Pro Sports Official Team Sites Hockey Page Cont'd.
The Game of Ice Hockey Continued.
The Game of Hockey began on the Hockey Teams Page and concludes here, on the Hockey Description Continued Page. It is suggested that you begin your reading at the beginning - at The Game of Hockey.
The Objective in Ice Hockey is to Outscore your Opponent by putting the Hockey Puck - a black, solid, hard, round, vulcanized rubber disk 1” thick, 3” in diameter and 5½ to 6 oz. - into the Opponent’s Net to Score more times than they do. Each time is a ‘Goal’ and counted as 1. Afterwards, the Referee Drops the Puck at Centre Ice and continues the Game. The Face Off is where the Hockey Puck is put into play. The 10 Skaters face each other from their sides of the Face Off spot. Not all Face Offs are at a predetermined spot. They may be anywhere in the Rectangle where the Official determines the Puck was when the Whistle was blown. The Whistle is used to stop play - or, sometimes to call the Players’ attention to a Face Off while play is about to restart (the Whistle is also used to signal the start of a Penalty Shot). At a Face Off Circle, the Centres meet at the Circle Spot and stay on their half of the Face Off area. They stay separated by the red markings that indicate where to put their Skates until the Puck is Dropped. There are markings to straddle, too, so an unfair advantage is not gained by being improperly aligned for the Draw. The Wingers have Hash Marks that they each must stay back of to keep apart. The Centres face each other for the Hockey Puck, with the Official in between and to the side of, perpendicularly facing the Puck Drop. The Left and Right Wingers oppose their opposites and, also, perpendicularly face the Puck Drop. The Defensemen are behind the Circle - one to each side - Facing Forward at the Puck Drop. They stay back to be ready for a fast breaking Opponent or to receive the Puck after their Centre wins the Draw. All Players are to be ‘Set’ motionless before the Puck is Dropped. Many Goals are Scored from a Face Off where a Winger receives the Puck and quickly shoots at the Net. In Hockey, anything quickly is good. The Centres must wait for the Hockey Puck to hit the ice and then try to sweep it back to their Team Mates with their Sticks. The Centre may just quickly try to slap the Puck at the Goal, right from the Drop. The Centre may, also, try to tie up the Opposing Centre’s Stick allowing one of the Wingers to pick up the Puck. If the action of the Draw starts too early - before the Puck hit’s the ice - then the Official may hang on to it or Whistle the play down to try again. If too many of these ’Encroachments’ take place, the Official may Wave a Centre, or both, out of the Face Off Circle and allow a Winger to take the Draw. Players must not move into the Circle, nor cross the Hash Marks, before the Puck Drop. There must not be contact between Opponents, but, the Players sticks may enter the circle or cross the markings. The Official may wave the Draw Taker out for any Player’s violations. Face Offs are part of the Centre’s function and they are really good at ‘Taking the Draw’, so, when replaced it is a detrimental situation to that Team at that Draw. All Face Offs are important and performing them properly is always strived for.
The 5 Skaters are 2 Defensemen and 3 Forwards. The Defensemen are Left and Right and generally Shoot that way, too. The 2 Wingers are Left and Right on either side of the Centre and play along the Boards on their side of the Rink. The Centre plays toward the width wise centre of the Rink and takes the Face Offs. The Centre usually plays around each Net depending on the location of the play. The Centre tries to deflect shots at the Opponents Goal, from in front or just to the side of the Net. A Centre may take up a position behind the Opponent’s Goal to set up another Player, out in front, with a clear shot at the Net. The Centre must ‘Stick Handle’ (control the Hockey Puck by pushing it and corralling it again with the stick - repeatedly) and propel the Puck protecting it with the Stick, the body and even with the Skates so the defending Opponents do not knock it free. All Players do this routinely. Players may bump into the Centre, or any Player except the Goalkeeper, to ‘Knock the Player Off of the Puck’ and retrieve it. Goalies are ‘Not Fair Game’ when outside their Crease Area. Centres may also take up a Defensive position around their own Net to prevent the Opponents - now, also known as Attackers - from controlling in front of the Net. The Centre will Skate from side Boards to opposite side Boards to stay with the play and ‘Dig’ for the Puck. Dig is referring to the action that Players do to regain the Puck from the Opponents by using their Sticks to pry the Puck loose while the Opponent Stick Handles along the Boards and turns away from the Defender, blocking with the body. The Players push the Puck, with their Skates, against the Boards squeezing it to stop an Opponent from Digging it out, knowing the Official will not Whistle the play down quickly. A Team Mate may then stand in the way of the Opponent, to block the persistence, and so falling off of the attack. Players are allowed the space where they are standing. All Skaters have Offensive and Defensive roles. The Wingers, on the Attack, play in the corners, each on their side of the Rink, and may Skate to the other side or out in front of the Net: where ever the play requires. They switch sides and move about to make it difficult for the Defenders to ‘Cover’ them. Wingers play out toward the Blue Line, in the Defensive Zone, leaving their Opponent Wingers to be Covered by the Defensemen and the Centre. However, Defenders move back and forth Covering each others positions when one commits to a Check or tries to Block a shot. Some Attacking Forwards are too big to move and require a Defenseman - who is usually larger - to Cover them.
Attackers move the Puck around; passing to the ‘Open Man’ and trying to get the Defenders out of position for a clear shot at an open Net. The Goalkeeper moves to stay ‘Square On’ facing the Puck, so a quick shot - or a ‘One Timer’ - doesn’t ‘Put the Puck in the Net’ before getting in front of the shot. Goalies drop to their knees and keep their Sticks in front on the ice to stop hard shots or quick shots they weren’t ready for. The Goal Tender will catch any shot in the Trapper and hang on to it or put it back in play. The Goalkeeper will block shots with the Goalkeeper Stick and with the Blocker - deflecting the Puck where it is deemed best for the Team Mates to pick up. The Net Minder will stop most shots with the big Goalkeeper Leg Guards and then clear the Puck away to the Boards with the Goalkeeper Stick, or leave it there for a Defender to take control. The Defensemen will Block shots, too. They will Skate at the Shooter, with their legs clamped shut, to try and have the shot hit their Shin Pads, so, it has no chance to be deflected past the Goalie. The Defensemen sometimes Skate at the Shooter and then go down onto their sides on the ice to increase their area and increase the likelihood of the shot hitting their Pads. These are risky plays and the best Players manage to be in the right spot to stop a shot and not receive an injury. The Wingers and Defensemen Cover for each other as one Commits to a Check and the other fills in the hole until the position is regained. The Centre is a Utility Man and can fill in, too. The Defenders approach the Attackers using their Sticks to bang and bump the Opponents Sticks to knock the Puck free. The Defenders may bump the Opponents bodies with their own bodies to, also, gain control of the Puck. The Players, sometimes, ’Pin’ themselves against the Boards to freeze the Puck against them with their Skates. This causes a Whistle, but, the Referee often shouts: “Play On” or “Move It” and the play continues.
When there is a shot on the Goalkeeper: it may be deflected with the Blocking Glove, or the Goalkeeper Stick, to the corner or away from the Attackers; it may be caught in the Goalkeeper’s Catching Glove and hung onto for a Whistle, or put to the side for a Team Mate to Skate off with and head ’Up Ice’; the Puck may be smothered in a basket like catch where the Puck hit’s the Chest Protector and falls down into the lap protected by the big Goalkeeper Leg Guards - now out in front; it may hit the Goalkeeper and fall down in front where it can be Stick Handled or Flopped on to cause a Whistle - if being checked. Goalies must not touch the Puck in the area behind the Goal Line out in the corner. There are red markings on the ice identifying this area from behind the Net. The legal area where a Goalkeeper can handle the Puck behind the Net is a trapezoid centred on the Goal that is 18ft along the Goal Line and 28ft along the end Boards. Outside of this area, the Goalie can not touch the Puck behind the Goal Line. The Goalkeeper often Skates in behind the Net in stopping a Puck shot down the ice around the boards.
There are four Officials to control an NHL Hockey Game; two Referees and two Linesmen. The Referees have Red Armbands and can call Penalties, determine rulings and allow or disallow Goals. The Head Referee Drops the Puck at Centre Ice to Start the Game, Start a Period and after a Goal. Each Referee controls one end of the ice and Officiates from that Goal Line to the Red Line. The Linesmen call Offside, Icing and other plays that require a stoppage without a Penalty. Linesmen each patrol one end of the ice and do all the Skating to follow an icing or to retrieve the Hockey Puck for the other Linesman to make a Face Off. Linesmen Drop the Puck everywhere except Centre Ice. The Officials wear black and white vertical striped shirts with a number on the back and their name above it. They wear black pants, black Helmets, black Skates and use a Whistle to stop the play. Officials are also equipped with a tape measure and an official stick measuring gauge. Referees call Penalties that require a Player to sit off in a Penalty Box for a set duration of 2 Minutes, 5 Minutes, 10 Minutes or even to eject a Player from a Game. There are also more serious ‘Match Penalties‘. The 2 Minute Penalties are Minors for common infractions - requiring the team to be short a Player position, as well - and are just illegal actions to the Game, like Tripping, Hooking (with the Stick), Holding, Holding the Stick, Slashing and Cross Checking - pushing an Opponent with the Shaft of the Stick across the back, or elsewhere. An infraction like High Sticking - which is contact with the Blade of the Stick up above the Opponent’s shoulders - is, also, 2 Minutes, but, if the Opponent is cut and visibly bleeds it is a Double Minor and 2 Penalties for 4 Minutes are given. The 5 Minute Penalties are Majors and are for Fighting, Spearing, Butt Ending or any infraction where the action was violent toward the Opponent. Many 5 Minute Penalties require a Misconduct or Game Misconduct Penalty to be given as well. The 10 Minute and Game Ejection are Misconduct Penalties and are assessed for severe disregard for the rules or an Official. They may be assessed for too many Penalty Minutes in 1 Game (3 Majors), or a single action with wrongful intent. Match Penalties are Game Misconducts that are for Intending to Injure the Opponent and involve a ruling from the League before the Player returns to play in another Game. The 2 Minute Minor Penalties end immediately when the Opponents Score on the ‘Power Play’ - Man Advantage. The Player, also, comes out into the Live play as soon as time is served and fills the empty position. The 5 Minute Major Penalties only produce a ‘Man Advantage’ if only served by one Team. If both Teams are assessed a Major Penalty then they are offsetting and the Teams continue at Full Strength. Coincident Penalties do not cause either Team to be ‘Short Handed’. When Major Penalties are completed the Players stay in the Penalty Boxes until a Whistle to stop play - unless a Man Advantage was caused, then the Player enters the play to fill the vacant position. The 10 Minute Misconduct Penalties require a Whistle for the Player to return and do not cause a Man Advantage situation. Game Misconduct and Match Penalties are an ejection from the game and do not involve the Player returning to the game. When a Player receives a Major and a Minor Penalty at the same time, a second Player or substitute, accompanies the first Player at the Penalty Bench. At the end of the Minor Penalty, which is always served first, the substitute enters play and the offending Player continues to serve the Major Penalty time. Sometimes the Penalties run through the intermission time and the Player simply returns to the Penalty box, at the start of the next period, to serve the remainder of the Penalty time. The full time of a Major or Misconduct Penalty must be served regardless of how many Goals are Scored or whether there is a Man Advantage or not. A Team can take as many Penalties as are committed, but, only serve ‘2 Men Short’ at any one time. The 3rd or more Players wait in the Penalty Box until a previous Penalty is Up and then their time begins to count down.
On the ice there are 3 Zones of play; the Centre Ice Neutral Zone - between the Blue Lines on either side of the Red Line; and each Team’s Defensive Zone - between the Blue Line and the End Boards (also known as the Offensive Zone for the Attackers). The Goal Lines run across the ends of the Defensive Zones 11 ft out from the end Boards, from corner to corner, and run through the front of the Net with the Goal Posts sitting on them. The Linesmen Whistle down the play when certain violations to the flow of the Game occur. The most common call for the Linesmen is Offside. Now called only at the Blue Line, the Player with the Puck must move it completely over the Blue Line before all of a Team Mate’s body - both Skates - is completely over the Line entering the Zone. If Team Mates are already in the Offensive Zone then they must come completely out over the Line, Tagging Up, before the Puck is touched by an Attacker - when the Puck is shot in early. Pucks on the Line and Pucks shot in early, cause the Linesman to raise an arm in warning of a violation, but, do not cause a Whistle, yet. Players are allowed to get out of the Zone first. If an Offensive Player proceeds to touch the Puck in the Zone, or hems in Defenders by Fore Checking, then the warning is ended and the Whistle is blown. The Face Off is outside the Blue Line at the Spot closest to where the Offside was committed. The warning is called a ‘Delayed Offside’. Once the Attackers have set up inside the Blue Line, in the Offensive Zone, and the Puck comes out and touches the Neutral Zone white ice, it can not be brought back into the Zone by the attackers until all Team Mates have ‘Cleared the Zone’. Icing stops play and occurs when the Hockey Puck is shot from a Team’s own side of the Centre Red Line down into the Opponent’s Zone and over the Goal Line. The Defenders must touch the Puck first, as the Attackers can pick it up and continue the play. In amateur Hockey, this play is Whistled immediately when the Puck crosses the Goal Line. If the Linesman for that Zone, determines the Defenders could have reached the Puck before it crossed the Line, or with an ordinary reaching effort, then the call will be ‘Waved Off’. If the play clears and a Whistle is not to be blown, then the Official straightens the arms out to the side at shoulder level, with the open palms facing down, to wave off or ‘Wash Out’ the call. If the Goalkeeper plays or attempts to play the Puck, or if it travels through the Goalkeeper’s Crease first, the Icing call is Waved Off. The Linesman from the end of the ice where the Puck was shot holds up an arm in a ’Delayed’ call until the other Linesman Whistles it is Icing or ‘Waves it Off‘. Other stoppages occur when a Puck is batted with a Glove to a Team Mate, knocked down with a high stick and retrieved by the same Team, if the Puck is caught in a Player’s equipment or in the mesh at the back of the outside of the Net. The Referees Whistle the play whenever they loose sight of the Puck and whenever it is deemed unplayable - caught in Player equipment or on the Net - as only 3 seconds are given. Often, the Puck is ‘Free’, but, hidden from view by the Goalkeeper and the play is called. The Referees, also, determine if the Puck is completely in the Net. A Hockey Puck must cross the Goal Line completely to be in the Net. The ice is white and if there is white showing between the red coloured Line and the black Puck then it has crossed the Line. However, when the Puck is sent back toward the Blue Line after already being in that Zone, it just has to touch the Centre Ice Zone to be Out. NHL Officials are very good at judging these calls.
The Referee signals a valid Goal by pointing directly at the Goal. No Goal is the Wash Out signal. The Penalty Shot signal has the Referee point directly to the Centre Ice Spot. Referees make signals to indicate Penalties being called. They animate a Hockey Stick in both of their aligned hands to make some of these signals. Hooking - closed hands, one in front of the other, with a tugging motion back toward the body. Holding - clasping both wrists with the other hands out in front of the body. High Sticking - both hands closed, one above the other, up in front to the side of the head. Interference - hands closed and arms crossed in front of the chest. Misconduct - open hands palms down brought to the waist and away again. Roughing - one fist clenched straight out to side. Tripping - sweeping an open palm past the lower leg. Slashing - an open palm chopping motion across the other forearm. Charging - rotating clenched fists around one another. The Linesmen signal calls, too. Hand Pass - one open palm facing forward with a pushing motion once or twice. If the Puck is touched with a High Stick - above the shoulders - it has no signal, but, the Official points to where the Face Off will be. Icing - arms folded across the chest. All officials signal a delayed call with one arm straight up in the air with the Whistle in the other hand and ready to be blown. Linesmen cancel a delayed call with the Wash Out signal.
An NHL Hockey Game is divided up into three 20 Minute Periods and is ‘Stop Time’ - the Time Clock stops counting down on every Whistle and does not start again until the Puck is Dropped, cleanly. The Time Clock shows the Time remaining. The Time Keeper controls the Clock and sits between the Penalty Boxes with the Penalty Time Keeper who controls Penalty Time - also showing Time remaining. The Plexi-Glass separates the Officials and Penalty Boxes from the Rink, but, holes through the Glass allow conversing with the Officials. Attendants in the Penalty Boxes work the doors. There is, also, Plexi-Glass around the Penalty Boxes and Time Officials’ bench to separate them from each other and the Spectators. The Plexi-Glass may run around the Goal Judges’ Booths, too, and the Puck could drop off of the Spectator Netting on top of them. The Video Goal Judge is high up overhead and is consulted by the Referees, the Official Scorer and the Timing Officials when needed. The Official Scorer also sits above and away from the Timekeepers Bench. The Intermission between periods is 15:30, and can be 17 Minutes for national broadcasts. The supply of Hockey Pucks, for the Game, is kept frozen so they are ready to use, when needed. The Goal Judges are behind the Glass - behind each Goal - to help the Referee in determining Goals. They turn on a Red Light to indicate that the Puck was completely inside the Net and hold it for a count of 5. Beside this Red Light is a Green Light that illuminates automatically when Time Expires. Each Light cancels the other so that they can not both be illuminating at the same time. Now, the NHL has many cameras aimed at each Goal Area and Officials, at Head Office, can view each Goal to decide if it was ‘In’ or not. A Hockey Coach can ‘Challenge’ a Goal and Head Office will view it and decide. A Goal has white posts inside and Red Posts around the entrance. The volume of the Net is to contain the Puck after it enters, as many shots hit the back of the Net and bounce out again. There is even a camera in the back of the Net to catch every view for the positive result. Hockey Tape is used extensively adding grip to a Hockey Stick or keeping equipment, like Hockey Stockings, in the right place. A Player will put a big knob of Tape at the top of a Hockey Stick Shaft to aid in hanging on to it - there is no other knob on a Hockey or Goalkeeper Stick. Goalies are required to put this knob on the top of their Goalkeeper Sticks before they are ready to play. The Blade of the Stick is Taped with black Tape to hide the black Puck, but, some Players put a small strip of black tape on the centre of the Blade, only, to look like it IS the Puck. The Goalies are allowed water bottles that stay on top of the mesh on top of the Net. Occasionally the Puck takes a strange bounce of the Boards or Plexi-Glass and veers out into the Rink. These deflections are caused by improperly aligning Boards or Plexi-Glass parts, but, are still Live and if entering a Net, count as a Goal. They often end up on the Opponents Sticks and are just as costly. The Hockey Puck is black with an NHL Label on one side and the Home Team’s Logo on the other side. Many Players ‘Curve’ their Sticks to allow them to Skate with the Puck better, as it is cradled in the cup of the Curve. The back of the Blade is no longer as able to perform Back Hand shots - which are just as needed - but, provide more accuracy and better direct the force in Forward shots. The maximum legal curve deflection is ¾” from the edges (Heel and Blade tip) to the cup of the curve. There is not a maximum curve for a Goalkeeper’s Stick. When a Puck is cleared, by a Defender or Goalkeeper, in the Defending Zone and is shot up over the Glass it is called ‘Delay of Game’ and a 2 Minute Penalty is given. If by an Attacker, the Face off is brought outside the Blue Line - no Penalty. When the Puck goes over the Glass and into the crowd it is for a Spectator to keep. The Puck, sometimes, goes into the Player’s Benches, Penalty or Time Keeper Boxes, but, is returned. Pucks stopped by the Spectator Netting, above the end Glass, fall back down onto the ice and the play is Whistled. Pucks batted down by a Gloved hand and retained by the same Player, or are lost to the Opponents, are not Whistled and play continues - only if the Player’s Team Mates receive a Pass this way is play stopped. A Player may Propel the Puck with a hand, but not Pass it. Each Team is allotted one 30 second Time Out per Game. Each Team is allowed 20 Players in a game - 18 Skaters and 2 Goalkeepers. Both Goalies must be dressed for the Goal and may lend their equipment to another Player if both Net Minders get injured. Goalies can not be the Captain or wear the ‘C’.
Hockey has rules that apply to events that happens occasionally - not every Game. The exciting event known as a ‘Penalty Shot’ is awarded when any one of these actions are committed: a Puck Carrier closing in on the Opponent’s Goal, alone and clear of all defenders who are trailing the play, is taken out of the play illegally, by tripping, hooking, etc.; a Defender, other than the Goalkeeper, smothers the Puck in the Goalkeeper’s Crease; a Player throws their Stick to interfere with an Opponent or stop the Puck’s course; or when a Defender deliberately moves the Net off of it’s moorings to prevent a Goal - as a loose Net is Whistled immediately. A Penalty Shot replaces a Goal Scoring opportunity lost due to a ‘Foul’. A Penalty Shot is performed by a Shooter and a Defending Goalkeeper. The Shooter waits on that Team’s side of Centre Ice and, when the Referee Whistles, picks up the Hockey Puck from the Centre Ice Spot and Stick Handles to the Other Team’s Net - Defended by the Goalkeeper, only. The Shooter can make any shot desired - even Deke around the Goalkeeper - to try and Score a Goal, but, a ‘Rebound’ is dead. Only the initial shot would count. The Shooter must be moving and continue toward the Goal at all times. The play resumes with a Face Off: at Centre Ice for a Score, or where the play was Whistled down if stopped.
In the event of a ‘Tie’ after three Periods, a ‘Playoff’ Game continues, in ‘Sudden Victory Overtime’, Period after Period until the next, or Winning Goal is Scored. It is also known as ‘Sudden Death’. This is exciting, heart stopping action that can end a Team’s season, prolong it one more game, or Win the Series. But the regular season Game has a ‘Tie Breaking’ procedure. First, the Teams are reduced to a Goalkeeper and 4 Skaters each - producing 4 on 4 Hockey - for 5 Minutes of Sudden Death Overtime. If, at the end of this Time, the Game is still Tied there is a ‘Shootout’ to determine the Winner. The Team’s retreat to their Benches, while the Ice Cleaning Machine clears down the Centre of the ice between the two Nets. The Teams select 3 Players each, to take turns taking Penalty Shots with the largest tally winning. The Shooters pick up the Puck from the Centre Ice Spot and ‘Go In’ on the Opponent’s Goalkeeper. The other Goalkeeper waits in the Goal at the other End for the other Team’s Shooters to have a turn. If, at the end of the 6 Shooters, the score is still Tied, then the Teams keep on selecting Players to take turns Shooting Penalty Shots, one and then the other, until one turn Scores and it is not answered by the other Team.
A very big and important part of Hockey is ‘Checking’. This is the event where a Player gains, or attempts to gain, the Hockey Puck from the Opponent. A Check can be with the Hockey Stick or with the Player’s body - bumping the Opponent or by running the Opponents off of the Puck; making them loose control and leave it behind, or by squeezing them into the Boards as they try to Skate past. The Puck Handler must Stick Handle the Hockey Puck as the rush progresses, switching the Blade of the Hockey Stick from front to back and from side to side of the Puck. This provides opportunities for the Checker to knock it loose. Players are expert Stick Handlers and taking the Puck from them is not that easy, but, it does happen a lot during a game. Most Attackers see the Defenders coming at them and Pass the Puck to an Open Man. Passing the Puck is a constant ongoing event, in Hockey, and is the best way to beat a Check. However, errant passes are usually caused by Checking and allow the Opponents to pick up the Puck, too. Sometimes, a Player will continue on, knowing a Check is coming, and takes the hit to allow a Team Mate to get away free with the loose Puck. Checking is performed constantly throughout a Hockey Game. On top of the battles to maintain control of the Puck, between Attackers and Defenders, there are two other common times when attempts to take the Puck are performed: these are ‘Fore Checking’ and ‘Back Checking‘. Fore Checking is accomplished by Defenders against the Attacking Team that just secured the Puck, in their ‘Own Zone’, and are now attempting to set up a play to make passes that progress the Puck out into the Neutral Zone, then into the Opponents End. The Defensemen must Skate back toward their End to guard against a Rush with their Players still ‘In Deep’, caught in the Offensive Zone. Once a Defense is in place, the Forwards take turns Skating In Deep to press the Puck Handler waiting for the other Attackers to get in Position - to receive a pass and move the Puck down the ice. A Winger or a Centre will chase the Puck Handler until a Check is made, or a pass to another Attacker back to help. Once the Puck is passed, that Fore Checker will break off - taking up a Defensive position according to their current Defensive play - knowing another Fore Checker will pick up the new Puck Handler. Sometimes the Attacking Team Pass a short distance and the same Player will continue to Fore Check. Sometimes the Attacking Team makes short Passes on purpose knowing the same Player will chase the Puck around - getting tired out. Occasionally, a Team will send in 2 Fore Checkers deep to press the play when Time is running short or when a Power Play is being wasted. Once the play continues into the Centre Ice Zone, the Defenders continue to ‘Cover’ their Opponents, while the Attackers will get in the way of Defenders that are trying to Check Puck Carriers, or intercept Passes to streaking Forwards approaching the Offensive Zone. The Puck must cross the Blue Line before the Attacking Players, so, the Defenders use this to block or stop a Rush there. During the progress through the Neutral Zone and into the Defenders Zone, the Defending Forwards, and their Defensemen, if caught up ice, Skate with the Rushing Opponents and perform Back Checking - Covering Opponents: bothering or Checking Attacking Puck Carriers to interfere with their set plays and possibly regain control of the Hockey Puck, or to cause an Offside or Icing. Another one of the exciting events in Hockey is the ‘Body Check’. This Check is only made on the Puck Carrier and is ‘Interference’ if made on another Player. A Body Check is made by Skating at the Puck Handler and bumping, or hitting, the Player with the body; hip, shoulder or the buttocks. Body Checks can be devastating to the recipient, usually being knocked down and can even be dazed. Rarely, a Player can be knocked unconscious from a ‘Good Clean Check’. The Puck becomes loose and is usually picked up by another Defender - going on the Attack. Body Checks take place anywhere on the ice - Offense and Defense - but, must not be made on a Goalkeeper. This would be ‘Goal Tender Interference’ and is a Minor Penalty. The Checker must not take more than 2 steps, or strides, as part of the Body Check, or it is ‘Charging’ - 2 Minutes off. If the Checker uses an elbow, Elbowing, or a knee, Kneeing, or hits below the knees of the Puck Handler it is a 2 Minute Penalty. Fights often develop over a hard Body Check - especially if the Referee does not call a Penalty - and can send Players off for 5 Minutes each. Often, there is only pushing and shoving and 2 Minute ‘Roughing’ Penalties are called. A hit from behind, sending the Puck Carrier into the Boards, is illegal - and dangerous - causing a 5 Minute Major, or sometimes a 4 Minute Double Minor, for ‘Boarding’.
When Players commit violations the play goes on, while the Referee, calling the Penalty, Skates with an arm straight up in the air and the other hand holding a whistle to the mouth ready to Whistle the play. The Delayed Penalty allows the non-offending Team a chance to replace the Goalkeeper with another Skater, as, the play is Whistled dead as soon as the other Team touches the Puck. This gives an additional advantage to the non-offending Team with 6 Attackers to 5 Defending Skaters, as this time - which could go on for a Minute or more - is not deducted from the Penalty time. The Penalized Player does not go off to serve the time if the Opponents Score during the Delayed Penalty. On Minor and Single Major Penalties, the Team plays with one less Skater for the Penalty time, but, if the Team is Scored on then the Minor Penalty ends immediately and the Player comes back ‘On’ returning the Team to Full Strength - a Major Penalty’s time is to be served in full. If a Team is assessed 2 Penalties to 2 Players and has 2 men in the Penalty Box when the Opponents Score, the Penalty with the least time left - most time served - is ended and that Player returns to the Game. If it is a Double Minor to 1 Player the first Penalty is ended and the second Penalty starts. If there are 3 Penalties, then the Penalized Team is still only 2 Men Short and the 3rd Penalty does not start until one or both of the first Penalties have ended. If a Penalty ended, none of the Players in the Penalty Box could leave, until a Whistle, as the 3rd Penalty would begin immediately. Players serving coincidental offsetting Penalties, as well as Misconducts, must wait for a Whistle to leave the Penalty Box, as the Teams are not affected by their time served. Once the play is called and the Player sent off, the Face Off is within the Rectangle nearest to where the Puck was finally touched. The Penalized Team is ‘Short Handed’, or puts one less Skater on the ice for the duration of the Penalty. If the Goalkeeper or Coach receives a Penalty, then another Player is sent to serve their time. The minimum number of Players on the ice is 3 Skaters and 1 Goalkeeper - per Team. Sometimes both Teams have 2 Penalties, each, leaving 2 Goalies and 6 Skaters to play the game. The Short Handed Team plays Defensively, for the Penalty time, saving their strength in a Defensive shell around their Goalkeeper and Net, because, they can not be sure of when they will make the next substitution Line Change. When it is 5 Skaters to 4 Skaters, or 5 on 4, the 4 Defenders make a box in front of the Goal and only press toward a Puck Carrier. The Attackers, at Full Strength, Pass the Puck around the perimeter of the Offensive Zone trying to get a clear ‘Shot on Goal’ and maybe even catch the Goalkeeper out of position - leaving an empty side of the Net or large gap in the Stance of the Goalkeeper to shoot at. The Defenders make Stick Checks and bump the Attackers, pinning them against the Boards, so, a Team Mate can Shoot the Puck down the ice, legal now when Short Handed. The ‘Power Play’ continues when the Attackers Skate back and retrieve the Puck setting up another Rush. A 5 on 3 Hockey is the same with the Defenders making a triangle in front of their Net. The Advantage is to the Full Strength Team, but, they must be careful and completely alert, because, with all the extra Offense a mistake could happen, sending a Defending Forward down the ice, unhindered, on a ‘Break Away’ to try and Score a ‘Short Handed Goal’.
Five on Five Hockey is also exciting. This is where both Teams are at Full Strength and is the normal flow of the Hockey Game. The two Defensemen stay back: to back up the Attack, defend against an Opponent’s Rush or to seal in the Offensive Zone - just in over the Blue Line. The Defensemen Skate backwards to face an oncoming Rush, breaking up passes with their Sticks and making Body Checks on the Puck Carrier. Defensemen often start Offensive Rushes from behind their Nets: Rushing themselves or passing to a streaking Forward out at Centre Ice or up at the Opponents Blue Line. The Forwards Fore Check, Back Check and make the aggressive play around the other Team’s Net. Wingers are over toward each Boards, while the Centre ‘Screens’ - blocks the Goalkeeper’s view - and tries to deflect Pucks into the Net. Centres and Wingers move all around the Offensive Zone according to their practiced plays, or what they can react to. It is the Defensemen who usually have the Booming ‘Slap Shot’ from the ‘Point’ - the corner of the Offensive Zone, just inside the Blue Line, over by the Boards. They sometimes move in to the ‘Top of the Circle’ and then ‘Let it Fly’. Pucks that make it through the ‘Scramble’ of Players in front of the Net, are usually stopped by the Goal Tender, but, when they miss the Net, too, they hit the end Boards with a Boom! Bouncing back to the other Point. The Goalkeeper stays in the Crease unless a loose Puck can be controlled and sent back into play. Goalkeepers must stay on their Team’s side of Centre Ice and can not handle the Puck in the corner behind the Goal Line. Angled red markings behind the Goal Line identify where the Goalkeeper must stay out of when controlling the Puck. There is often a struggle for a loose Puck in front of the Net, where Defenders and Attackers vie for control and can’t clear it or put it in the Net. The Puck may be smother by the Goalkeeper, it may get cleared away, or it may be shot on Goal and the event is known as a ‘Scramble’ in front. The Referee manages to take up a position straddling the Goal Line and moves from the Boards to the Net and then around to the other Boards, if necessary. The Linesman stays right with and just outside of the Blue Line trying to stay on the opposite side of the Rink to the Referee. The other Linesman and Referee - back Officials - stay out at the Red Line and call plays from there. These two Officials take up their respective positions when the play returns to their end of the ice.
Some clarifying points; When the Puck deflects up over the Glass, the face Off is where the deflection took place. If it is in deeper than the Rectangle, then the Puck is Dropped at the Face Off Circle closest to where the shot was made, as is any Puck held onto by the Goal Tender. If the Puck deflects over the Glass off of an Attacker, then the Face Off will come Outside the Blue Line to the Spot closest to where the deflection took place. When an ‘Intentional Offside’ is called, the Face Off is brought all the way back to the Attackers End Zone and to the Face Off Circle on the side of the Rink that the Puck was shot in from. However, this infraction is not often called as the Delayed Offside allows Attackers to clear the Zone. A Misconduct Penalty can be assessed to a Player who enters the Referee‘s Crease, by the Time Keepers Box, while the Referee is in it. The Goalkeeper’s Crease is not to be entered by a Skater and can only be entered if the Puck enters first - or pushed in by a Defender. Bumping into Goalkeepers, or interfering with their movements to stop the Puck is Whistled and a Minor Penalty assessed. There is a siren or buzzer that sounds to end a period or warn of the start of a period (it coincides with the illumination of the Green Light at each end). There is a Red Light that only illuminates at the Time Keeper’s Bench to indicate a ‘Commercial Time Out’. When a play is ended - for a Whistle or for loss of control or the Penalty Shot was taken - it is officially called ’Complete’. When the play is called due to a High Stick touching the Puck, the Face Off is where the Puck gets touched or where the High Stick occurs - which ever is more detrimental to the offending Team. When a Goal is Scored, the popular exclamation is: He SCORES!
To Start the Game the Head Referee stands at the Centre Ice Spot indicating that it is time. Twenty Minutes previous, both Coaches delivered a Player Roster, indicating the Starting Lineup, to the Head Referee or Official Scorer, with copies going to each Opponent Coach. The 2nd Referee stands behind the first, on the Blue Line and against the Boards, to the End to be Officiated. The two Linesmen are at opposite sides of the Rink and at each Blue Line. The Goalies are back in their Creases with there Big Pads, Helmets and Gloves on, very visible to everyone. Each Team starts defending the Goal on the same side of Centre as their Bench. The Skaters meet at the Centre Ice Face Off Circle - only the Centres are in the Circle. The Wingers are out the sides of the circle and the Defensemen out behind the circle toward each Blue Line, all waiting for the Puck. The Referee confirms that the Centres’ Skates are behind and straddling the Hash Marks, and then leans over between the Face Off contenders and hold the Hockey Puck out - flat over the Spot. The Centres each have one hand at the upper part of their Sticks, while the other hand is down low on the Shaft, lower than Shooting, Stick Handling or Carrying the Stick around. This lower hand adds leverage and strength to compete for the Draw. The Official Drops - actually throws - the Puck down to the middle of the Spot, landing it flat on the ice, that starts the Centres Fore Handing and Back Handing at the Puck to sweep it back to their Team Mates. The Puck could bounce, so, several swipes may be required. The Team with control has ‘Won the Draw’ and begins to set up positions to move into the Offensive Zone, while the Opponents take up Defensive positions and start Fore Checking.
The Draw comes back to the Right Defenseman who spreads apart the Skates, slowly, and begins to drift backwards watching the play in front. The Attackers begin moving toward the Opponent’s Blue Line when the Puck Carrying Defenseman Shoots a firm Pass to the Left Winger, moving swiftly down the far Boards, and ‘Hits’ the Winger’s Stick just before the Blue Line. Momentum allows a clean entrance into the Offensive Zone - around the surprised Defenders - breaking toward the Net and letting loose a quick ‘Wrist Shot’ that is deflected by the Goalkeeper’s Stick, back into the corner, before a Body Check, by the trailing Defender, or a ‘Poke Check’ by the Goalkeeper can thwart the ‘Shot on Goal‘. The Puck is picked up by a Defending Defenseman and proceeds behind the Goal to await the positioning of Attacking Team Mates. The Defenders have not yet begun to Fore Check as the Defenseman forwards the Puck to the Centre crossing Centre Ice. The, now, Defending Defenseman moves to stay with the Rushing Forward: Skating backwards and angling nearer to pinch the Centre against the Boards. This leaves a loose Puck in the Zone as a trailing Right Winger races for it to beat the other Defenseman and Shoots it around the Boards, behind the Net, and out to the other Point. The Left Attacking Defenseman moves it in to the Left Winger - beside the Face Off circle against the Boards - who immediately sends the Puck across the ice, through the Defenders in front of the Net, to the Right Winger who one time’s it for the short side - between the Goal Post and the Goalkeeper . The Puck is deflected by the Goalkeeper’s Blocker, over the Glass causing a Whistle, as the crowd groans at what could have been. Face Off in the circle to the left of the Goal. The play would continue this way for several minutes, or even the rest of the Period, before an intermission and a returning to the Face Off that starts the 2nd Period.
Late in the 2nd Period, with the Score still Tied at 0-0 and the Teams having ‘Changed Ends‘, the play is in an Offensive Zone, where the Right Attacking Winger has the Puck outside the circle against the boards. Quick steps, around the Defending Left Winger, are made and the Puck Carrier moves toward the Net. The Defender puts the Stick under the Attacker’s Stick and tugs at the exposed midsection. The Puck Carrier falls to the Ice as the Defending Centre picks up the Puck to Rush Up Ice. The play is Whistled as soon as the Puck was touched: Hooking to the Winger Defending on the play, and a 5 on 4 begins. The Face Off takes place in that circle - to the left of the Goalkeeper - and is won by the Attacking Power Play Team. Their 3 best Goal Scorers, and as many as 4, can be on the Power Play. The 1 or 2 Defensemen are usually Goal Scorers, too, as they set up the Power Play passing the Puck from Point to Point, Point to Winger, Winger to Centre and back to Winger trying to get an opening where the Defenders and Goalkeeper leave the Open Man with a large section of open Goal to Shoot at. One of the Forwards moves from beside the Net to in behind and back out again, handling the Puck where the defenders won’t commit to it. The Right Winger passes the Puck to the Centre behind the Net, while the Left Winger moves toward the front of the Goal. The Defenders, worrying about the Winger passing the Puck, are out of position as the Centre Hit’s the Left Winger, swooping past the Net, with a pass right on the Blade of the Stick, and the Winger SCORES! Leaving the Goalkeeper to clear the Puck out for the Linesman as the slide across the Goal was not in time. It’s 1-0 continuing into the 3rd Period.
Early in the 3rd Period, after Teams have Changed Ends again, the Home team, trailing in the Game, are Back Checking their Opponents who bring the Puck over the Blue Line into the Offensive Zone. A quick Poke Check by the Defenseman, on the Puck Carrier, leaves it free for a Winger to Backhand a Pass to the Centre, now streaking the other way Up Ice. The formerly Attacking Defensemen, trailing the former Rush, are caught completely by surprise and are out of the play; stopping, turning and trying to catch up with the change in play. The Centre continues on a ‘Break Away’ with no-one but the Goal Tender defending the Net. The Goalkeeper comes far out to cut down the Angles and hide the Net from the Centre’s view. The Centre knows to get closer - backing the Goalkeeper up to prevent a soft shot overhead from going ‘In’. The Goalkeeper does back up, but, not as fast as the Shooter expected, and then lunges Forward with the Goalkeeper Stick out to poke the Puck away. The Goalkeeper misses. The Centre ‘Dekes’ around the Check and the Hockey Puck makes it through leaving a wide open Net to Shoot into. SCORES! And the Game is Tied: 1-1.
The buzzer sounds to end the Period and regular season Overtime begins. Each Team is awarded 1 point and then begin to vie for 1 more. After a 1 Minute break, the Face Off is at Centre Ice, where 4 on 4 Hockey has the 8 Skaters face each other. Although, a Penalty late in the 3rd Period would carry over into Overtime. The extra room allows for exciting Offensive plays as End to End Rushes quickly ensue. This 5 Minute, 4 on 4, duration ends when a Goal is Scored - Sudden Victory - to give the Scoring Team the Win. If it is still Tied, at the end of the 5 Minute Period, then the Ice Machine clears a swath down the Centre of the Rink, between the two Goals, and the Shootout begins. Three Players from each Team - one at a time - take turns taking Penalty Shots: first one Team and then the other to accumulate a higher tally than their Opponents - the Home Team chooses who will shoot first. If it is still Tied, after three pairs of Shooters, then the Shootout continues with one pair at a time - back and forth - until a Goal is Scored and unanswered on the same turn. The Scoring Team Wins the Game and is awarded the second point. A Win receives 2 points, while a loss receives 0 points. However, a loss in Overtime, or in a Shootout, is awarded 1 point.
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