There are many signals used by referees (on-ice official with orange armband) and linesmen (on-ice official without orange armband). In Australia, most games are refereed by 1 referee and 2 linesmen. This is referred to as a 3 Man System. Outside Australia in high level competitions, there are 2 referees and 2 linesmen. This is referred to as a 4 Man system. It is also possible but not preferred for a 2 Man System to be used. Some officials can be either a referee or a linesman in different games – the orange bands can be taken off the referee jersey – while some other officials are usually a referee only or a linesman only. 


The referee is in charge of the game and decides on penalties and goals. The referee can confer with the linesmen in case of doubt about penalties and goals. There is no video review in Australian hockey. Linesmen conduct face-offs and decide on offside penalties. Linesmen also usually separate fighting players.


This page features many signals used in general situations where penalties do not apply. Also see Officials Signals – Penalties.


Delayed Offside – Used to indicate that the attacking team is offside inside the attacking blue line however the defending team is in possession. When the attacking team or the puck leaves the attacking zone, the delayed offside penalty is not called and the official lowers their hand. Play can continue. If the attacking team touches the puck in the attacking zone while offside, play stops and is restarted with a face-off outside of the attacking zone. Also see Waved Off (below).


Signal: Same as delayed penalty (pictured) except lowered hand is pointing towards the ice.





Hand Pass – A player outside of their defensive zone can not use their glove, hand or arm to deliberately pass the puck to a team mate. A player can bat the puck out of the air with their hand or glove and regain possession themselves and play will continue. No penalty applies and play re-starts with a face-off.


Signal: Move one arm from waist height from back to front then upwards in a scooping motion.





Goal – For a goal to be scored, the puck must fully cross the goal line between the two goal posts and under the crossbar. The puck must not be kicked into the goal with a distinct kicking motion. The puck must not be struck by a stick raised above the height of the crossbar.


Signal: Referee points to the goal with one hand while blowing the whistle with the other hand at the same time. Referee may then point to the goal scorer but this is not mandatory.





Waved Off (Not Offside, No goal, Play On) – This multi-use signal is an official’s way of saying no. There may be minor variations to the hand signal however the intent is the same. Signal is also called Washout however most players/fans would know it as Waved Off. The signal can show that the player is not offside, icing does not apply, there was no penalty, a goal was not scored. Play continues.


Signal: Both arms stretched out parallel to the ice (possibly waved depending on context).



Time Out – Each team is allowed 1 Time Out period of 30 seconds per game. This must be requested by the coach or captain after a stoppage of play. In competitions outside of Australia with live TV coverage, there are also TV or Media Timeouts which are a playing condition of the competition.


Signal: Form a T with both hands in front of the body. Same signal as Unsportsmanlike Conduct.








Stop Play – If an official raises both hands, play must stop. Examples include the puck saved by a goal tender, referee losing sight of the puck, net dislodged or the end of a period.


Signal (not shown): Both arms extended and raised into the air.






Page last updated 01 January 2017