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2024 Pony Tail Tournament Rules

2024 Pony Tail Tournament Rules

The Pony Tail Tournament is sanctioned by USA Hockey in the Southeastern and Atlantic Districts. The tournaments are hosted by the Baltimore Stars Girls Hockey Program, under the auspices of the non-profit Baltimore Youth Hockey Club. The tournaments shall be conducted under the rules of that governing body. It is the responsibility of team coaches and officials to be familiar with the rules of the Pony Tail Tournament. 

Division Brackets:

U12A, U12B, U12C, U14A, U14B, U19A, U19B, U19C


All US players must be registered members of USA Hockey. The tournament is considerate of the developmental aspect of some girls’ hockey teams. The Pony Tail director has the right to move teams, up or down, to brackets where they will be competitive and where good matchups will be most likely. Season records and player ages/skills are thoroughly reviewed. 


Only referees registered with USA Hockey will be assigned to work the Pony Tail Tournament. All decisions made by the officials during the game are final. 

Length of periods: 

Three 12-minute stop-time periods. Game slots are 60 minutes.  There are no team time outs during pool play. 

If at any time a team leads by 6 or more goals in the 3rd period, a running clock will be used with the exception of injuries. Stop time will resume if the lead falls back within 3 goals.

Start times: 

All teams must be prepared to play their games 15 minutes before the designated time slot except for the first game of the day. 

Game warm-ups: 

Three minutes. Warm-up will commence after the teams take the ice and the referee signals the game timekeeper to start. The Tournament will provide warmup pucks. 

Game curfews: 

These are rare, and we make every effort to avoid them. However, the tournament director reserves the right to require curfews to keep games on schedule within the time frame allowed contractually by the rinks. All games are slated for 60 minute ice slots. The ice slot starts when the referees allow the teams to take the ice. A curfew may be implemented in one of two ways based on the time remaining for the ice slot. 

  1. If at the end of the second period of play, there is insufficient time left for the ice slot, the timekeeper may (at direction of tournament director) reduce the time for the third period. The third period shall then be played as a normal stop-time period. 
  2. If at the end of the second period of play, there is insufficient time left for the ice slot, the timekeeper may (at direction of tournament director) use a running clock until the time remaining in a game is sufficient to use stop time again.

The timekeeper shall alert the referee and the competing teams of the time remaining in the game. If the tournament director believes a curfew is necessary, the coaches for both teams and the ice officials will be notified.

Curfews, if applied at all, only apply to preliminary round games, not Championship games. 

Four team Divisions: 

All teams shall play three preliminary round games. Top two teams in the division standings will advance to a championship game. 

Six team Divisions: 

All teams shall play three preliminary round games. Top two teams in the division standings will advance to a championship game. 

Playoff Game tied in regulation: 

Should a Championship game end in a tie, a five-minute sudden death overtime period shall be played. If at the end of overtime, the game remains tied, a three- player shootout will be held. For Shootouts, each head coach will designate three shooters, listed in order. The home team has the option of shooting first or second. In the event of a tie after the 3 players have shot, each coach will designate one new shooter to shoot in the next round, continuing until a winner is determined. Players may not shoot a second time until all skaters on their team have shot once. The only exception is that a team with more skaters may start repeating shooters as soon as the other team is allowed to repeat shooters. A player serving a penalty at the end of the game shall be ineligible to participate in the shootout. 


Minor penalties will be 1 1/2 minutes. Major penalties will be 5
minutes. Misconducts will be 10 minutes. In the event of coincidental penalties, neither team will skate shorthanded. Should a team accumulate a combination of 12 penalties (minor and/or major) during any single Pony Tail game, the offending team’s head coach will automatically receive a one game suspension. In addition, any player accumulating four penalties (minor and/or major) in any single game will receive a game misconduct. Any player or coach receiving a game misconduct penalty shall be suspended for the next tournament game. Fighting will not be tolerated. Fighting majors will result in players being suspended for the remainder of the tournament. 

Other Tournament Rules:

-Home Team in preliminary round games and higher seeded team in playoff games will wear light Jerseys unless discussed between teams and agreed upon.
-All players, including alternate goalkeepers, in the box area are required to wear helmets.
-Checking will NOT be permitted in any age classifications.
-No time-outs are allowed in Pony Tail preliminary-round games.
-Coaches are allowed one time-out each in playoff games.

Team/Spectator Conduct:

Pony Tail Tournament officials expect the conduct of players and coaches to be beyond reproach both on and off the ice. Misconduct will result in disqualification from the tournament. Spectators should also be advised that the Pony Tail Tournament has adapted the USA Hockey "ZERO TOLERANCE" policy in regards to abusive language and unsportsmanlike behavior towards opposing team players, coaches and fans, as well as referees, volunteers and tournament officials. Spectators violating this policy will be asked to leave the venue. 


No protests will be allowed regarding rules interpretations or judgment calls made by game officials. Decisions of on-ice officials are final. 

Tournament schedule: The March Pony Tail Tournaments are conducted Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. The tournament schedule will be determined by the tournament director and scheduler and published. Consideration is given for teams traveling the greatest distance when determining first games. 

Pony Tail Tournament 2024 - Tournament point system and Tiebreak process:

All teams participating in the Pony Tail Tournament are guaranteed three preliminary round games. Tournament divisional standings will be determined by a Game Point System (Period Points only used in tiebreakers).

2 game points* will be awarded per game based upon the following: 
2 points for each game won
1 point for each game tied
3 period points* will be awarded per game based upon the following:
1 point for each period won
1/2 point for each period tied

*Note: game points and period points are not cumulative
If, after preliminary round games, two or more teams in a division have an equal number of game points, their position in the standings will be determined by: 

- Most Game Points

- Most Wins

- Most Period Points

- Highest Goal Differential

- Fewest Penalty Minutes

- Coin Toss

Note 1: when 3 or more teams are tied for first place, as soon as the tiebreaker system above determines the 1st place team, the remaining teams restart the tiebreaker process above at step one to determine the 2nd place team.

Note 2: when 3 or more teams are tied, as soon as any teams are eliminated by a step in this process, the process immediately moves back to step one and restarts for the remaining teams.

Note 3: Head-to-head competition is NOT factored into determining division standings for tie breakers.