It is the intention of the Delco School Hockey League (DSHL) and its member schools and school districts to foster an enjoyable and competitive sports environment for student boys and student girls from the first years of elementary education through the last year of middle school, utilizing the restricted populations of each school district. Other "in-house" and "travel" leagues may be best suited for some players' needs, and the DSHL can also be a league where those needs can be addressed but within the restrictive bounds of a "school" league. The DSHL is largely structured to increase the bonds among classmates, and can be a good place for the novice or the experienced player to hone their skills, but the league is not necessarily structured to accommodate either extreme level of ability.

An important goal of participating in this League is to provide continuity and a greater degree of competitiveness as these students enter the high school leagues. All officials and parents will be mindful that the level of performance in this League may vary at any and all grades due to the fact that teams are derived from the limited population of the respective school systems, and that a primary purpose of the league is to promote sportsmanship, school spirit, and a love of the game of ice hockey, not to achieve targeted outcomes or results.


Any school district or "club" using the name of a school district can enter teams into the League using players within its school system following the eligibility requirements listed below. Teams from the same school district will be handled by the League as a united "club", fielding elementary, middle school non-check (MSB), and middle school check (MSA) teams. Each club is required to announce to the League the name and contact information for a Club President and a Club Representative. These two individuals will represent the "club" and their team(s) in all League matters. Proxies can be assigned to specific meetings or temporary responsibilities, but the League may not be able to maintain communications with multiple persons within each club covering each and every issue or concern that arises throughout the season. There needs to be a simple and direct line of communication between the League and each club via a Club President and Representative. (A list of both club positions may be made available to all League reps to assist in inter-club communication.)


Elementary: This is one or two divisions of teams comprised of players who are in the kindergarten through fourth grade levels. Fifth grade girls may petition to "play down" in unlimited regular season elementary games and playoffs, and will receive written acceptance of the petition from the League Board (see Petition Process below). No other players can "play down". Capable fourth graders can petition to "play up" to the MSB level for unlimited regular season games. These players can also be used at both levels for playoff games

After an evaluation period, elementary teams may be divided into two divisions consisting of an upper performing "A" group and a lower performing "B" group. This separation will generally occur midway through the season, and allow for better competition and the chance for all teams to compete in separate playoffs. The division will only affect the list of teams that can be matched against each other for the remainder of the season. Game scores and totals will remain consistent throughout the season. There will be no "re-seeding".

Checking is not permitted in elementary games. Special penalties will be assessed for any contact above the shoulders (see Rules of Play below).

Middle School "Non-check (MSB)": This is a single division of teams comprised of players who are in the fifth and sixth grades. Seventh grade girls may petition to "play down", and will receive written acceptance of the petition from the League Board (see Internal Player Movement Process below). No other players can "play down". Capable sixth graders can petition to "play up" to the MSA level for unlimited regular season games. Players can be used at both levels for playoff games.

Checking is not permitted in MSB games. Special penalties will be assessed for any contact above the shoulders (see Rules of Play below).

Middle School "Check (MSA)": This is a single division of teams comprised of players who are in the seventh and eighth grades. No players of any gender in the eighth grade can petition to "play down" to the MSB level.

Eighth graders are encouraged to participate in practices for their junior varsity and varsity teams in their respective school districts. Seventh and eighth grade girls are encouraged to participate in practices, non-league and league games for girls' high school teams throughout the area, according to the high school Leagues' eligibility rules.

Checking is permitted in MSA games, but proper angling and lower body contact must be emphasized. Special penalties will be assessed for any contact above the shoulders. USA Hockey's rule book governs our rules of play, but with the approval of the League's Referee-in-Chief, the league may provide additional penalties and suspensions for various misconducts, extraordinary patterns of abusive and aggressive conduct or play, and ANY contact above the shoulders. Discretion and formal consideration of any such situation is the responsibility of the League Commissioner.

For those clubs who field two teams at one level (elementary, MSB, MSA), players CANNOT be moved within the level between the two teams during playoffs. Set rosters will need to be submitted prior to the beginning of the playoffs for those clubs that have two teams at one level.


A "team" will be recognized ONLY AFTER a club has submitted the names of ten (10) skaters and one (1) goalie. All players must be in the proper grade group and live in the club's school district. Only after such a list is submitted can a club petition to have a player "play up" or a girl player "play down". Goalie sharing rules described later (see Goalies below) is only applicable to teams that have been "recognized as an official team (as described in the first sentence). Goalie sharing is not available to teams that do not have their OWN goalie.

The petitioning process described below can be used to help you complete a properly populated roster for a team, not "build a team". All submitted forms will be carefully evaluated and then approved only under proper circumstances. The

League will always strive to steer clubs towards "purity". All petitions will be submitted to and ruled upon by the League Commissioner. A club can formally appeal any rejected petition to the League Board via the League President. One reconsideration will be conducted and then a final ruling on the petition will be issued by the Board.


Any player petitioning to play "up" to a "checking" level must complete a League Waiver which contains signature lines for the player's parent(s). Parent(s) may be required to sign a Waiver AT a League meeting. The purpose of the Waiver is to acknowledge the additional inherent risk in playing games at a different level, that all concerned are aware of the risk, and that all concerned enter into these situations with "eyes wide open" as USA Hockey has suggested.

The Club is also required to complete and submit a Petition Form along with the League Waiver.

All players petitioning to play at a different level may be evaluated during the first several games of the season by League officials. If it is determined that the player's impact on the level of play is not "too influential" or "too incapable", then the petitioning player will be permanently added to that "other" additional roster for the remainder of the season. The League reserves the right to rescind any ruling on a petition if conditions or circumstances justify a change in the original ruling.


Goalies are recognized as vital and unique players in ice hockey. Therefore, any team unable to field a goalie for a particular game may be permitted to utilize a goalie from any other team currently in the League from their own or lesser level. (So, an MSB team can utilize a goalie from any other MSB or elementary team in the league, but not a goalie from any MSA team).

The requesting team will complete the arrangements for the replacing goalie with any agreeable team, and then must receive written confirmation from the League Commissioner prior to the start of the affected game. The League Board does not intend to disallow any proper arrangement, but replacements need to be monitored to avoid disputes or confusion prior to the start of any game.

Goalies maintain portability throughout the season. However, no replacement goalie can play in two consecutive weekends of games for any team without approval from the Commissioner. Goalie issues must be handled individually and specifically by the Commissioner during the playoffs. Fielding a goalie at any time without written clearance from the Commissioner during the playoffs will subject that team to a forfeit of the applicable game and/or additional sanctions from the league.


Prior to the first game, all teams will be required to submit to the League Registrar one USA Hockey Roster AND one official DSHL Roster for each team playing in the League. If both rosters are not on file with the DSHL Registrar before the first game, the team will not be permitted to skate on the ice. Only players properly listed on a signed and accepted League Roster are permitted to play in League games. The League will work diligently with each club in order to have all rosters properly submitted prior to the start of the season. Submission of rosters will require the signature of the Club President or Club Representative. Clubs will also be required to submit the USA Hockey Roster once it is signed by the Atlantic District Registrar. Any and all additions to the USA Hockey Roster must also contain the Registrar's signature. Note that USA Hockey Rosters and DSHL Rosters are unalterable after December 31st.

Any and all adults who are on the bench or in the penalty box area MUST appear on the USA Hockey Roster, and can be listed as a coach or a team manager. A team that violates this rule will forfeit the applicable game (even if the game is completed). The violation can be verified by any on-ice or off-ice official or Board member. A scoresheet can only be signed by persons on the USA Hockey Roster to make the game official.

Any player listed on a roster must be a full time student at an officially recognized educational institution within the officially recognized school district. Players must attend the "feeder" elementary school(s) and "feeder" middle school(s) that lead to the high school within that school district. Any player who would normally attend such schools based on their physical home address but, in fact, attend a cyber, charter, parochial, or other school in or outside of their school district, are still eligible if the actual school attended does not have a comparable school team playing in this League or other similar nearby leagues.

The League Board reserves the right to request and require third party confirmation of proper enrollment at the applicable school or school district, and that each club and/or parent(s) be willing to assist in providing such confirmation. The player's address is their "normal" address. Non-custodial parents, grandparents, and other possible representatives of the paternal and/or maternal parent are not able to establish an "alternative" address for the player. Submission of an improper roster containing (an) ineligible player(s) may cause the affected team to forfeit all games for that season, and may initiate other sanctions as deemed necessary by the League Board.


The DSHL does not permit the use of players who do not reside in your district. The district is defined by state law based on property tax assessment and the legality of the district's school buses picking up a child at a specific address in order to transport them to a recognized district school. The board may hear any exceptional requests on this issue from year to year, but generally the use of such players has ended.


The DSHL does not provide a structure for the merger of two clubs in order to form a team(s). Generally, any attempt and request to do so must be done in writing prior to May 31st for the upcoming season. The request must show all details and arrangements that will be made between the two clubs, and is subject to board approval and a vote by the league membership. It is expected that such a merger is a temporary arrangement and thus is applicable for only one season - if approved.


The Delco School Hockey League will be guided by a Board of Members. Each Member will have one vote at each Board meeting and League meeting on all matters related to the League, with one Member being designated a special voter, their vote counting as two (2) at Board meetings in the case of a tie if Board membership is an even number.

The Board will meet regularly throughout the year, hold League meetings at least quarterly, hold Board meetings at least quarterly, record and maintain minutes of all meetings, and maintain financial and other formal records and documents.

Failure by a club's representative or authorized proxy to attend a League meeting may cause that club to lose voting rights in future meetings. The Board may make available and/or describe to all clubs, through recognized presidents, representatives, and coaches, all discussions and considerations that affect decisions and rulings concerning petitions, playoff formats, and rules of play. Members of the Board will be listed on the League website along with individual contact information.

Board Members will be elected to a two year term, effective until the first quarterly League meeting around the twenty-fourth month of holding the position. Elections will be held as necessary at each League meeting, with each club receiving one vote towards any nominated person. The nominee receiving the highest vote count will assume office. In case of a tie, each club will vote a second time for the nominees who received the highest but equal votes in the first vote. The Board may hold special elections to fill untimely vacancies as necessary.

Board Members will formally and timely respond to all issues presented in writing by any club president or club representative.

A designated Board member (Vice-president) will be responsible to establish, announce, and run all Board and League meetings. A designated Board member (President) will be responsible for appointing and removing persons assigned to the role of: referee-in-chief, scheduler, statistician, scorekeeper assigner, fundraiser, rink liaison, public relations director, webmaster, or any position established in order to run a proper and effective League. A designated Board member (Secretary) will coordinate all discussions and Board votes on issues presented by club officials, and then communicate the results of those votes.

A selected Board member (Treasurer) will preserve any assets of the League, maintain accurate records concerning all financial matters involving the League, and conduct all transactions with customers and vendors throughout the year. That selected Board member, with the advice and consent of the Board, will coordinate all financial transactions and relations with the host rink, and make available, when applicable, to the Board a current balance sheet, income statement, and subsidiary ledgers.

A selected Board member (Secretary) will record and distribute to the League members minutes of all League meetings, record minutes of all Board meetings, maintain an accurate list of information on all Board and League officials, coaches, appointed persons, vendors, and other important persons that are involved with the League. That selected Member will maintain the display board in the lobby of the host rink, and control the content displayed there. That selected Member will be responsible for creating, maintaining, and filing all important forms, publications, and communications necessary for the proper and effective performance of the League.

Commissioner: The Board will select from its ranks a Commissioner who will make initial rulings on all matters regarding play, major penalty and misconducts and their implications, conduct, rosters, and any other violations that can impact game results, standings, and player eligibility. These rulings will be made public as quickly as possible to all affected teams and clubs. These rulings can be appealed within forty-eight hours, but otherwise remain in effect and official unless overturned by appeal. All appeals must be submitted to the entire Board Membership.

Appointments: The job description and proper performance of the various appointed positions and vendors will be created and maintained by the Board. Every effort will be made to maintain separation of responsibilities and other natural conflicts of interest. However, the Board is expected to fulfill the functions and responsibilities of all positions and vendors as necessary.


The season generally runs from late October through early April. Teams will compete in as many as sixteen games, playoffs, and an All-Star game.

Teams should be prepared to begin games five minutes before game time. A team must place six eligible players (one goalie and five skaters or six skaters) on the ice before the start of the game. If unable to do so, the clock will run for five minutes, after which the game is forfeited, and the ice can be used as agreed upon by the two coaches and the referees.

All head coaches and assistant coaches listed on the club's roster and the corresponding USA Hockey Roster are responsible to their club, the rink, and the League for their actions and the actions of their players. All rules established by USA Hockey and the host rink are to be strictly followed. Ignorance is not an excuse.

The head coaches are ultimately responsible for their portion of the scoresheet. Prior to each game, the head coach will clearly print the name and number of each player for that game on the scoresheet. Players are required to initial next to their printed name. The head coach should not sign the scoresheet and insert their CEP number until after the game has been completed and the scorekeeper has properly finished entering all information. Complaints or protests must be written on the scoresheet prior to final signatures. A scoresheet signed by the scorekeeper, referee(s), and both head coaches is final and official. Only properly sanctioned assistant coaches can fulfill the responsibilities of the head coach regarding the scoresheet.

Home teams have the right to wear their white or light colored jersey for the game. The visiting team is expected to wear a dark or noticeably darker colored jersey for the game, and only with the acceptance of the home team can this rule be altered. The referee should be informed of this agreement. The visiting team may be required to wear dark colored pinnies or replacement jerseys in order to be in compliance. All jerseys should be numbered, and numbers should correspond with the rostered numbers for each player and their number on the scoresheet. Any discrepancies must be brought to the attention of the referee AND the opposing coach prior to the start of the game. Improper numbering and/or the participation of an ineligible player will subject the game results and the team to review by the Board.

Coaches are not permitted on the ice surface during the game unless attending to an injured player. No player can enter onto the ice surface until at least one referee is on the ice. Conditions permitting, the scorekeeper will start a three-minute countdown on the game clock at the beginning of the posted ice slot time. It is important that the team perform their warm-up in the time allotted and be prepared to begin the game quickly after the end of the three-minute countdown.

Any exceptional rules for playoff games will be announced prior to the start of playoffs.

Elementary games will consist of three twelve minute periods. MSB games will consist of three thirteen minute periods. MSA games will consist of three fourteen minute periods. Games will be played to completion. During the third period of any game, the League will enforce a "running clock" once the goal differential reaches six. Once the goal differential falls below six, normal clock time will recommence. If BOTH head coaches at the Elementary level agree to waive the "running clock" rule, then normal play can continue.
A minor penalty will be two minutes for all levels. A major penalty will be five minutes, and a misconduct will be ten minutes. Any misconduct assessed during the last five minutes of a game will cause that player to serve the full ten minutes of their next eligible game. A player who earns a first fighting major will also be assessed a one game suspension, including playoffs. A player who earns a second fighting major will also be assessed a five game suspension including playoffs. A player who earns a third fighting major will be removed from the league roster, and will be ineligible for the remainder of the season. Regarding any double penalty including those referred to in the "head contact" issue below, the offending player must sit for the total time. So, if a two minute minor and a ten minute misconduct are assessed, the player will sit in the penalty box for twelve consecutive minutes.

HEAD CONTACT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AT ANY LEVEL. If play is focused on the puck, if the hands and stick are down, head contact will be greatly reduced, almost eliminated. Intentional or accidental head contact will not influence the referee's call. Smaller players or players in a temporary "bent" position will not influence the referee's call. There is no excuse when the first or most emphatic point of contact is the head or area above the shoulders. Proper coaching of "angling" and "stick down" contact will lead to lower body and proper checking. The referee-in-chief and the Board will carefully monitor this issue.

All minor, major, and match penalties assessed against a player or coach during a Delco School Hockey League game must serve that penalty during or through a Delco School Hockey League game only. Participation in other leagues does not fulfill the assessment. Penalties assessed by other leagues may not affect a Delco School Hockey League player or coach unless appropriately reviewed by the Board.

Generally, all rules and guidelines issued by USA Hockey are applicable, except when specific rules listed above supersede, or if the Board is requested to consider a specific circumstance.