USA Field Hockey

All questions, unless otherwise indicated, are answered by Steve Horgan, our nation's rules interpreter. If you have a question, please look through the questions that have already been answered. If your question hasn't been asked, please use this form to submit your question.



Q 2013-8-28: I saw a player wearing a set of goggles that were for lacrosse, they only covered half of what field hockey goggles cover. These were the wire cage type and covered the top of the nose and the top of the eyes, there was no protection for the bottom of the eye or cheeks. Are these legal? Also I saw a flyer once of the goggles that were and were not legal, do you have something like that or could you tell me where I could find one?   

A: Goggles for field hockey must be have the ASTM2713 standard designation. Lacrosse goggles have an ASTM803 designation. 

If the goggles look inappropriate, just like a stick, you as the umpire have the responsibility to check it, even though the coach verified all players are equipped properly.


2013-2-19: In rules regarding a goalie, I wanted to know if a goalie is allowed to pass the half-way line if he/she takes certain equipment off, (ie: helmet, leg pads, w/e) I know I can play the ball with my stick outside the circle, but was told I can't pass mid field due to equipment restrictions.

A: The Rules of Indoor Hockey do not allow a goalkeeper to cross the center-line. A player who is not dressed as a goalkeeper is allowed to cross the center-line.

Q 2011-10-25: Can a player with a hard cast on her wrist play in a game without any additional padding as long as the medical staff deems it safe for her to play?

A: The issue is not whether the medical staff has determined that it is safe for the injured player, but others who may come into incidental contact with the cast. Any hard covering must be covered by a minimum of ½" padding in its entirety.

[EDITOR: According to rules governing NFHS games, hard and unyielding items (guards, casts, braces, etc.) on the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm or shoulder must be padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than ½" thick. Knee and ankle braces which are unaltered from the manufacturer's original design/production do not require any additional padding. The umpire shall not require protective devices worn on the face to be covered or padded if a sharp edge or point is exposed.]


Q 2011-10-24: My daughter was told by the ref that she could not wear the cage type goggles in a college game. It was raining and the approved goggles fogged up. Can you provide me with a type of goggle that is approved at the college level that will not fog up in the rain. She had a serious eye injury at festival one year and we feel it it is essential that she always wear goggles. Also why are cage type goggles not approved for college play?

A: Wire-frame/cage type goggles are illegal based on the following passage from the Rules of Hockey.

"Players are permitted to wear throughout a match for a smooth preferably transparent or white but otherwise single coloured face mask which closely fits the face, soft protective head-covering or eye protection in the form of plastic goggles (ie goggles with a soft-covered frame and plastic lenses;) the medical reasons must be assessed by an appropriate authority and the player concerned must understand the possible implications of playing with the medical condition."

Q 2011-10-24: Are goalkeepers allowed to use lacrosse helmets,the bill on them look as if could be a hazard to other players. What is your view on this? I know all fh goalie helmets purchased do not have a bill on them.

A: Helmets worn by goalkeepers in field hockey may not have any dangerous protrusions and should be manufactured for field hockey...not lacrosse.


Q 2011-09-15: I have questions regarding a breast cancer awareness game we are putting together. Would our team be able to wear pink socks for the game? Would we be able to purchase pink game balls and use them?

A: Please check with your conference before doing anything. Wearing pink socks should not be a problem as long as they are contrasting to the other team. Using pink hockey balls should not be a problem as long as they contrast with the playing surface. Pink socks and pink hockey balls will not work.


Q: Goalkeepers must wear a shirt that's in contrast to the other team so what do you do when both goalkeepers are wearing the same shirt?

A: The goalkeepers need only wear a shirt that is in contrast with the field players. In short, the opposing goalkeepers can be wearing matching shirts, even with identical numbers.


Q: I am preparing to buy new uniforms for my team and want to be clear on what is legal. Our school colors are X and Y. For away uniforms, I would like to purchase X-color tops, white kilts and X-color socks. Neither the Rules of Hockey nor the NCAA modifications to the Rules of Hockey say anything about kilt colors. Can they be white for away teams?

A: There is no article In the NCAA modifications that addresses the shorts or kilt so the color selection is not regulated.


Q: Also, for cold games, the players have navy long sleeves to go under their tops (all the same color).

A: Exposed gear worn under the game uniform by the designated home team must be light (e.g. white gear with yellow game shirts) and exposed gear worn under the game uniform by the designated away team must be dark (e.g. black gear with navy game shirts). Exposed gear worn under the game uniform must be identical for all players.


Q: My 7th grade daughter will begin her scholastic field hockey career next month. She wears prescription glasses. What are her options for eyewear?

A: Except that the eyewear can't pose a danger to anyone, there are no field hockey rules, at any level, that prohibit athletes from wearing corrective eyewear. We suggest that you consult with the state association or local umpiring board as the laws and requirements for the high school level do vary from state to state.


Q: Can you review what kind of face protection or goggles are allowed in indoor hockey games and, is it true that after a penalty corner the defenders have to remove their masks?

A: In the USA, players are allowed to continue wearing face protection/goggles at any time (even after a penalty corner) and they do not need a medial reason to wear facial protection/goggles. However, not all goggles and face protection are allowed.

Cage-type goggles are ILLEGAL. Here are images of cage-type goggles...


In addition, this type of face mask is illegal because of the way it protrudes from the face...
Htk3 Pm Side Htk3 Pm Image

The following are examples of LEGAL goggles/face protection...


Q: My partner and I were about to umpire an NCAA night game, the visiting team says that they don't want to use orange hockey balls the home team is preparing to use. The home teams says they can't switch to white saying they only have orange. The visiting team produces six brand new white hockey balls. The home team refused to switch to white, insisting on using orange. Eventually, the visiting team agreed to play the game using orange hockey balls. What should we have done?

A: Rule 4.8 states: "The ball is spherical, hard and white (or an agreed colour which contrasts with the playing surface)." This Rule is not modified by the NCAA so, if the teams can't agree, the color is white. Because the visiting team eventually agreed, there wasn't anything you had to do differently.


Q: Is there any rule for the composition of hockey stick? Is fully carbon fiber of molded stick allowed in play?

The composition requirements of the stick are exactly the same in the Rules of Hockey and the Rules of Indoor Hockey and there is no difference in stick requirements/limitations in the 2009 or the 2011 rule sets. The stick may be made of or contain any material other than metal or metallic components.