Ringette is played by teams consisting of 9 to 18 players, with 6 players from each team on the ice at one time (five skaters and one goaltender). Games consist of 2 equal halves (15 - 18 minutes in length).
Players use straight sticks to pass, carry and shoot a blue round rubber ring, with the object being to put the ring in the opposing team’s net.
There are two on-ice officials (referees) for each game, except for the bunny division where there is one.
Intentional body contact is not allowed.
Team play and participation are encouraged by the requirement for players to pass the ring over each of the two blue lines (the same player may not touch the ring on both sides of the blue line, or carry it over the blue line).
To start play a FREE PASS occurs. The ring is placed in the centre of the half of the free pass circle. Only one player is permitted in the free pass circle, and that player has 5 seconds (after the whistle) to pass the ring out of the circle.
In ringette you may not make a TWO BLUE LINE PASS. That means that the ring may NOT be passed to a teammate directly from one end zone to the other end zone.
Except during goaltender substitution, a maximum of three skaters from each team is permitted in the restricted area in each end zone (first 3 in). The end zone is the area from the FREE PLAY LINE to the end boards.
In Ringette, only the goaltender is allowed in the GOAL CREASE area. A defending zone free pass is replaced by a GOALIE RING. The goalkeeper must put the ring into play within 5 seconds of the whistle (by either passing the ring out with the goal stick or tossing the ring).
A goal is scored if the ENTIRE ring is across the ENTIRE goal line. The goal is nullified if the attacking player or their stick enters the goal crease before the ring crosses the goal line.
Each team is allowed one time-out (30 seconds) per game.
When two or more opposing players place their sticks in the ring and gain joint control, play is stopped if the ring is immovable. This is called SECOND CONTROL. The ring is awarded (free pass or goalie ring) to the team gaining second control.
Most penalties assessed in Ringette are MINOR PENALTIES, which are two minutes in length. Minor penalties end if a goal is scored against the penalized team while that team is short handed. (If both teams have a penalty, then they are at equal strength and a goal would not end either penalty). An UNSPORTSMANLIKE penalty is two minutes fully served (even if goal(s) are scored with the two minutes).
A MAJOR penalty is four minutes, fully served. A MISCONDUCT penalty to a player means game ejection and a two minute unsportsmanlike penalty is served by a teammate. A MATCH penalty means game ejection, and in some tournaments, suspension from all subsequent tournament games.