Sunday Ball League Playing Rules, Standards of Play

and Standings and Playoff Format

Adopted August 16, 2018

1. Playing Rules and Amendments


The ECRHL Sunday Ball League shall abide by the USA Roller Sports Official Rules of Inline Hockey 2012-2014 Edition, except where amended below:


Rule 3.1 Players’ Benches – Only players appearing on the team roster may occupy the players’ bench.


Rule 5.1 Eligible Players - A team season roster shall be composed of a maximum of eighteen (18) players. For the purposes of these playing rules, any reference to “player” shall refer to both skaters and goalkeepers.


All player are required to complete the registration and waiver process set forth by Groton Parks and Recreation and the team representative must report any additions to the team roster to the Commissioner at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to their next scheduled game, otherwise, they are ineligible to play.


Once a player has appeared in one (1) game for a team, they cannot be removed from the team’s roster for the balance of the season. Furthermore, this player is committed to this team and cannot change teams without the approval of the Commissioner, who will evaluate each request to change teams on a case by case basis and make judgement based upon the rules of the league, sprit of competition, and fairness to all parties involved.

A team game roster shall be composed of a maximum of thirteen (13) players.


For a regular season game, a team must be represented on the game roster by a minimum of three (3) players from their season roster to count as an official game; otherwise the game will be considered forfeited.


For a maximum of two (2) regular season games, if a team has at least three (3) season roster players and less than seven (7) on their game roster, they may acquire substitute players from within the league, not to exceed a maximum of seven (7) total players on the game roster. Substitute players must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the team representatives and league commissioner and at least ten (10) minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the game. If a rostered player arrives during the course of play, a substitute player must be removed for the rostered player to enter the game.


When a team has completed seven (7) regular season games, no additions or changes can be made their season roster.


A team roster may not contain any more than two (2) players who have played in any NCAA or professional ice or roller (inline) hockey division or league within the previous two (2) years to the start of the season. 


Any team who forfeits two (2) regular season games in a season will forfeit all remaining regular season and playoff games.


Players on the team’s playoff game roster, excluding goaltenders, must be on the team’s season roster and played in a minimum of three (3) of the team’s regular season games.


Goalkeepers on the team’s playoff roster must have played in a minimum of three (3) regular season games within the same league/division.

Rule 5.2 Ineligible Players – If it is discovered after the conclusion of a game that a team used an ineligible player, the game shall be forfeited, but all game statistics shall be counted, and the team representative shall serve a one (1) game suspension.

Rule 5.3 Goalkeeper – A team is not required to keep a substitute goalkeeper on their bench. Registered goalkeepers may be borrowed from the same division/league. 

Rule 9.1 Team Uniform - All players of each team shall be dressed uniformly with identical colored, patterned, and/or striped long-sleeve jerseys designed for ice or roller hockey. Although recommended, it is not required to have matching jersey crests or number fonts. 

Players in violation of this rule shall not be permitted to play. A one (1) time reprieve to this rule, only to be used during the regular season, shall be permitted to each team per season. This will permit any player out of uniform to wear a similar base colored jersey, approved by the game officials.

If a jersey color conflict exists between competing teams as ruled by the Commissioner or game officials, special arrangements shall be allowed and shall not require the use of the team’s reprieve. In a dispute, it shall be the responsibility of the away team to change its jerseys. Alternate jerseys for this situation must have a similar base color.


Rule 9.2 Numbers - Each player listed in the line-up of each team shall wear an individual permanent identifying number at least eight inches (8’’) high on the back of his sweater. Only one member of the same team will be permitted to wear each individual number. Sweater numbers such as ½ (fractions), .05 (decimals), 101 (three digit) are not permitted.


Rule 9.5 Protective Equipment - All protective equipment, except gloves, headgear, knee/shinguards and goalkeepers’ leg pads, must be worn under the uniform. Knee/shinguards should be worn under the uniform. Should it be brought to the attention of the Referee that a player is wearing, for example, an elbow pad that is not covered by his jersey, he shall instruct the player to return to the players’ bench to cover up the pad and shall not be allowed to return until the equipment has been fixed and play has resumed. A second violation by the same player would result in a minor penalty being assessed.


If a player opts to wear knee/shinguards on the outside of the uniform and, during the course of play, the knee/shinguard becomes partially or fully disconnected from the player’s leg, a minor penalty shall be imposed for delay of game. This rule shall not be applied when the violation is caused by a penalized act of an opposing player.


(The above shall also amend Rules 12.1 and 62.2 as it applies.)


Rule 9.6 Dangerous Equipment – Video and/or audio recording devices shall not be mounted or attached in any way to any player or goalkeeper which includes the stick, skates helmet, clothing or protective equipment.


Rule 10.1 Player’s Stick – Sticks shall be in good playing condition with no sharp edges or splinters. Blades attached to a stick by a screw are not permitted.

Rule 10.3 Broken Stick – A player who breaks their stick may skate with the stick immediately and directly to his/her player’s bench, provided that the player does not participate in play.


Rule 11.1 Goalkeeper’s Equipment – Goalkeepers are not required to wear skates.


Rule 12 Illegal Equipment – All skates must have a wheel in each wheel opening. Any player who enters the playing surface with one or more missing wheels shall be issued a warning at the next stoppage of play. A second violation of this rule would result in a minor penalty being assessed. If a player loses a wheel during play, they may continue, but must be substituted for at the next stoppage of play.


Rule 13 Puck – For the Sunday Ball League, a hockey ball provided by the ECRHL will be used. Any reference to “puck” in the USARS rulebook shall be interpreted as “ball”.


Rule 60 Delaying the Game - When any player of a team that is shorthanded, with both of their skates inside their defending zone, shoots or bats (using his hand or his stick) the puck/ball directly (non-deflected) out of the playing surface, except where there is no glass, the penalty clock shall immediately stop and shall not commence until the ensuing faceoff. When the puck is shot into the players’ bench, the clock stoppage will not apply. When the puck is shot over the glass ‘behind’ the players’ bench, the clock stoppage will be assessed. When the puck goes out of the playing area directly off a face-off, no clock stoppage shall be assessed.


Rule 60.5 Delaying the Game - Penalty Shot - If the goal post is deliberately displaced by a goalkeeper or player during the course of a “breakaway,” a penalty shot will be awarded to the non-offending team, which shot shall be taken by the player last in possession of the puck.


If by reason of insufficient time in the regular playing time or by reason of penalties already imposed, the minor penalty assessed to a player for deliberately displacing his own goal post cannot be served in its entirety within the regular playing time of the game or at any time in overtime, a penalty shot shall be awarded against the offending team.


Rule 70.2 Refusing to Start Play Procedure – Team on Rink – If, when one team is on the rink, the opposing team, for any reason, is unable to place a minimum of four (4) skaters and a goalie on the rink at the scheduled start time, the Referee shall warn the Captain and allow the team thirty (30) seconds to place four (4) skaters and a goalie on the rink. If, at the end of that time, the team is unable or refuses to place four (4) skaters and a goalie on the rink, the Referee shall impose a bench minor penalty for delay of game. If, after five (5) minutes, following the scheduled start of the game, the team is unable to place (3) skaters and a goalie on the rink and one (1) player to serve the aforementioned delay of game penalty, a forfeit shall be declared.


Note: Rule 63.1 – Forfeit of Game – In the event that a Club is unable to commence the game or at any point play with the minimum of four (4) skaters and one (1) goalkeeper, or should a Club fail to comply with a provision of the USARS or local league’s constitution, by-laws, resolutions, rules or regulations affecting the playing of the game, the Referee shall, if so directed by the USARS or local league directors, declare the game forfeited and the non-offending Club the winner.


Rule 74.1 Game Timing – The time allowed for an official ECRHL Sunday Ball League game shall be three (3) fifteen-minute running time periods of play with a one minute rest intermission between periods. If the goal differential is one (1) or two (2) goals with less than two (2) minutes to play in the 3rd period, the clock shall be stopped at all stoppages of play. If the game is tied with less than thirty (30) seconds to play in the 3rd period, the clock shall be stopped at all stoppages of play.


The league commissioner is empowered to make changes to intermission timing and add official timeouts during games if game weather conditions warrant, such as high temperatures and or humidity.


Rule 79.1 Overtime – For regular season games, a three (3) minute sudden-death overtime period shall commence immediately following the conclusion of the 3rd period of a tied game. Teams will not change ends, and no rest period shall be permitted. With less than thirty (30) seconds to play in overtime, the clock shall be stopped at all stoppages of play.


Rule 79.1 Overtime – For playoff games, a fifteen (15) minute sudden-death overtime period shall commence following a one (1) minute rest period. Teams will change ends for the first overtime period. If no team has scored after fifteen (15) minutes, another one (1) minute rest shall commence, the teams shall change ends, and begin another fifteen (15) minute sudden-death playoff. This shall continue until a winner is determined.


Rule 81.2 Choice of Ends – Does not apply to ECRHL league play.


Rule 81.7 Official Game – In the event that a regular season game cannot be played to its scheduled conclusion due to weather, darkness, or any other factor as ruled by the game officials or league commissioner, it shall be considered official and completed after the conclusion of two (2) periods of play or a goal differential of seven (7) goals. Any game suspended prior to the completion of two (2) periods of play shall be reattempted once. A second failure to complete the game that does not reach the completion of two (2) periods shall be ruled a cancelled game, with no team awarded a win.



2. Rules Emphasis


The ECRHL shall hold a strict standard in regards to the following rules:


Rule 21 Match Penalty – Any player receiving a match penalty shall be subject to a minimum five (5) game suspension, including regular season, playoff games, and future participation in ECRHL leagues.


Rule 38 Abuse of Officials - General Description - A player, goalkeeper, Coach or non-playing Club official shall not challenge or dispute the rulings of an official before, during, or after a game. A player, goalkeeper, Coach or non-playing Club official shall not display unsportsmanlike conduct including, but not limited to, obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures, comments of a personal nature intended to degrade an official, or persist in disputing a ruling after being told to stop or after being penalized for such behavior.


Rule 44.8 Fighting – Any player subject to a major penalty and game misconduct for fighting is subject to a minimum three (3) game suspension, including regular season, playoff games, and future participation in ECRHL leagues.


Rule 44.7 Instigator – Any player assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, a misconduct, and a game misconduct shall be subject to a minimum four (4) game suspension including regular season, playoff games, and future participation in ECRHL leagues.



3. Standards of Play


The ECRHL shall promote fair play and competition within the established rules. An emphasis will be placed on skating, puck/ball possession, and the proper use of the body to establish position and a competitive advantage.


Body Contact - Hockey, by nature, is a contact sport. Body contact is permitted in the normal process of playing the puck/ball provided there has been no overt hip, shoulder or arm contact to physically force the opponent off the puck/ball.


Hooking  - A player cannot use his/her stick against an opponent’s body (puck/ball carrier or non-puck/ball carrier) to gain a positional advantage. Examples include:

    • tugs or pulls on the body, arms or hands of the opponent which allows for the space between the players to diminish 
    • placing the stick in front of the opponent’s body and locking on – impeding the opponent’s progress or causing a loss of balance. 
    • stick on the hand/arm that takes away the ability for the opponent to pass or shoot the puck/ball with a normal amount of force

Tripping -  A player cannot use his/her stick on the legs or feet of an opponent in a manner that would cause a loss of balance or for them to trip or fall. Examples include:

    • placing the stick in front of the opponent’s legs for the purpose of impeding progress, even if on the ice, with no effort to legally play the puck
    • placing the stick between the legs of the opponent (can opener/corkscrew) that causes a loss of balance or impedes the progress of the opponent.

Holding -  A player cannot wrap his/her arms around an opponent or use a free hand to clutch, grab or hold the stick, jersey or body on the opponent in a manner that impedes their progress. Examples include:

    • wrapping one or both arms around the opponent along the boards in a manner that pins them against the boards and prevents them from playing the puck or skating 
    • grabbing the opponent’s body, stick or sweater with one or both hands
      - using a free arm/hand to restrain or impede the opponent’s progress

Interference - A player cannot use his/her body (“pick” or “block”) to impede the progress of an opponent with no effort to play the puck, maintain normal foot speed or established skating lane. Examples include:

    • intentionally playing the body of an opponent who does not have possession or possession and control of the puck/ball. 
    • using the body to establish a ”pick” or “block” that prevents an opponent from being able to chase a puck carrier 
    • reducing foot speed or changing an established skating lane for the purpose of impeding an opponent from being able to chase a puck carrier

Allowed Actions

  • a player is entitled to the surface he/she occupies as long as they are able to maintain their own foot speed and body position between opponent and puck/ball.
  • players are allowed to compete for body position using their strength and balance in front of the goal or along the boards

Slashing - The use of the stick will be limited to only playing the puck/ball. Any stick contact, as a result of a slashing motion, to the hands/ arms or body of the opponent will be strictly penalized. In addition, hard slashes to the upper portion of the stick (just below the hands) of an opponent, with no attempt to legally play the puck/ball, shall also be penalized.



4. League Standings and Playoff Format


For regular season games, 2 points shall be awarded for a win and 1 point for a shootout loss. If teams are tied in the standings, the following criteria shall be used to break the tie:


  1. Winner of season series between teams in question. (Head-to-head)*
  2. Most total wins.
  3. Least penalty minutes
  4. Least goals against
  5. Most goals for
  6. Coin Toss


*The winner of a season series shall be the team who was awarded the most points during the series.


The playoff and number of teams for the playoffs shall be based on the number of total teams in a division or league:


For a league/division of 4 to 7 teams:


The top 4 teams in the standings qualify.


Game 1 – Seed 1 (Home) vs. Seed 4 (Away)

Game 2 – Seed 2 (Home) vs. Seed 3 (Away)

Game 3 – Highest Seed Winner (Home) vs. Lowest Seed Winner (Away)

For a league/division of 8 to 12 teams:


The top 6 teams in the standings qualify.


Game 1 – Seed 4 (Home) vs. Seed 5 (Away)

Game 2 – Seed 3 (Home) vs. Seed 6 (Away)

Game 3 -  Seed 1 (Home) vs. Winner of Game 1 (Away)

Game 4 – Seed 2 (Home) vs.  Winner of Game 2 (Away)

Game 5 -  Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4 (Highest ranked seed is Home)

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