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Penguins Adult League Rules


Penguins Adult League Rules


  • All players must have a current UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex Liability Waiver on file before playing. The waiver will be signed when the player is added to the roster.
  • USA Hockey registration can be completed at . A valid USA Hockey number will be required when the player is added to the roster.
  • All required forms and payment must be submitted prior to teams receiving their eligibility sticker. All players must have an eligibility sticker on their helmet in order to skate. No exceptions or excuses.
  • UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex waivers expire after each season. USA Hockey registrations expire annually & must be re-submitted each year.(USA Hockey membership is valid Sept 1 – Aug 31 annually).
    • Adult players that register after April 1 are
      considered valid for the upcoming membership period. Therefore, players that register on or after April 1, 2015 will have a valid membership through August 31, 2016.
  • All teams are required to submit an online roster prior to each season of play.
  • All players must have an ELIGIBILITY STICKER on their helmet in order to skate.
  • An eligibility sticker can only be obtained after the team roster has been submitted.
  • Teams that attempt to violate the ELIGIBILITY STICKER policy may be subject to forfeiture of games, removal from the league schedule, and/or forfeiture of league fees – please see Appendix at the end of the Rules, entitled “Eligibility Helmet Stickers.”

2. All Penguins Adult League (PAL) divisions are classified as “non-check”.

3. All rules are in addition to those enforced by USA Hockey for general game play.

4. The Zero Tolerance Policy is in effect for all players, officials, fans, etc. for all UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex leagues. All players must adhere to the policies outlined below. Failure to do so may result in temporary or permanent expulsion from league play.

5. Feedback on the PAL is appreciated, however, no “protests” will be accepted. Any feedback regarding rules, players, or officials should be directed from the team manager/captain to the league director.

6. Alcohol / Tobacco / Drugs

  • Alcohol products are not permitted in the building.
  • Players under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted to play
    • This includes, but is not limited to, slurred speech, impaired balance, hostile/aggressive behavior when alcohol can be smelled on a player’s breath, or threatening, abusive and/or overly vulgar language when alcohol can be smelled on a player’s breath.
    • Other “warning sign” behaviors not articulated
      above can be used to prohibit a player from playing when a player is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.
  • Tobacco products are not permitted in any area of the arena, on or off the ice.
  • Players under the influence of drugs, whether prescription medication or illicit drugs, will not be permitted to play.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, slurred speech, impaired balance, hostile/aggressive behavior or threatening, abusive and/or overly vulgar language when a drug impairment is suspected.
    • Other “warning sign” behaviors not articulated above can be used to prohibit a player from playing when a drug impairment is suspected
  • Players/fans under the influence of alcohol/drugs will be asked to exit the premises immediately.

7. Spectators, ‘coaches’, etc. are not permitted to be in the player bench area at any time.

  • The player bench is reserved for eligible, fully-dressed skaters only.
  • Fans/spectators cannot congregate around the bench area for any reason.
  • Ejected players:
    • Should proceed to locker room and change into street clothes.
    • May not go back to the bench during game play.
    • Are permitted to remain in the locker room or lobby, but may not re-enter the ice rink from which he/she was ejected.
    • May not be in the runway, rink glass level, spectator area or locker room hallway.
    • May not engage a referee for conversation/consultation/or confrontation during or after the game – that is the Captain’s responsibility (or an assistant if the captain was ejected)
    • May not confront a game official, rink staff, opposing player or any other person in the locker room hallways or lobby or any other area of the premises.
    • May not engage in loud, disruptive or abusive behavior in any way.
    • Violations of these policies may result in suspension.

8. Equipment & Jerseys

  • Teams are responsible for their own pucks for warm-ups and games.
  • All teams must wear matching jerseys of the same style and color.
  • All jerseys must have permanent numbers.
  • All teams should have a “second” jersey:
    • Everyone has played long enough to have multiple jerseys in their possession.
    • If your team wears a dark color, have a white (or at least light colored) jersey in your hockey bag.
    • If your team wears a light color, have a black (or at least dark colored) jersey in your hockey bag.
    • Refs would prefer contrasting jerseys over matching, numbered jerseys for those occasional instances where two teams wear the same color.
  • Goalies are exempt from this rule. Goalies are encouraged to wear league issued jerseys whenever possible.
  • Players are required to wear a minimum of elbow pads, shin pads, hockey gloves, hockey pants, and regulation, HECC (The Hockey Equipment Certification Council; approved hockey helmet with a permanent chin strap.
  • Tape or lace chin straps are not acceptable.
  • Full facial protection, groin protection, mouth guards and shoulder pads are highly recommended.

9. Clock / Game Protocol

  • Three twenty (20) minute, running time periods will be played.
  • A three (3) minute warm-up clock will be used.
  • Players may not go on the ice until the ice resurfacer doors have been closed.
  • Each team be allotted  1 (one) 30-second time-out per game in regular season play.
  • Teams must have a minimum of five skaters and a goaltender to start any game.
  • If the required number of skaters for either team is not on the ice when the warm-up clock expires, the game clock shall start & will run until the required number of players arrives.
  • If the required number of players does not arrive before the end of the first period, the game will be recorded as a forfeit and a 3-0 loss.
  • Referees are not obligated to officiate forfeited games.

10. Off-sides / Icing

  • Icing is called from the defensive red line.
  • Two line passes are legal.
  • Off-sides will be tag-up (delayed off-sides).

11. Rosters

  • Rosters are limited to 20 players and must be submitted prior to the start of each new season. Rosters may be amended during the season until the pre-determined cut-off date for each given season, when rosters will be frozen.
    • In the event of an addition to a 20 player roster, an existing player may need to be removed before the new player is added.
    • In certain circumstances, the 20 player limit may be extended. For example: during the initial registration period, a player may inadvertently join his/her team twice, taking up an extra roster spot; a player that intended to play cannot do so and another player takes his/her place on the roster before the other player is removed; a team has several back-up goalies but still need roster spots for skaters.
  • Every team must have a valid/current roster on file at all times. Team captains are responsible for making sure an updated roster is submitted before the first league game of each season.
  • Waivers and rosters expire at the end of each season.
  • USA Hockey registration expires annually.
  • Any team caught with an ineligible/illegal player (no waiver/no USA Hockey number/not on roster/no eligibility sticker) on the ice may be subject to a forfeit loss – please see Appendix at the end of the Rules, entitled
  • “Eligibility Helmet Stickers.”
  • Rosters must have player jersey numbers listed. Any potential changes to the roster, such as changed jersey numbers or added/dropped players must be reported to the league director for prior approval.
  • Substitutes: If you need a substitute player or a sub goalie, a list will be made available with players from the free agent registration. We also list goalies from the league that make themselves available as subs for other teams
    • If help is still needed finding subs, and sufficient time is available, the league director can assist by sending an email to league captains asking them to contact their players who might be available to sub for a particular game.
    • Reminder: when using a sub player from the free agent list, it is the captain’s responsibility to be certain the free agent sub has checked in at the front desk and received and eligibility sticker.
    • Each and every substitute player must be registered for the Penguins Adult League and must be registered with USA Hockey and meet all additional PAL specifications for the division they are playing in.
    • You may not go outside the league/rink for sub players.
    • Sub players may “play up” to any level above their registration level. Higher level sub players may only play down one level (no jumping levels).
    • Example: a player registered in D may sub in any division at the rink; a player registered in B may only sub in B or Upper C
  • All players must be 18 years of age and out of high school by the first day of league play. Absolutely no exceptions will be made to this rule.
  • There are no additional age restrictions in the B, Upper-C, or Lower-C leagues.
  • The age restrictions in the 35+ League are: up to 3 skaters 30+ are permitted to dress each game; goalie can be 27+. Maximum number of players under age 35: 3 skaters and a goalie; if goalie is 35+, the maximum is 3 skaters (30+).
  • Players rostered on a B team may NOT skate in the Lower-C league.
  • Dual Rostered Players:
    • Players rostered on a B, Upper-C, Lower-C or D team may also be rostered in the 35+ league if they meet the age requirements.
    • Players in the B, Upper-C and Lower-C leagues may also be rostered in the next adjacent league (no skipping divisions).
  • Each league will be monitored and followed regarding the comparative competitiveness of teams.
    • We have carefully defined division criteria. Additionally, we spend time learning about new teams and examining the record of returning teams.
    • If a team is determined to be registered in the wrong division and is beating all the other teams by significant scores, that team may forfeit its guaranteed playoff game and its season will be done at the end of the regular season.
    • A team that has moved up a division from the previous season and is decidedly more competitive than the other teams in its division will not be subject to the above rule, but may receive only a single championship game, rather than participate in a playoff series.
  • Current Professional, College (NCAA or Club), or Junior A or B players may not skate in the Upper-C, Lower-C, D or 35+ leagues.
    • Captains considering rostering such players in a B or A division should consult the league director before activating a roster with players with such players.
  • Age Verification (35+)
    • Dates of birth will be verified by USA Hockey registrations.
    • Players with ineligible dates of birth will not be permitted on roster.
  • Protests
    • Protests will be accepted only for: violation of player age eligibility or violation of league/division skill level requirements.
    • A written protest must be submitted by ONLY the team captain to the league director within forty-eight (48) hours of the game end time.
  • Teams found violating player age eligibility (or league eligibility) could forfeit the games for which they are found in violation. Other sanctions could be imposed.
  • Teams found violating player skill eligibility will be subject to the playoff sanctions outlined above.

12. Penalties/Officials

  • Players serving a penalty must sit in the penalty box. No player serving a minor or major penalty may be on the player bench.
  • All minor penalties will be 2 minutes in duration & shall begin when the puck drops to re-start the next play. If a penalty should expire while play is stopped, the player may not leave the penalty box until the puck drops to re-start play.
  • If a player leaves the penalty box without pulling the door all the way shut or leaves the door open or ajar, play will be stopped immediately and a face-off will be in the offending team’s defensive zone.
  • Any player who receives three (3) penalties in one game will be given a game ejection & will be asked to leave the bench area, playing surface, rink glass level area and spectator seating area.
  • The player should change into street clothes and:
    • Leave the building
    • Remain in the locker room or,
    • Proceed to the lobby.
    • See the rules for Ejected Players in section 7 above.
    • If the player takes the third penalty with 10 minutes remaining in the third period, the player may receive a game misconduct and possible suspension in addition to the game ejection.
  • Any player who is ejected from a game and refuses to immediately leave the ice surface, player bench, rink glass level area, runway, locker room hall or spectator area may be given a one game suspension. Play will not resume until the offending player has left the ice and/or all viewing and spectator seating areas.
    • See the rules for Ejected Players in section 7 above.
  • Any player leaving the bench to join an altercation will receive a game misconduct and suspension.
  • Any player who receives a major penalty for fighting will be ejected for the duration of that game, plus receive a game misconduct and a minimum one-game suspension.  
    • The suspension could be for more games, depending on the seriousness of the altercation.
    • Any player who is suspended for a second fighting altercation will receive a three-game suspension and also possible expulsion from the league indefinitely.
  • Major penalties may be subject to game misconduct penalty and possible suspension.
    • Any player who receives a major penalty + game misconduct shall be disqualified for the remainder of that game, as well as a possible suspension.
    • Players receiving three major penalties in a season will be reviewed for possible additional suspension and/or expulsion from the league.
  • Any player that illegally plays while under suspension will be removed from that team’s roster. The offending team will be assessed a forfeit loss for any game with an illegal/suspended player on the ice.
  • When assessing misconduct penalties, officials may follow USA Hockey rule 601 (a). Any player who challenges or disputes the rulings of any Official, or endeavors to incite an opponent (including taunting) or create a disturbance during a game shall be assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct (2 mins.). Any further dispute by the same player will result in either an10-minute misconduct or a game misconduct penalty being assessed.
  • Any player who is given a gross misconduct/match penalty will be suspended until a hearing can be held according to USA Hockey rules. The suspension will carry over to other USA Hockey sanctioned functions, such as youth hockey coaching, until the outcome of the hearing. The hearing will determine suspensions and other discipline.
  • HOUSE Match Penalty: if a situation is determined to be appropriately handled “in-house,” rather than registering a formal match penalty with USA Hockey, the team captains and referees will be interviewed by the league director to determine league discipline and suspension time (typically a minimum of three games).
  • League suspensions and/or expulsions will be given to any player who intentionally tries to injure an opponent.
  • Foul language and profanity -This is a family facility. Officials may eject any player or spectator for threatening, abusive, or excessively vulgar language at any point during a game.
    • This also applies to vulgar gestures and body language.
    • Absolutely no use of profanity towards opponents or officials will be tolerated! Officials may give any player an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for using profanity or obscene language/gestures aimed at opposing players or at the officials. This includes racial/ethnic slurs and slurs related to gender or sexual orientation.
    • If any player threatens or verbally abuses an official, the official may immediately assess a game misconduct.
    • Bench minor: will be issued for any team’s player(s) committing the following infractions from the bench – abusive language, excessive vulgarity, throwing objects onto the playing surface.
  • DO NOT confront the officials for any reason.
    • Any physical abuse of an official will result in permanent expulsion from participating in the PAL.
    • Officials may eject any player at any time for using threatening or verbally abusive language.
    • Do not ask the official ‘for his name’ if you have an issue regarding a call or a game outcome. All games are tracked and officials are assigned. Managers/Captains - Report any problems to the league director for a resolution.
  • All spectators must adhere to good sportsmanship guidelines. Any spectator using excessively foul language or body language towards the opposing team’s players, other fans, or officials or who engage in disruptive or threatening behavior will be asked to leave the facility. Refusal to leave the facility will result in a penalty towards the team with whom they are associated. Game play will not resume until the offending spectator(s) has left the facility.
  • Any dual rostered player serving a suspension within a particular division may be prohibited from playing any games within any other division of the PAL until the original suspension is complete.
  • Absolutely no refunds will be given to players who are suspended or expelled from league play.

13. Playoffs

  • Teams are responsible for their own pucks for warm-ups and games.
  • Any team that forfeits multiple regular season games could be disqualified from post-season competition.
  • Captains will receive an email with the team’s official roster that was finalized with each team on the roster freeze date.
  • Other than an emergency substitute goaltender, you may only field players from this roster.
  • Players rostered on more than one team in the same division must declare a primary team for playoffs.
  • They may play for both teams as long as both teams do not play each other.
  • The team captain of the primary team should send an email to the league director and copy the other captain regarding this.
  • It is not necessary to declare a primary team if dual-rostered players are in different leagues (for example: Lower C/35+).

Substitute Players

  • Please note that other than a goaltender, no substitute players may be used for the playoffs.
  • However, if a team will not have enough players for a playoff game and thereby need to forfeit, and the opposing team wishes to play an actual game rather than win by forfeit, the league director may allow for substitute players to be used that are mutually agreeable to both captains.
  • Substitute Goaltenders must be from the Sub list or from a team that plays in one of the divisions here at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
  • Substitute goaltenders are permitted only when the team’s regular goalie is not available.
  • As a courtesy, the team using the sub goalie should notify the opposing captain and league director.
  • Note: not every free agent goalie will necessarily have received an eligibility sticker (it is possible someone did not receive a call-up or that he/she was unavailable for a game invited to as a sub). It is your responsibility to be sure your substitute has a sticker.
  • Any team caught with an illegal/non-rostered player skating during the playoffs shall forfeit that game & be eliminated from further playoff contention. Any player not listed on that team’s roster, or who does not have complete paperwork on file is considered ineligible/illegal.
  • If any playoff game should end in a tie, a sudden death, 5:00, 4-on-4 overtime shall be played. If neither team scores in the overtime session, a best of three shootout will follow.
  • If still tied, a single player 1v1 sudden death shootout will be held until a winner is determined.
    • No player may take a second shot in playoff shoot-outs until all players on the bench have had the opportunity to shoot.
  • Each team is permitted one timeout of one minute length per game in playoffs.
  • There are no time-outs allowed in overtime, even if a team did not use its one allotted time out during regulation.
  • Stop Clock: when the score is within 2 goals in the third period, with two minutes or less remaining, the game will have a stop clock. The losing team will designate a player to run the clock. When the score extends beyond a 2 goal differential, or is tied, the time will revert to running clock.
    • The opposing team may place a player in the clock booth, or monitor the clock operation from the bench.
    • On-ice officials should also monitor clock operation from the ice.
  • Suspensions: Any player receiving a suspension in a playoff game will serve the suspension during playoffs. 
    • If the player’s team is eliminated or the number of games suspended exceeds the number of playoff games the player’s team qualifies for, the suspension will be served in the following season.
    • Any player serving a suspension from the regular season will serve the suspension during playoffs. If the player’s team is eliminated or the number of games suspended exceeds the number of playoff games the player’s team qualifies for, the suspension will be served in the following season
  • All penalties resulting in ejection or suspension during the playoffs will be subject to review regarding the player’s status for the remainder of the playoffs, as well as impact a player’s eligibility for the following season.
  • Any team that wins a regular season or league championship in two consecutive seasons may be required to move up to the next level.
  • Seeding
    • Two teams tied in points = head to head, most wins, fewest goals against, coin toss.
    • Three or more teams tied = procedure will follow the above protocol, with the first goal to eliminate the lowest team and ‘start over’ with two teams.

15. General

  • Play smart
  • Play safe
  • Respect the officials
  • Respect your opponents
  • Have fun!

APPENDIX : Eligibility Helmet Stickers

Once Eligibility Stickers have been distributed to a majority of players on all teams, referees will be instructed to regularly check for eligibility stickers

  • We have been placing them on helmets in the area behind the right ear.
  • Goalie helmets may have a sticker on the back-of-head portion.


  • If a ref discovers a player without a Helmet Sticker, the player will serve a 2 minute penalty, then be ejected from the game.
  • The ref will check every player on the offending team and each player without a Helmet Sticker will serve successive 2 minute penalties, plus an ejection from the game.
  • Total successive penalty minutes will be assessed and players without stickers will be sent to the locker rooms.
  • EXAMPLE: a team has 4 players without stickers: there will be 8 minutes of penalty time assessed in consecutive 2 minute penalties. All 4 players will exit the game and go to the locker room.
  • Ejected players are not permitted in the stands, rink or bench area to watch the remainder of the game – refer to section 7, “Ejected Players.”
  • The competitive integrity of our league, as well as each players’ USA Hockey membership rests on the Eligibility Sticker system. Teams should inform the referees if an opposing player does not have an eligibility sticker.


  • This rule will not be in effect during playoffs.
  • The forfeit rule will be in place for playoffs.
  • There is no reason for any player to be without an Eligibility Sticker during playoffs.
  • New helmets, alternate helmets, borrowed helmets – whatever excuse can be imagined, there is not an excuse for not having an eligibility sticker.
  • Captains should be certain all players have an eligibility sticker for playoffs.
  • Players without stickers will be considered illegal and cause their team to forfeit.