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Coaching Information

Coaching Ethics Code

All USA Hockey ice hockey coaches (head and assistant) and instructors must abide by the USA Hockey Coaching Ethics Code, and understand that violations may result in full or partial forfeiture of coaching privileges in programs, at sites or events under USA Hockey’s governance. All coaches have an obligation to be familiar with USA Hockey’s Coaching Ethics Code. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an ethical standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unethical conduct.

Helmet Policy

All ice hockey coaches and instructors of registered USA Hockey Youth 18 & Under and below, High School, Girls’/Women’s 19 & under and below, and disabled programs must properly wear an approved ice hockey helmet during all on-ice sessions, including practices, controlled scrimmages and all Coaching Education Program clinics and/or workshops.

Evidence of Level

All USA Hockey coaches will possess a USA Hockey Coaching Education Program card with valid certification stickers (if certification was received prior to September 1, 2011), or a printout from the USA Hockey online certification list (if certification was received after September 1, 2011).

It is the responsibility of the local association to identify those coaches who do not meet the certification requirements. All coaches have until December 31 of the current season to attend a USA Hockey coaching clinic and complete the online age-specific playing level module to become properly certified.

Prior to the start of all games throughout the season all coaches are required to indicate their current certification status on the scoresheet, regardless of their certification level. All coaches (except for juniors) must legibly print their USA Hockey Coaching Education Program (CEP) card number, their CEP level (levels 1-5), their online age-specific playing level module and the year their CEP level was attained.

Beginning January 1 of the current season, prior to the start of each game, all coaches present are required to sign the designated area of the score sheet in order to verify the accuracy of the playing roster, as it appears on the score sheet, for that game.

Level 3 Recertification

USA Hockey Coaching Education Program and flexxCoach University offers online recertification for Level 3 coaches.

Coaching certification at Level 3 is valid for two (2) seasons, as indicated by the expiration date.

A coach whose Level 3 is due to expire must take the online Level 3 Recertification Track 1 curriculum or they may move up to Level 4. Level 3 Track 1 Recertification is valid for two (2) seasons.

A coach whose Track 1 Level 3 recertification is due to expire must take the online Level 3 Recertification Track 2 curriculum or move up to Level 4. Level 3 Track 2 Recertification is valid for two (2) seasons.

Coaches whose Track 2 Level 3 Recertification is due to expire must attend a Level 4 clinic prior to the expiration of their Level 3 Recertification.

Coaches must complete the online recertification program in order to recertify their Level 3 certifications. Attending a clinic or workshop is no longer valid for recertifying any certification level.

CEP Waivers

An approved Waiver will allow a coach achievement of a certification level without attending a CEP Clinic. Approval standards are very strict and are granted based on experience and educational background. The completed application, resume with three references, and a $50 fee must be submitted for consideration of a Waiver. The highest level a person will be awarded is Level 3.

Penalty & Enforcement

All coaches must have current certification and online component verification beginning January 1 of the current playing season. Any coach not in possession of these requirements will be ineligible to coach for the remainder of the season. Districts and/or affiliates are required to uphold this penalty. It will be the responsibility of the local association registering the team to enforce the national policy.

Coach Registration

All ice hockey coaches as well as instructors of USA Hockey programs shall be registered for the current season (before the start of the season) in order to be eligible to coach/instruct in any regular season activities (practices, clinics, games, tournaments, try-outs, etc.), state, district, regional playoff, national championships or in the USA Hockey Player Development Programs. There will be an annual fee to register the coaches (head and assistants) and instructors. Coaches who also play on a USA Hockey registered team are required to pay this registration fee only once per year. Coaches may register as participants online at or through a local association/member program (refer to Section I Participant Registration). Junior coaches shall register with and through their teams with the junior registrar.

Note 1: All USA Hockey Coaching Education Program Instructors and National Player Development Camp coaches will be exempt from the annual participant registration fee, but must complete the participant registration process.

Note 2: The head coach and all assistant coaches of each disabled hockey team must complete the required CEP registration and online age-specific module(s) for each level of play. Those volunteers or employees who assist with helping disabled hockey teams (i.e. interpreters, pushers, on-ice mentors, etc.) must be properly registered with USA Hockey but are not required to attend a CEP clinic and otherwise comply with these rules and regulations.

Student Coaches

A player age 13 through 17 who is currently properly registered with USA Hockey. The qualifications are:

  • Must attend a training session conducted by the local hockey association or audit a Level 1 clinic (not required to pay nor will they receive certification credit).
  • Must always be under the supervision of a carded, screened adult coach during all practices, clinics, try-outs and in the locker room.
  • May help out at practices, clinics, try-outs only. (May not participate as a player in scrimmages or games when acting as a STUDENT COACH).
  • May not act as a head coach or an assistant coach during practices or games.
  • May be on the bench during games with an adult. The STUDENT COACH will count as one of the maximum of four Team Officials allowed on the bench.
  • Must wear a helmet with full face shield, gloves and skates while on the ice. Must wear helmet during games while on the bench. May only work with players at least one full playing age level down (e.g., a Bantam age player may act as a STUDENT COACH at the Pee Wee, Squirt or Mite level).
  • The organization that is using the STUDENT COACH must provide a form indicating on what team he/she is participating as a STUDENT COACH, and, if applicable, what team he/she is properly registered/rostered as a player. A model form is available on the website.
  • Upon reaching the age of 18, the STUDENT COACH must comply with the USA Hockey Screening Program and meet the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program requirements which will qualify him/her to act as an assistant or head coach.