Goaltender: The goalie’s primary task is simple - keep the puck out of his own net. Offensively, he might start his team down the ice with a pass, but seldom does he leave the net.
Defensemen: These players try to stop the incoming play at their own blue line. They try to break up passes, block shots, cover opposing forwards (center and wings) and clear the puck from in front of their own goal. Offensively, they get the puck to their forwards and follow the play into the attacking zone, positioning themselves just inside their opponent’s blue line at the "points."
Center: The quarterback on the ice, the center leads the attack by carrying the puck on offense. He exchanges passes with his wings to steer the play toward the opposing goal. On defense, he tries to disrupt a play before it gets on his team’s side of the ice.
Wings: The wings team with the center on the attack to set up shots on goal. Defensively, they attempt to break up plays by their counterparts and upset shot attempts.
Referee: The referee supervises the game, calls the penalties, determines if goals are scored and handles faceoffs at center ice at the start of each period.
Linesmen: Two are used. They call offside, offside pass, icing and handle all faceoffs not occurring at center ice. They do not call penalties, but can recommend to the referee that a penalty be called.
Goal Judges: One sits off-ice behind each goal and indicates when the puck has crossed the red goal line by turning on a red light just above his station. The referee can ask his advise on disputed goals, but the referee has final authority and can overrule the goal judge.
Official Scorer: He determines which player scores and credits assists if there are any. He might consult the referee, but the scorer is the final authority in crediting points.
A team plays shorthanded when one or more of its players is charged with a penalty. However, no team is forced to play more than two players below full strength (six) at any time. If a third penalty is assessed to the same team, it is suspended until the first penalty expires. When a penalty is called on a goalie, a teammate serves his time in the penalty box. Penalties are administered in the following fashion:
Minor Penalty: 2 minutes - Called for boarding, charging, cross-checking, elbowing, holding, hooking, high-sticking, interference, roughing, slashing, spearing, tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Major Penalty: 5 minutes - Called for fighting or when minor penalties are committed with deliberate intent to injure. Major penalties for slashing, spearing, high-sticking, butt-ending and cross-checking carry automatic game misconducts.
Misconduct: 10 minutes - Called for various forms of unsportsmanlike behavior or when a player incurs a second major penalty in a game. This is a penalty against an individual and not a team, so a substitute is permitted.
Penalty Shot: A free shot, unopposed except for the goalie, given to a player who is illegally impeded from behind when in possession of the puck with no opponent between him and the goal except the goalie. The team which commits the offense is not penalized beyond the penalty shot, whether it succeeds or not.
Delayed Penalty: The whistle is delayed until the penalized team regains possession of the puck.
The three most common infractions you will see called in hockey are offsides, icing, and offside pass (or sometimes called a two line pass.) Here are their descriptions, along with a graphical representation of what happens on the ice during these infractions. In all cases, the team with the puck would be trying to score on the goal at the right of your screen.
A team is offside when any member of the attacking team precedes the puck carrier over the defending team's blue line. The position of the player's skates and not that of his stick is the determining factor. If both skates are over the blue line before the puck, the player is offside. If he only has one skate over the blue line and one on the blue line, he is onside. In the example (left) notice how player B crosses the blue line before player A who has the puck does.
Icing occurs when a player on his team's side of the red (center) line shoots the puck all the way down the ice, it crosses the red goal line at any point other than the goal itself and is first touched by a defending player. Play is then stopped and the puck is returned to the other end of the ice for a face-off. Icing is not called:
If the goalie plays the puck by leaving his net
If the puck cuts across part of the goal crease
When a defending player could have played the puck before it crossed the red goal line (in the judgement of the linesman)
When an attacking player who was onside when the puck was shot down the ice manages to touch it first
When the attacking team is playing short-handed because of a penalty
Offside Pass/ Two Line Pass
When a player passes the puck from his defending zone to a teammate beyond the center red line therefore crossing both the blue and center lines, it is an offside pass. The position of the puck and not the player's skates is the determining factor. In the example (left) notice how player B gets the pass after he has crossed the red line, and player A made the pass to player B before he crossed his blue line.
Hockey is a rough sport, and the players are allowed, under certain circumstances, to smash into each other. When a player is carrying the puck forward, players from the opposing team are permitted to impede his progress by skating into him. This is called checking. You can also check a player who has just received a pass, and you can usually get away with checking a player who has just made a pass.
The crease is the blue painted area in front of the goal, and it is supposed to be the domain of the goaltender. Players may not enter the crease and interfere with the goaltender. They may enter the crease if they are following the puck in. If a player scores a goal while a teammate is in the crease, the goal can be disallowed if it is ruled that the player in the crease was interfering with the goaltender. If a player is in control of the puck, shoots or carries it into the crease and then scores, the goal is allowed. If a player skates into the goaltender with or without the puck, an interference penalty (see below) will usually be assessed.
Boarding occurs when a player is facing the boards and an opposing player checks him from behind so that he is violently crushed into the boards. A player can be assessed either a minor or major penalty for boarding, and in many cases more severe penalties or suspensions will be assessed, because players can be very badly hurt from this. If a player is bent over and is slammed into the boards, he can suffer a concussion or even a broken neck, so players and officials alike frown heavily upon players who commit boarding.
A charging penalty is assessed whenever a player checks another player with excessive violence after skating a long distance. This is mostly a judgement call on the part of the ref; they don't like to see a player line up another and go skating up to smash into him at top speed. This penalty can also apply if a player checks a goaltender. Goaltenders may not be checked even if they leave their creases.
Cross-checking occurs when a player smashes into another player with his stick held in both hands in front of his body. It can be very painful, and players are very fond of it. A little bit of cross-checking, particularly when defending one's own net, is usually permitted by the refs, but if it becomes excessive or it's just gratuitous nastiness, a penalty will be called.
You aren't allowed to stick your elbow out and hurt people. Aww! Come on! The league takes this pretty seriously, because elbowing can cause concussions. If a player receives a major penalty for an elbow, he also receives an automatic game misconduct and a minimum $100 fine.
Head-butting is a major no-no. If a player attempts a head-butt, he receives a double-minor penalty. If he actually does head-butt someone, he receives a major penalty. If the head-putted person is injured, the player receives a major penalty and a game misconduct.
If a player's stick makes contact with another player above the struck player's shoulder height, a penalty will be assessed. This applies even if the contact was accidental, unless the contact occurred in the normal windup or follow-through of a shot. If the contact is deliberate and/or causes an injury, a double minor or major penalty will be assessed.
Players are also not allowed to bat a puck out of the air with a stick above shoulder height, or to redirect a puck into the net with a stick above the height of the crossbar on the goal. If a goal is scored in this manner, it will be disallowed.
A player is not allowed to hold onto an opponent with his hands, arms or legs. It's okay to use a hand to hold off a player by straight-arming him, but you can't grab or hold him. Players are also forbidden to hold onto other players' sticks. Either sort of infraction results in a minor penalty. You go and sit in the box, and you feel shame.
This penalty is assessed when a player uses the blade or shaft of his stick to impede another player's movement. Players do this quite frequently and get away with it, but if they really put the hook on someone they get the whistle.
This penalty describes a wide range of evils, but it mostly refers to the practice of impeding the progress of a player who is not in possession of the puck. If a player doesn't have the puck, it's nobody else's business where he wants to skate. The league has been trying very hard to crack down on this infraction in recent years, because teams had come to rely on it to shut down opposing teams' skilled players and make the game more boring.
A special sort of interference call is the penalty shot. If someone has a breakaway, i.e., he is on his opponent's side of the red line and there is nobody between him and the goalie, and someone trips him up or otherwise impedes him from behind, he is supposed to be awarded a penalty shot. Refs only do this in extreme cases, usually preferring to assess a tripping or interference minor. If a penalty shot is awarded, the clock is stopped and the player is allowed to skate, all by himself, from center ice towards the opposing goalie and take his best shot. This is one of the more exciting moments in hockey, and we wish refs would award these more often.
A roughing penalty is assessed when players get feisty and hit each other or wrestle a bit, but leave their gloves on. You'll quickly notice that refs will allow quite a bit of pushing, shoving and grabbing after the whistle before they'll make a roughing call, but they'll call this penalty if things get out of hand. If the gloves come off and players start slugging each other in earnest, then it's a fight and fighting penalties will be assessed.
This is another one of those things that hockey players do all the time and are only penalized for occasionally. Slashing refers to the practice of hitting other players with your hockey stick. Players use their sticks to irritate each other, to interfere with shooting and passing, and, yes, to hurt each other. A slashing penalty is usually called when the contact is particularly nasty, or when an injury is sustained or feigned by the recipient of the blow. Many slashes are disguised as attempts to get the puck, and it's easier to get away with those. Penalties are called more often when a player slashes another player who doesn't have the puck. A slashing penalty will usually be a minor or double-minor. Majors for slashing are rare."
Just like it sounds. This can be done with the legs or stick, and it usually results in a minor penalty.
Q: What is the puck made of?
A: The puck is made of vulcanized rubber and is three inches in diameter and one inch thick, weighing about six ounces. It is frozen before entering play to make it bounce resistant.
Q: How fast does the puck travel?
A: Some of the game’s hardest shooters send the puck toward the net at speeds between 90 and 100 mph with the elite shooters easily topping the century mark. Making things even more difficult on the goalie is the puck will frequently curve in flight, much like a baseball.
Q: Which shot is the hardest for a goalie to stop?
A: Generally speaking, it is one that’s low and to the stick side. Some goaltenders overplay to the stick side, presenting a more inviting target on the glove side.
Q: What about deflections?
A: Deflections aren’t just luck. Players practice redirecting shots by standing at the side of the net and knocking a shot from the outside past the goalie into another area of the goal.
Q: Which is tougher for the goalie to stop a slap shot or a wrist shot?
A: The slap shot, while it is harder and faster, is easier for the goalie to time than a wrist shot, which takes the goalie more by surprise.
Q: How thick is the ice?
A: The ice is approximately 3/4" thick and is usually kept at 16 degrees for the proper hardness. The thicker the sheet of ice becomes, the softer and slower it is.
Q: What are the standard dimensions of the rink?
A: The standard is 200’ by 85’, although some do vary.
Q: Can the puck be kicked in for a goal?
A: Not intentionally. However, if a puck is deflected off a skate or off a player’s body and no overt attempt is made to to throw it or kick it in, a goal is allowed.
Q: What if an offensive player is in the crease?
A: If he is there under his own power and the puck goes in, the goal is disallowed. A goal can be awarded if the player was forced into the crease or held there by a defensive player. An offensive player is allowed to carry the puck into the crea se and score.
Q: Why do goalies frequently come out of in front of their net?
A: Usually when a goalie leaves the area immediately in front of the goal it is to reduce the shooting area, cut down the angle of the shooter or for the offensive player to release his shot before he would like to. After coming out of the net, the goalie is usually backing up slowly in an attempt to get the shooter to commit himself first.
Q: Who gets credited for an assist?
A: The last player or players (no more than two) who touch the puck prior to the goal scorer are awarded assists. For example, if player A passes to player B who passes to player C who scores a goal; players A and B get assists.
Q: Why doesn’t the referee stop fights?
A: There are several. First, it is his job to watch what is going on and determine who should be penalized. Also, it is quite hazardous in close during a fight and since he is in sole control of the game, he has to protect himself from injury.
Q: How are the markings - the red and blue lines, goal lines, crease and face-off circles - applied to the ice?
A: The ice is built up to a half-inch thickness by spraying water over the concrete floor, which has the freezing pipes embedded into it. Then the markings are painted on, after which additional water is sprayed to coat the markings and build the ice to the prescribed thickness.
Q: What are hockey sticks made of?
A: Hockey sticks are made of wood, generally northern white ash or rock elm, or aluminum. The handle is one piece and the laminated wooden blade is affixed to it.
Q: Are all sticks alike?
A: Far from it. Just as baseball players have individually personalized bats, so too do hockey players have their own patterned sticks. Flexibility, the angle of the blade, weight, etc., vary from player to player.
The Zamboni®, named after it's creator Frank J. Zamboni, is the large apparatus that resurfaces the ice during, before and after the games. In the old days, a scraper would be dragged behind a tractor which was driven on the ice. People would manually shovel away the shavings, squeegee the ice clean, and spray water from a hose to build up new ice. Obviously this took a while and was inefficient. That's when Frank decided to change the world of ice maintenance.
The blade shaves the ice surface, flattening it.
The horizontal screw conveyors gather the shavings and direct them toward the center of the machine, where it meets the vertical screw conveyor.
The vertical screw conveyor lifts the shavings and projects them forward into the snow collection tank.
Later, in a dump-truck style fashion the shavings are dumped out of the Zamboni®.
The conditioner squeegees the ice clean using water from the wash water tank removing dirt and other contaminants from the ice.
This water is vacuumed up and returned to the wash water tank.
Fresh, hot water from the fresh water tank is applied over the freshly shaved, vacuumed ice by the towel. This steaming hot water bonds with the current ice layers and melts into and over, providing a nice, new, clean and smooth sheet of ice.
Sure beats the old way, doesn't it?
Zamboni® is a registered trade mark of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.
Team Contact: Alys Staten
Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-1400