- The Game: A hockey game consists of three 20-minute periods with two 18-minute intermissions. Dressed/On-Ice: Each team has six players on the ice at any given time (except when a penalty occurs): center, right wing, left wing, two defensemen and a goalie. Each team can dress a maximum of 18 skaters and 2 goalies (20 total).
- The Puck: The puck is made of vulcanized rubber. It is three inches in diameter and one inch thick. It weighs approximately six ounces, and is frozen before games so that it slides and does not bounce.
- The Rink: The rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide.
- The Goal: Goals are worth one point each and are scored when the puck crosses the goal line and goes into the net. The goal posts extend vertically four feet above the ice and six feet apart measured from the outside of the posts.
- Offside: Player 1 and Player 2 (see diagram above) are on the same team. Player 1 has the puck in what is called the neutral zone. Player 2 crosses the blue line before the puck is in the offensive zone. Thus, Player 2 is offside if Player 1 either passes the puck to Player 2 or crosses the blue line with possession of the puck. Basically, no player may precede the puck into the offensive zone. *In a delayed offside situation, the offending player(s) will be permitted to negate the offside by “tagging up” at the blue line by returning to the blue line to touch and clear the zone. This rule is designed to create more flow and to reduce the number of stoppages.
- Icing: Player 3 (see diagram above) plays the puck from behind the center line to a point beyond the opponent’s goal line (into the offensive zone). Icing is not called when the team is short-handed (teams become short-handed when at least one penalty is called and at least one player is in the penalty box, giving the other team at least one extra player). Linesmen will have the discretion to wave off an apparent icing violation if it is deemed to be the result of an attempted pass. A team that is guilty of an icing violation will be prohibited from making a line change prior to the ensuing faceoff.
Goalie (G): This player’s job is to keep the puck out of his team’s net. He can use any part of his body or any piece of equipment to do this and is allowed to catch or smother the puck to stop play.
Center (C): The center leads the attack by carrying the puck on offense. He mainly works up and down the middle of the ice and has more freedom to move than his linemates. This player passes between the left and right wings to set up a goal.
Right/Left Wing (RW/LW): Each wing skates along the left or right side of the ice, depending on their designated side. The wings team-up with the center on the attack to set up scoring chances.
Defensemen (LD/RD): The main responsibility of these players is to defend their team’s part of the ice by preventing the other team from scoring. They try to break up passes, block shots, cover rival forwards and clear the puck from in front of their own goal.
Referee: The supervisor and official authority of the game. He calls the penalties, determines goals and handles the face-offs at center ice that start each period of play. Officials wear a black and white vertically-striped shirt when on the ice and have solid orange arm bands.
Linesmen: There are two linesmen that are responsible for calling offsides, icing and handle all face-offs not taking place at center ice. They do not call penalties, but can recommend to the referee that a penalty be called.
Goal Judges: One judge sits off-ice behind each goal and signals when a goal has been scored by turning on a red light above his station. The referee can ask his recommendation on disputed goals, but the referee has the final decision and is able to overrule the goal judge.
Backchecking: A forward skating deep into his own zone to check an opponent off the puck or prevent him from getting a scoring chance.
Blue Line: 2 thick blue lines that separate the rink into offensive zones and are used to determine off-sides.
Boards: The 3.5 foot fiberglass walls, once made of wood, that surround a hockey rink. Extending from the boards is synthetic glass and netting on the ends to protect fans from pucks which inadvertently leave the playing area.
Face-Off: The action of an official dropping the puck on the face-off dot between the sticks of two opposing players to start play. Face-offs occur at the beginning of each period at center ice and after any stoppage of play at designated face-off dot.
Forechecking: Checking in the offensive zone, with the intention of gaining control of the puck and setting up a scoring opportunity.
Goal Crease: The blue area that is marked between the goal posts in front of the net.
Goal Line: A red line that goes across the front of the goal and stretches width wise across the rink.
Line Change: When players from the bench substitute for players on the ice.
Neutral Zone: The area between both blue lines that is not considered an offensive or defensive area for both teams.
Power Play: A power play occurs when a team has a one-man or two-man advantage because of an opponent’s penalty.
Penalty Kill: Attempt by a shorthanded team to prevent the opposition from scoring.
Promotional Time-Out: The first even strength whistle after the 10:00 minute mark of each period.
Time-Out: Each team is allowed one :30 second timeout during the game including overtime.
COMMON HOCKEY QUESTIONS
Why does the goalie go to the bench during play? There are two common situations that would cause a goalie to go to the bench.
- On delayed penalty. The referee will raise and hold his hand in the air to signal that play will continue until the offensive team turns over possession of the puck to the team called for the infraction or a goal is scored.
- The team that is trailing in the final minutes of the game may “pull” their goalie in order to place an extra attacker on the ice to increase the chances of scoring a goal to tie the game. However, this risk leaves the team with an empty net.
When is a goal disallowed?
- When it is scored by an attacking player who deliberately redirects the puck with any part of his body across the goal line.
- When an attacking player bats the puck out of the air with his stick higher then the crossbar.
- If the puck has been intentionally kicked with an offensive player’s skate or foot, using a distinct kicking motion, and subsequently enters the net.
- If a goal is scored as a result of being deflected directly into the net off an official.
- If a player scores a goal while a teammate is in the crease, the goal can be disallowed if the referee rules the teammate of the player who scored was interfering with the goalie.
- When the net moves out of place.
What is a penalty shot?
- After any infraction of the rules which calls for a penalty shot (deliberately displacing goal post during the course of a breakaway, illegal entry into the game, throwing a stick, fouling from behind, deliberate illegal substitution with insufficient playing time remaining, falling on the puck in the crease, picking up the puck in the crease area), all skaters except for the player taking the shot will cease playing until the shot is taken.
- The referee will place the puck on the center face-off spot.
- The player, on the instruction of the referee, will then play the puck and attempt to score on the goaltender.
- The puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent’s goal line and once it is shot, the play will be considered complete.
- No goal can be scored on a rebound off any post, then the goalkeeper and then directly into the goal) and any time the puck crosses the goal line, the shot will be considered complete.
What happens when the game is tied?
- During the regular season when the game is tied at the end of three 20 minute periods, the teams will then play an additional overtime period of not more than five minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner.
- If the game is still tied at the end of the five minute overtime period, the teams will proceed to a shootout. Five players from each team will participate in the shootout and the teams will alternate shots until a decisive goal is scored.
- The home team has the option of shooting first or second in a shootout.
- If the result is still tied after each of the five players has taken a penalty shot the shootout will proceed to a sudden death format. No player may shoot twice until everyone who is eligible has shot.