee. 

In addition a turn over OR a minor penalty for delay of game may be imposed (at referees discretion) on any player who deliberately shoots or bats (using his hand or his stick) the ball outside the playing area (from anywhere on the floor surface) during play.

UNSPORTSMANLIKE MISCONDUCT – All players must respect their opponents, the league and the officials. The referee will decide on the severity of the unsportsmanlike penalty. Usually, if it’s something minor, a 2 minute penalty is issued. However, if the player continues the unsportsmanlike behavior, a double minor may result and the player will be penalized for 4 minutes.

After that, it could be a misconduct which will result in his team being shorthanded for 2 minutes and the player sitting out for 5 additional minutes (total of 7 minutes).  If a goal is scored during that time, the 2 minute penalty will be over but the player will sit for the 5 minutes.

An automatic Minor Penalty or, at the discretion of the Referee a Major Penalty and a Game Misconduct, shall be assessed to any player (except goalies) who deliberately leaves his feet and slides (intentional sliding) on the playing surface and comes in contact with any other player whether deliberate or not, he will be assessed a penalty.

Sliding is defined as any player deliberately propelling themselves across the floor by sliding on any part of their body other than their feet whether they are blocking a shot or not. If a player slides towards the ball without making contact with another player, the play will continue and no penalty will be given.   This is to protect all players from injuries that might result from sliding whether there is intent to injure or not. A player who drops down to block a shot is not considered sliding unless he propels himself across the floor into another player.

Pining player on the wall/interference:
A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who is or is not in possession of the ball.  This includes any player who pins another player on the wall and stops his progress whether he has the ball or not.  When a free hand is used to hold, pull, tug, grab or physically restrain an opponent from moving freely, this will also be penalized. The free hand may be used by a player to “fend off” an opponent or his stick, but may not be used to hold an opponent’s stick or body.

Throwing Stick:

When any player, including the goaltender, deliberately throws his stick or any part thereof or any other object at the ball or ball carrier in the defending zone will receive a minor penalty.


A Minor Penalty or, at the discretion of the Referee, a Major Penalty shall be assessed to any player who, in the opinion of the Referee, intentionally body checks, bumps, shoves or pushes an opponent. .


A Minor Penalty shall be assessed to any player who impedes or seeks to impede the progress of an opponent by “slashing” with his stick on the opponent’s body and/or opponents stick.


A Minor Penalty shall be assessed to a player who holds an opponent with his hands, stick or any other manner or who impedes or seeks to impede the progress of an opponent by “hooking” or “butt end hooking” an opponent.

Interference on the goaltender:

This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalies ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease

If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

Any player who receives a total of three (3) minor penalties in one game will be ejected from the game and will not be allowed to play the remainder of that game or to stay on the bench. They can not shoot in the shootout. (The Kenny Rule)

More severe situations will be addressed by the league and could result in a player being suspended for additional games or being expelled from the league altogether with no reimbursement of their league fees.

When a Penalty is Over 

A player must sit out the duration of the penalty issued to him unless his team has been scored on while shorthanded, at which point, the penalty will then expire and his team will return to full strength.

Shorthanded during penalties

Just as in ice hockey, if a team is down 2 guys, resulting in a 5 on 3 and ANOTHER guy takes a penalty, that player will sit in the penalty box until 1 of the previous penalties expires, or a goal is scored, and then his will start. The only difference is, we will only go down 1 player, resulting in a 4 on 3. If ANOTHER guy takes a penalty, that player will sit on the bench until the previous penalty expires, or a goal is scored, and then his will start. Example: Player A takes a penalty. Player B takes a penalty 30 seconds later. If the team with the powerplay does not score, Player B will sit for 1 minute and 30 seconds before his penalty starts. After Player A's penalty expires, Player A will return to the floor, and Player B's penalty will start at that time.

Coincidental Minors

If a penalty has been called to a player of each team at the same time, teams will play four aside while the penalized players sit on the bench for the duration of their 2 minute penalties. 

In the rare case of a team only having 4 players on their roster during the game, an coincidental minor will consist of the players on each team sitting for 2 minutes which will result in a 4 on 3 advantage on the floor.  If a goal is scored during that 2 minute penalty, the teams will be back to even strength (4 on 4).

Players cannot return to the floor until after the first whistle, that is after the penalties have expired.

Out of Bounds 

The referees will try to keep the flow of the game moving. So, if the ball sneaks through a boundary and is recovered within a second or two, play may continue at the discretion of the referee. Otherwise the ball is considered out of bounds and the whistle will blow. The team who touched the ball last before going out of bounds loses possession and it’s given to the other team in bounds at the point where the ball was last in play.

Hitting the Basketball Net or Bulkhead 

The basketball net or the bulkhead at the top of either end of the gym is considered out of bounds. The referee will stop the play when the ball hits any part of the basketball net and possession is given to the goalie in that end. If the ball hits any part of the bulkhead at either end, the team of the last player who touched it will lose possession.

When the Ball Makes Contact With a High Stick 

Possession of the ball is overturned if the ball makes contact with a high stick that is above the waist.

Freezing the Ball 

If a player traps the ball against the wall or beside the net with his foot or stick without keeping the play moving, the whistle will blow and the ball will be overturned to the other team. However, the goalie may trap the ball against the side of the net, provided he has one foot in the goal crease.

Clearing Players Out of the Defensive Zone 

If an opponent tries to get inside the slot area, a defenseman may try to protect the zone by pushing the opponent out. Of course, this will always be the judgment call on the referee’s part as to whether or not a roughing penalty (or two, one for each player) should be called. Generally, gentle pushing will be tolerated by the officials.  Any aggressive pushing or jabbing may result in a roughing penalty for either player.

The formula we use is as follows for the first two rounds of the playoffs: 

WEEK 1:                                              WEEK 2

1 vs 6                                                   1 vs 5

2 vs 4                                                   2 vs 6

3 vs 5                                                   3 vs 4

If there is a 2, 3 or 4 way tie during the regular season in regards to the standings heading into the playoffs, the following will be used:

1. Points regular season (If teams who collect the same number of points, the one with more regulation wins jumps ahead in the standings).

2. Plus/minus.

3. Wins/Losses (The team with the most wins will take precedent). 

4. Head to Head (if teams remain tied after calculating points, plus/minus and wins).

Procedure for determining playoff positioning:                                                                                       

The following criteria in this order will be used to determine the standings during any part of the playoffs:

1. Win-Loss (points) playoffs.

2. Plus/Minus playoffs.

3. Head to Head (playoffs results if both teams have played each other and if not we move to #4 below).

4. Regular Season standing.

Shootout win during the playoffs:

A team who wins in the shootout will be awarded the extra point and will also be given a +1 in the plus/minus column for the win.  The losing team will be given -1 in the plus/minus column.


Some general practices for referees are as follows:

Positioning on the Floor 

The stop clock official will be on one side of the gym near the players’ bench while the shotkeeper official is on the other side of the gym in the opposite corner. The shotkeeper official will generally assume ball dropping duties for face offs while the stopclock official will generally report the stat for goal, assist and time of the goal to the scorekeeper.

Referees Need Consistency 

The goal is the referees make calls that are consistent from game to game. Referees need to be familiar with the rules of the league. Of course, judgement calls will need to happen and referees will be responsible for keeping the calls as concise and consistent as possible.

Keeping an Eye on the Play 

A good tip on watching the play is to keep your eyes near the midsection of a player carrying the ball, not on the ball itself. This way, you get a better view of any infractions, like hooking or slashing, committed by defenders. A quick look behind the play sometimes will reveal unnecessary roughness.

Questioning the Call of the Referee

As a referee, there is no need to justify a call. In almost every case, a call will never be overturned once it is made, whether it was the right call or not. If a call must be explained, it should be done with the team captain(s), preferably at the end of the period. 

Arguing the Call of the Referee

Any players yelling out to the referee are risking one warning which will turn into a penalty if it persists. Captains, organizers and referees need to set an example and not argue calls. An argument or discussion takes up time and only looks bad. The captains are responsible for keeping their teammates from arguing calls.

Insults to a Referee

This will result in a 2 minute unsportsmanlike misconduct.

Second Opinion

Referees shouldn’t be afraid to check with the other official when unsure of a certain call. If necessary, a call may be reversed, but only if it’s the right call and only after checking with the other referee.

Reduce the Risk of Injury

Common sense must be taken when two players run hard into the corner after the ball. It is helpful to players when referees yell commands out to be careful in a situation such as this where two players need another set of eyes looking at the play. Referees can reduce the risk of injury by yelling out commands for players to be careful, even when play starts to escalate or gets aggressive. A quick warnings helps keep the play moving and safe. But if players ignore the warnings, a penalty may be called.

Reduce the Risk of Injury

We realize the game is much faster and that you may have to play somewhat physical to compete. But this is a fine line that must not be crossed. It is important to respect your opponent on the floor. If the referee feels that the line of getting too physical has been crossed, a penalty will be issued.

Scheduling Referees 

Whenever possible, an inexperienced referee should be matched with a more experienced referee.