• Coaching Education Program Rules and Requirements

A. Coach Registration

All ice hockey coaches as well as instructors of USA Hockey programs shall be registered for the current season (before the start of the season) in order to be eligible to coach/instruct in any regular-season activities (practices, clinics, games, tournaments, try-outs, etc.), state, district, regional playoff, national championships or in the USA Hockey Player Development Programs. There will be an annual fee to register the coaches (head and assistants) and instructors. Coaches who also play on a USA Hockey registered team are required to pay this registration fee only once per year. Coaches may register as participants online at usahockey.com or through a local association/member program (refer to Section I Participant Registration). Junior coaches shall register with and through their teams with the junior registrar.

Note 1: All USA Hockey Coaching Education Program Instructors and National Player Development Camp coaches will be exempt from the annual participant registration fee, but must complete the participant registration process.

Note 2: The head coach and all assistant coaches of each disabled hockey team must complete the required CEP registration and online age-specific module(s) for each level of play. Those volunteers or employees who assist with helping disabled hockey teams (i.e. interpreters, pushers, on-ice mentors, etc.) must be properly registered with USA Hockey but are not required to attend a CEP clinic and otherwise comply with these rules and regulations.

All ice hockey coaches and instructors of registered USA Hockey Youth 18 & Under and below, high school, girls’/women’s 19 & under and below, and disabled programs must properly wear an approved ice hockey helmet during all on-ice sessions, including practices, controlled scrimmages and all Coaching Education Program clinics and/or workshops.

B. Coaching Education Program Requirements

(1) Required Coaching Education Program Levels for Ice Hockey

USA Hockey requires that all affiliates and/or districts shall establish the following requirements without modifications for all coaches
(head and assistant).

All coaches must have the required certification level by January 1 of the current season.

a. All coaches must enter USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program at Level 1, and must continue their education each year until, at a minimum, they achieve Level 3. A coach may attend only one (1) certification clinic per year (not including age-specific requirements). Coaches who do not coach in continuous years must re-enter the program at the next level when they resume coaching responsibilities. Once Level 3 is achieved, periodic renewal [as outlined in Paragraph (c) below] is required for coaches who have not achieved Level 4. Coaches of Tier 1 and Tier II (National Tournament Bound) 14U, 16U, and 18/19U teams must complete Level 4 in their fourth season of coaching. Coaches who attain Level 4 certification are not required to attend any further certification clinics but must adhere to the age-specific requirement as outlined in Paragraph (b) below.

b. In addition to the training in paragraph (a) above, coaches must also complete online age-specific training modules specific to the level of play they are coaching, if they have not already taken that module. This requirement applies to all coaches at all levels, 1 through 5. Coaches may complete more than one age-specific module in any given season.

c. Coaching certification at Level 3 is valid for two (2) seasons, as indicated by the expiration date.

A coach whose Level 3 is due to expire must take the online Level 3 Recertification Track 1 curriculum or they may move up to Level 4. Level 3 Track 1 Recertification is valid for two (2) seasons.

A coach whose Track 1 Level 3 recertification is due to expire must take the online Level 3 Recertification Track 2 curriculum or move up to Level 4. Level 3 Track 2 Recertification is valid for two (2) seasons.

Coaches whose Track 2 Level 3 Recertification is due to expire must attend a Level 4 clinic prior to the expiration of their
Level 3 Recertification.

Coaches must complete the online recertification program in order to recertify their Level 3 certifications. Attending a clinic or workshop is no longer valid for recertifying any certification level.

d. Grandfather Clause

For coaches who enrolled in the Coaching Education Program prior to May 1, 2011, their entry into the above program will be at their current certification level. Level 1 and 2 coaches must adhere to paragraphs (a) and (b) above, effective May 1, 2011. Current Level 3 coaches must adhere to paragraph (b) and (c) above; effective with the season their Level 3 expires.

This chart outlines the progression for a new coach. Coaches with pre-existing certifications will enter the new program at their current certification level and must adhere to paragraphs 1. (a) and (b) above.

YEARS OF COACHING           CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Year 1 (ex:2011-12)                                                          
Level 1 clinic
+ age-specific component
Year 2 (ex: 2012-13) Level 2 clinic
+ age-specific component if not
previously taken for current age level
Year 3 (ex: 2013-14) Level 3 clinic (expires Dec. 31, 2015)
+ age-specific component if not
previously taken for current age level
Year 4 (ex:2014-15)     

No Level certification required but can
attend a Level 4 clinic
+ age-specific component if not previously
taken for current age level


Year 5 (ex: 2015-16)

Complete the online Level 3 Recertification Track 1
(expires Dec. 31, 2017), or attend a Level 4 clinic
+ age-specific component if not previously taken for current age level


Year 6 (ex: 2016-17)

No Level certification required but can
attend a Level 4 clinic
+ age-specific component if not previously
taken for current age level


Year 7 (ex: 2017-18)

Complete the online Level 3
Recertification Track 2 (expires Dec. 31, 2019),
or attend a Level 4 clinic
+ age-specific component if not previously
taken for current age level


Year 8 (ex: 2018-19

No Level certification required but can
attend a Level 4 clinic
+ age-specific component if not previously
taken for current age level


Year 9 (ex: 2019-20)

Must attend a Level 4 clinic
+ age-specific component if not previously
taken for current age level

Year 10 and beyond

No Level recertification required but must complete age specific component if not previously taken for current age level. Coaches are highly encouraged to attend a continuing education course every two years.

(2) Evidence of Level

All USA Hockey coaches will possess a USA Hockey Coaching Education Program card with valid certification stickers(if certification was received prior to September 1, 2011), or a printout from the USA Hockey online certification list (if certification was received after September 1, 2011).

It is the responsibility of the local association to identify those coaches who do not meet the certification requirements. All coaches have until December 31 of the current season to attend a USA Hockey coaching clinic and complete the online age-specific playing level module to become properly certified.

Prior to the start of all games throughout the season all coaches are required to indicate their current certification status on the scoresheet, regardless of their certification level. All coaches (except for juniors) must legibly print their USA Hockey Coaching Education Program (CEP) card number, their CEP level (levels 1-5), their online age-specific playing level module and the year their CEP level was attained.

Beginning January 1 of the current season, prior to the start of each game, all coaches present are required to sign the designated area of the score sheet in order to verify the accuracy of the playing roster, as it appears on the score sheet, for that game.