Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey Rules

Want to understand the basic rules of ice hockey? Check out our basic guide to the rules of one of the world’s fastest-flowing sports.

Ice hockey fight

Face-off is used to start a game period and to restart play after stoppage. The fight involves two opposing players standing opposite each other around a separate blade and the officials dropping pieces between them. The two players then try to gain control of the puck.

Ice hockey game object

Simply put, the goal of ice hockey is to score more goals than your opponent by sticking puck into the opponent’s goal. A goal is scored only if all the pieces cross the entire goal line. It is illegal to kick the puck across the line or kick the puck in, so players must use their stick to hit the puck when it comes into contact with the ice to score a goal. However, deflections from other players – including goalkeepers (also known as goalkeepers) – are also permitted as legitimate goals.

How old is an ice hockey player?

The matches are played over three 20 minute periods. The clock stops every time the game stops – meaning every second matters a lot.

The team in ice hockey

Each team can have a maximum of 20 players, including two goalkeepers – although only six players from each team can be on the ice at any one time. Substitution can be made at any time during the match.

Play zone in ice hockey game

The ice is marked with a series of red and blue lines. The red (center) line divides the ice into two parts, while the blue line divides the ice into three equal ‘zones’: the defensive zone, the neutral zone and the attack zone.

Ice hockey rules

There are only two basic rules in ice hockey:

Offside:  If an attacking player enters the opponent’s defensive zone (marked with a blue line) in front of the puck, he will be called offside. If this happens, the game will be stopped and the fight will take place in the neutral zone.

Icing:  ‘Icing’ refers to a player hitting a puck from his own piece across the goal line of the opposing team without deflecting or coming into contact with other players (including the goalkeeper). If this happens, play will be stopped and the puck will be returned to the place of origin of the pass without a goal being awarded.

Match officials in an ice hockey match

The referee (wearing the red armband) controls the play and makes the final decision on any issues. The referee is assisted by the line judge, who is concerned with offside, and the goal judge, who sees whether the puck has crossed the goal line or not.

Physical contact in ice hockey

On a competitive level, ice hockey items has earned a reputation as an aggressive sport due to the frequent body checks and other physical contact that takes place on the ice – but it’s not just a free-to-all where players can get away with what they’re doing. Like it. The rules state that contact from the side and front is fine, but deliberate inspection (slowing down or blocking the opponent) from behind will usually result in a penalty.

Tripping against the opponent and forcing the player violently to crash into the arena wall is prohibited, such as elbowing, attacking, using a high stick, and using the stick to check the opponent. Of course, the speed of play means a lot of these things happen, so it’s up to the referee to decide whether a foul has been committed and whether a penalty needs to be dropped.

Penalty in ice hockey

Penalties range from small penalties, which usually result in a player being sent off for 2 minutes, to large penalties, which are awarded for more serious physical contact such as a fight. Huge penalties can result in permanent offending players.