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Summer Rules


TFHL Summer League

Information, Rules, Requirements




Table of Contents


Summer League Philosophy    

Making teams  

Games: Teams’ Numbers and Players’ Numbers  

Wait List and Free Agency  

Finding and Using Pick-up Players  

Underage Players  


Rainouts and Rescheduling  

Umpire Regulations  

League Fees  

Team Jerseys  


Summer League Philosophy


           TFHL’s Summer league aims to gather and grow the Triangle-area field hockey community by bringing together players of all ages, levels, and backgrounds for a fun, competitive, organized playing experience throughout the summer months.

           If conflicts arise (and we hope they will not), we will keep this philosophy in focus, and ask ourselves, “What decision is most likely to result in players having a positive experience in the Summer league?”

Making teams

           Board members determine the Summer league teams, in consultation with team captains if possible. When making teams, we aspire to achieve the following:

1.     Having an equal number of players on each team

2.     Honoring a player’s requested team and/or teammates

3.     Giving each team a balanced mix of ages, levels, and genders

In an ideal world, teams will be evenly matched every game. This rarely happens, however! Because of players’ summer schedules, it is common for people to miss games, and teams rarely play with their full roster. This is ok; we expect this. And we have some rules in place to try to keep things as fair and balanced as possible.

Games: Teams’ Numbers and Players’ Numbers


           In order to play an official game, teams must field at least 7 of their own field players. They are allowed to “pick up” (see below) a total of 4 players for a total of 11 (10 field players + one sub), but the team picking up players cannot exceed the number of players on the opposing team. If a team does not have enough field players, they will forfeit the game, and the score will be recorded as 1-0. Then we will continue to play during the scheduled game time—using any interested and available pick-up players—to ensure we can still get out there and enjoy our time on the field.

           Sometimes both teams will have a smaller number of players on a given game night. Captains may agree to play down a player or two to keep the numbers even. This is acceptable and up to captain discretion.

           If both teams playing against each other have less than 7 players on each team, then this will count as a double forfeit.  However, we will still encourage them to pick up willing player to play for fun!


           In order to participate in the semi-final and championship games on the final week of the league, players will have to have attended at least 5 games or practices previously.  While we understand summer schedules can be erratic (as is our own schedule at Duke this summer!), we want to ensure that people playing in those final days have participated in the league and played with their teammates up to that point.

Wait List and Free Agency

           At this point in TFHL’s growth, the Summer league can accommodate a maximum of 80 people successfully. Sometimes people want to join after the league is full. We’ve developed a waitlist system that includes “free agent” playing opportunities.

           Note that “free agency” is only an option when the league is full. Otherwise, we ask that players sign up to join the league.

           Free agents are beholden to the following rules:

·      Free agents can join a team in the event of a player’s injury or extended absence, at a captain’s discretion. Spots will be offered to waitlisted players in the order they have signed up.

·      Free agents “count” as a team’s player for the game or games played and thus can help teams avoid a forfeit.

·      Free agents must pay $10 per game and $7 per practice. They must bring cash or check (made out to “Triangle Field Hockey League”)  to the event or Venmo TFHL (@TFHL-TriangleFieldHockeyLeague)  ahead of time to be able to play.

Finding and Using Pick-up Players

           As sometimes happens throughout the Summer league, many of a team’s players might be traveling or busy on a given game night and unable to attend the game. In order to ensure the games can still take place and remain fun and competitive, teams may have to “pick up” players from other teams to fill out their roster. Furthermore, this Summer we will use a google doc attendance system, so we can see in advance if we need players; this will help captains find pick-up players and help players find games they can join. Note, we are able to see who edits the google doc in what order, so we will try to accommodate based on that priority.

           Our philosophy here is this: Pick-up players should help the team they are playing with stay competitive, but should not be so strong or so weak that they will impact the game’s result. As such:

·      Pick-up players are limited to scoring one (1) goal.

·      Ideally, pick-up players should be solid, reliable on the field, and not game-changers.

·      All pick-up players should not play in the center of the field.

Captains can and should use their discretion on this issue. Any discussion of pick-up players should be addressed and okayed by both teams’ captains before the game begins.

Underage Players


Players under the age of 18 are considered underage players and must have their parent/guardian sign the official waiver, provide their parent/guardian name, email address, and phone number, if the player is still underage by the beginning of the first Summer practice.  Note: players of age must also provide an emergency contact name, phone number and email address.


           This summer, we are fortunate to have so many GKs registered! Hopefully teams will not need to pick-up goalies. But if they do, there are different rules for pick-up goalies:

·      Teams without goalies on a particular day can always pick up a GK without penalty or without counting toward the 4 pick-up player maximum. If two teams need a substituting goalie and only one is available, that goalie will play half with one team and half with the other.

Rainouts and Rescheduling

           Summer weather in our hometown sometimes brings dramatic storms and heavy rains. We are required to abide Duke’s rules to ensure the safety of our players and umpires.

           If it becomes necessary to reschedule a game or games, we will use the next available practice day to do so. We realize doing so might change a team’s roster, perhaps significantly, but this is the best way to keep the league moving forward and fitting in as many games as possible.

           The third-to-last day of the Summer league is currently designated an “all-star fun day.” If needed, make-up games will be held on this day. If any rainouts happen during the championship week , there is no guarantee that we will be able to reschedule these games, as we will not have remaining field time with Duke.

Umpire Regulations

    A single game shall be played by 2 halfs of 25 minutes each, with a 5 minute halftime. The clock shall be running until the 25 minutes are played, but in NO circumstance shall the clock be stopped. This includes injuries, cards, goals, and penalty corners.

    At least 5 minutes prior to the start of the game the Umpires shall converse with the captains of both teams and go through the process of the coin toss; to determine who gets the ball and which side both teams will start on. The AWAY Team shall always be the one calling the toss.

    All umpires must have a thorough knowledge of the rules of Field Hockey as explained by the 2017 FIH Rulebook ; and shall be able to apply set rules in game situations, without losing control or being inconsistent.  

Warning cards regulation

    If a player receives a…

        … Green Card, he/she shall be suspended for 2 minutes during the game. During which the offending team shall play with a man down.

        … Yellow Card, he/she shall be suspended for 5-10 minutes, depending on the offense, during the game. During which the offending team shall play with a man down.

        … Red Card, he/she shall be suspended for the remaining of the game. During which the offending team shall play a man down. The offending player shall also be suspended for the following game.*

        … 2 or more Yellow Cards in the same game, the offending player shall be suspended for the following game.*

        … 3 Yellow Cards throughout the entire season, the offending player will be suspended for the game following the third offense.*

        … For repeated suspensions, the board may vote to ban the offending player from the league for behavior detrimental to TFHL for any amount of time as deemed appropriate by the board.  This decision must have majority vote from the board members.  

* The Team with a suspended player will still be playing with 11 players IF the suspension is caused by an offense from the previous game.

Team captains are responsible for keeping track of cards. If both team captains are receiving cards, the TFHL president is in charge of keeping track.    

    Only Captains are allowed to contest a call made by an umpire. Players are allowed to ask the umpire for clarification, but must discuss with their captain if they wish to contest.

    Umpires shall be required to follow an umpiring clinic at the beginning of each Summer season. This shall act as their certification for Umpiring in the League.

Umpires shall be required to be in possession of An USA Field Hockey official Umpiring jersey, a whistle (preferably 2), a stopwatch, a personal set of warning cards, a way to keep track of score, and shall always be wearing black shorts.

League Fees


Fees are nonrefundable. If a player realizes they are going to miss the entire summer, then they have the option to have their fees roll-over as a credit for the next season they play. If a player has not paid their fees by the time of the first game, they will not be allowed to play until they have paid.

Team Jerseys

Team Jerseys are the property of TFHL.  Every player is responsible for returning their jersey at the end of every game. Failure to do so will result in a $20 charge and that player will not be allowed to play in any capacity until that bill has been paid.


Player may not participate in summer until they, or a parent/guardian if player is underage at the time of the first Summer practice, have signed our waiver.  The waiver can always be found on our website.  

Thank you for your help in honoring these policies! When in doubt, TFHL’s Summer league defaults to the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law: we want this to be a fun, competitive, well-run experience for everyone. At the end of the day, we are here because we love hockey and cherish the chance to play.