Rules and Regulations

NCFHA plays and abides by modified FIH International Rules 2015

Where a green card is issued, the offending player shall be suspended from the game for two (2) minutes. During the period of suspension, the team shall play with one less player. The offending player must leave the field immediately.
If the suspension time is completed between the awarding and taking of a penalty corner, or during the taking of a penalty corner, the player MUST wait until the penalty corner is over before returning to play.

Until the ball has been played, no attacker other than the one taking the push from the back-line is permitted to enter the circle and no defender is permitted to cross the back-line or center-line.
a. For any offence of this rule by a defender other than the goalkeeper, the offending player shall be required to go beyond the center-line and cannot be replaced by another defender.
b. For any offence of this rule by a defending goalkeeper, the defending team defends the penalty corner with one less player.
c. For an offence of this rule by an attacker who enters the circle before the ball is played, the offending player(s) shall be required to go beyond the center-line.
d. The player who pushes the ball from the back-line must not feint at playing the ball. For an offence of this rule the offending player shall be replaced by another attacker and must go to the center-line.
e. Umpires must insure that the penalty corner is set properly before allowing the insertion (a foot accidentally placed on the line and not corrected by the umpire in advance of the insertion will not constitute sending a player to the center-line).
f. For ANY necessity to restart a penalty corner due to an early break into the circle or a feint by the inserter, someone MUST go to the center-line.
g. When multiple players break into the circle prior to the insertion, one and only one player entered the circle first. The umpire must make a decision and send only one player, the player who entered the circle first, to the center-line.
h. When a player is sent to the center-line, he or she may come back into the
half of the pitch in which the penalty corner is taking place after the ball
has been inserted.
All the consequences above apply only for the original and re-taken penalty corner.

The way a goal is scored is amended; it now includes what is sometimes referred to as an “own goal”; that is, a goal can now be scored after it has been touched in the circle by either an attacker or a defender.
The rule now reads: A goal is scored when:

– the ball is played by an attacker, or touches the stick or body of a defender, within the circle
– after either of these actions, the ball does not travel outside the circle before passing completely over the goal-line and under the cross-bar.

The ball may now be raised intentionally and directly using a push, flick or scoop action; this action must be conducted safely. This is essentially an evolution of the self-pass. By having the option to raise the ball immediately (without having first to do a “self pass”), opposing players will not have had the opportunity to get closer than five meters; a raised ball should be safer.
(Note that the ball still must not be raised intentionally using a hit)

NCFHA games times are 25 minute halves with 5 minute halftimes with the exception of playoff games which are 35 minute halves with 5 minute halftimes..

Mouthguards are required at all times by all players (USFHA insurance modification). FIH doesn’t require mouthguards.

A team with 10 or fewer players can elect to forfeit the game by notifying the other team BEFORE the game begins or at HALF TIME. If a team notifies its opponent of its decision to forfeit BEFORE the game has started, the score shall be a 0-3 loss for the forfeiting team. If a team notifies its opponent of its decision to forfeit at HALF TIME, and if the NON-FORFEITING TEAM HAS THREE OR MORE GOALS, the score shall stand as the final score.
Otherwise if THE NON-FORFEITING TEAM HAS LESS THAN THREE GOALS, the final score shall be 0-3. Any goals and assists made up to the point of the forfeit will be recorded in the individual stats.

Special Rules in relation to goalies .

(a)    In the event that rostered goal keepers notify their captain before game day that they will not attend the following game, the captain of the team may solicit any goalie on another roster to play in that designated game.

(b)   In the event one team’s rostered goalie is a no-show on game day, or no goalie was successfully solicited prior to game day, then that team Captain may solicit any available goal keeper for that game.

(c)    In the event neither team has a goalie show on game day, or neither captain successfully solicited a goalie in advance, then on game day, if only one willing league goalie is available, the she may be “shared” between teams at the agreement of the team captains.

(d)   Any designated league field player may play as a fully equipped goalie for any team.
Goalkeeper Not Required
The requirement to have a goalkeeper on the pitch at all times during play has been modified. The change permits teams more flexibility about what sort of goalkeeping option to adopt. It also takes account of the possibility that a team does not have a fully-equipped goalkeeper available or simply wishes to play only with field players.
Here are the options:

  • Option 1:  Play with a traditional goalkeeper. She MUST WEAR a shirt/garment that is different in color from that of both teams; protective equipment comprised of at least headgear and MAY WEAR body, upper arm, elbow, forearm, hand and thigh protectors, throat protector; leg guards and kickers; gloves and blockers for hand protection.
  • Option 2:  Play with field player who is the designated goalkeeper (aka kicking back). In this scenario, the field player must wear a shirt/garment that is a different color from that of both teams, must wear a helmet on penalty corners and penalty strokes, and can only play the ball outside the 23 meter (25-yard) area if their helmet has been removed.
  • Option 3:  Play with 11 field players. When utilizing this course of action, no player on the field has goalkeeper privileges and if a penalty corner or penalty stroke occurs, the defender may only use their stick to defend the goal.

Face Protection Guidance
Field players are increasingly wearing face protection especially when defending a penalty corner. Per FIH Rules of Hockey, athletes must have a medical reason for wearing approved eye protection. USA Field Hockey has revised this rule such that athletes have the option to wear approved protective face/eyewear should they so choose at USA  Field Hockey membership and developmental tournaments/events/programs. Face, head or eye protection that would be legal for competition under the rules must meet one of  the following criteria and must be approved for field hockey under ASTM standards:


Conduct of Play for Goalkeepers
Goalkeepers MAY swing their arm to rebound the ball into space. This rebound can be through a space in the circle or it can be a bat/swat of the ball up and over the crowded area. Under prior guidelines a goalkeeper, had to use the momentum of the ball to put a skill on the ball. The speed of the ball combined with the rebound of the equipment, determined the skill the goalkeeper could use. When officiating under the new guidelines, umpires should ask, “is it dangerous?” or did the goalkeeper deliberately swat the ball over the end line as opposed to ‘deflecting’ it over when making a call. If the rebound is dangerous or deliberately played over the end line, then a penalty corner must be awarded.

Goalkeepers MAY, when saving a goal, use hands to propel the ball, in a “close control” manner, away from an attacker. Under *prior* rules, this action was considered illegal and was penalized with a penalty stroke.

Goalkeepers MAY NOT play outside of their 23-meter line (25-yard line) area, except when taking a penalty stroke.


Teams by standings at end of regular season play. 35 minute halves; followed by penalty strokes if game is tied at end of regulation.

Playoff games consist of two 35min periods with a 5min halftime. The following penalty stroke procedure shall be used if the score is tied at the end of regulation play.

1. A coin toss will give a team the choice to attack or defend. The lower seeded team is designated as the “VISITOR” and shall call the coin toss.

2. Five players from each team shall take a penalty stroke alternately against the same goalkeeper from the opposing team. The team awarded the highest number of goals shall be determined the winner. Once the stroke procedure is decisive, the game shall be complete and no more strokes need to be taken.

3. If no decision is reached after the 1st series of strokes, a sudden victory procedure shall be used to break the tie. This 2nd series of strokes must be taken by the same players but the order may be changed. The goalkeeper that defended in the 1st series will defend second in the second set. The first team awarded more goals than its opponent after an equal number of strokes shall be the winner.

4. A total of one goal is awarded for the strokes.

Penalty Strokes Reminders:
1. The player taking the stroke must stand behind and within playing distance of the ball before beginning the stroke. Player can take more than one step.
2. The player defending the stroke must stand with both feet on the goal-line and must not leave the goal-line or move either foot until the ball has been played.
3. The whistle is blown when the player taking the stroke and the player defending it are in position. There is no verbal exchange with the umpire.

Contact Umpires Chair