USA Hockey has implemented new enforcement of a long standing rule. There has been a rule about proper helmet certifications included in the USA Hockey Rule Book for a good while, but it has not been effectively enforced. With the release of the 2013-17 Rule Book, USA Hockey has given the officials teeth to enforce the rule.
Rule 304 (c) states that all youth players MUST wear a helmet and face mask with a current HECC certification date. Referees are permitted and encouraged to perform random checks for the appropriate sticker. Players found to be wearing helmets with missing or expired certifications will be sent off the ice until they have a helmet with a valid HECC sticker. If the player returns to the ice without a properly certified helmet after receiving the first warning, they will be issued a game misconduct.
To avoid any unexpected surprises and player disappointment, please check your players helmet to make sure a valid sticker is present before their first game.