The Rules of Ice Hockey – EXPLAINED!

ice hokey rules

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The objective of the game is for your team to score more goals than the opposing team. To score a goal, a player must hit the puck – Which is a 4 inch disc of rubber, completely across the goal line and into the goal. If the puck doesn’t cross the line, it doesn’t count. The ice surface itself is 200ftx85ft in North America and 60mx30m internationally The game starts with a Face Off – where the puck is dropped between two opposing players at center ice. A faceoff is used to re-start play and can happen at one of the 8 other faceoff dots on the ice.

Ice hockey is played with two teams of 20, with six (6) players on the ice at any one time. They consist of 3 forwards, 2 defenders and 1 goaltender. There are an unlimited amount of substitutions in this game and they can happen at any time. The game is played in 3 x 20 minute periods, for a total playing time of 60 minutes.

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Highest score at the end of time wins. That sounds easy enough to understand? Well, that’s the most simplistic way of looking at it. But Ice hockey is filled with things that you can and cannot do. And should you break one of these rules, you will serve a time penalty leaving your team with one less player, and your opponents with a man-advantage. The team with the man advantage is on the ‘Powerplay’, and this makes it easier to score a goal as there is one less player to defend the net.

The team with a man in the penalty box is on the ‘Penalty Kill’ and usually they defend like crazy until the time of the penalty expires. The length of the time of the penalty depends on the infraction made: These Minor infractions results in two minute penalties. Hooking, slashing, delay of game, interference, goaltender interference, tripping, roughing, elbowing, boarding, cross checking, charging, holding, high sticking, kneeing, check from behind, spearing, unsportsmanlike conduct, too many men on the ice. When a goal is scored by the team on the powerplay, the penalty time is cut short and the player is let out of the penalty box. These Major infractions results in 5 minute penalties. Fighting, charging, hit from behind, and hits to the head Unlike Minor penalties, a major penalty has to be served in full, even if the other team scores.

And these Misconduct infractions results in 10 minute penalties. Any minor penalty with intent to injure, any unsportsmanlike conduct towards officials. As with a Major Penalty, the player has to serve the full 10 minutes in full even if the other team scores. There is one other infraction: the Game Misconduct – which results in a player being ejected from the entire game. There’s a few other rules you’ll need to understand before going to a game. For example: Penalty Shot A penalty shot is rewarded to the offensive player if they obstruct the player enough so they do not shoot properly.

A shooter will start from Centre Ice and try and score against the defending goalie. On a penalty shot, the shooter starts from centre ice and is only allowed one shot, even if there is a rebound. Offside The puck must completely cross you’re opponents blue line before any players on your team. If a player crosses the blue line before the puck, it’s offside and results in a faceoff in your end of the ice. This is to prevent you keeping players in front of the opposing goalie for the entire game.

Icing Icing is when you shoot the puck across two red lines, the red centre line and your opponents goal line. If you are caught icing, this will result in a Faceoff being taken at your end of the ice. This rule is to prevent teams from just dumping the puck and making it a boring. Draw or Tie In international rules – if both teams at the end of the three periods have the same amount of goals, the game is a draw or a tie. Overtime In North American rules – If the game is tied after the three periods, there is a sudden death overtime period; meaning, if a goal is scored during this period, the game is over. Shootout If the game is still tied after the overtime period, a shootout commences.

Each team will have three (3) shooters. The team with the best out of three shots will win the game. If after the three shooters the game is still tied, its moves to a sudden death shootout; meaning the next shootout goal without reply wins. That’s a lot to take in, but as you watch or play ice hockey, the rules will become second nature.

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