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Fraser: When a tie-down jersey rule applies in the game

Kerry Fraser
4/8/2014 1:05:15 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca.

Hi Kerry,

This may sound like a silly question but I'm watching Anaheim and Vancouver Monday night and during a stoppage of play, I noticed that when the linesman Brian Mach No. 78, had gone over to help Eddie Lack with a small equipment issue with his chest protector - his fight strap was undone! I thought jerseys must be "tied down" properly at all times.

Does this rule not apply to goalies?

Thanks for all you do - the best to ever ref the NHL!
Rachel Tilton

Hi Rachel:

Thank you for the kudos.

All players of each team must be dressed uniformly with approved design and color of their team uniform. Altered uniforms of any kind, i.e. Velcro inserts, over-sized jerseys, altered collars, etc., will not be permitted. Any player or goalkeeper not complying with this rule shall not be permitted to participate in the game. A player's jersey must be "tied down" properly at all times as per rule 9.3.

It is very difficult to detect if a player is not properly tied down unless he becomes involved in an altercation. The only time that a penalty applies to a player not properly tied down is if he engages in a fight and his jersey is removed completely off his torso, in which case a game misconduct is assessed (46.13). The exception to this application is when the opponent has been identified as the instigator; a game misconduct shall not be assessed regardless as to whether or not the player (non-instigator) was properly tied down.

I have seen players who do not expect to fight (typically skilled players) participate in the game without tying down their jerseys. While this makes little sense, it their prerogative as it is next to impossible for the referee to detect (goalkeeper included).

Specific to goalkeepers no inserts or additions are to be added to the standard goalkeeper-cut jersey as produced by the manufacturer unless approved by the League. In addition goalkeepers are not allowed any "tying down" of the sweater at the wrists if it creates a tension across the jersey such that a "webbing effect" is created in the armpit area. No other tie downs are allowed that create a webbing effect." The length of a jersey is illegal if it covers any area between the goalkeeper's legs.

In short, any excessive material that would provide the goalkeeper with added coverage of his net is not permitted. Unless a goalkeeper intended to fight during the game he would likely not snap the tab on the back of pants.

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser


Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.


Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!


You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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