The Game Play format is referred to as the Two-Team Game Play Model (see Figure 3). This model is built on two teams playing one another in two halves. Each U9 team is divided into two units. Each team is required to dress two goaltenders, one for each half-ice game.
In some minor hockey communities, team composition may be smaller. If this is the case, the ice is still divided in two halves, but only one half will be used for game play. The other half of the ice can be used as a practice surface (see Figure 4).
- In the two teams, two half-ice games model, each team will consist of up to 18 players (16 skaters and two goaltenders) divided into two units of nine players. Each team unit of nine players will have one goaltender and eight skaters. Smaller numbers will allow for players to double shift to ensure there are always four players on the ice. Coaches must make sure all players take turns double shifting.
- While not a requirement, the ideal length of a game is 50 minutes (2 x 25-minute halves) plus a three-minute warm-up.
- It is recommended that in each half, the centre spot should be marked to indicate where the face-off will take place. This is to be established at the midpoint between both nets.
- When play is stopped due to the goaltender freezing the puck or a goal being scored, the referee will signal the attacking players to back off three metres. Once the attackers have moved back, the players may resume play as soon as the possession team has control of the puck. In the event a puck goes out of play, the referee will provide a new puck to the non-offending team and the offending team will be required to provide a three-metre cushion.
- Incidental contact may happen, but body-checking is not permitted.
- There is no centre-ice (red) line, and therefore no icing.
- There are no blue-lines in play, therefore there are no offsides.
- The home team shall defend the two ends of the rink, while the visiting team shall defend the centre-ice nets.
- When the buzzer sounds to end the first half, the visiting team will switch ends and switch benches, so players can play against the other half of the opposing team.
- Teams will share the respective player benches with each team using the gate closest to the net they are defending.
- The main score clock can be used to keep time for both games simultaneously.
- No score is kept, and no game sheets are necessary.