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Hockey 101

The Basics


A goal is awarded when the puck entirely crosses the red goal line between the goal posts. The player who shoots the puck into the net or who was the last player of the scoring team to touch the puck is credited with the goal. A goal is disallowed if the puck was thrown or otherwise intentionally directed into the net by an attacking player by any means other than his stick. The puck, however, can be deflected off a skate or the attacking player’s body into the net if it was unintentional. A goal also is allowed if it is directed into the net by a defending player.


Icing occurs when a team shoots the puck from its half of the ice (behind the center red line) across the opponent’s goal line without the puck passing through any part of the goal crease. Icing is not called (it is “waived off”) when a team is shorthanded or when the opposition could have made a play on the puck before it went over the goal line. After the puck is iced, play stops and a face-off is held in the defensive zone of the team that committed icing.


Offside occurs when an offensive player crosses the blue line into the attacking zone before the puck. The determining criterion for offside is the positioning of the skates. They must be entirely over the blue line ahead of the puck for a player to be called for offside. Play is stopped and a face-off is held.


When teams are tied at the conclusion of regulation play, each team will receive one point in the standings. A five-minute, sudden-death overtime will be played, with each team using four skaters. A winning team will receive a second point in the standings. Beginning in 2005-06, if a game is still tied at the conclusion of the overtime, a shootout will be used to determine the winner.

The Players


The goalie’s primary task is simple — keep the puck out of his own net. Offensively, he may start his team down the ice with a pass, but seldom does he leave the net he guards.


These players try to stop the incoming play at their own blue line. They try to break up passes, block shots, cover opposing forwards 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.”


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.


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 the shot attempts.


The Officials


The referee supervises the game, calls the penalties, determines goals and handles faceoffs at center ice to start each period.


Two linesmen 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.


One sits off-ice behind each goal and indicates when a goal has been scored by turning on a red light just above his station. The referee can ask his advice on disputed goals, but the referee has final authority and can overrule the goal judge.


He determines which player scores and credits assists, if there are any. He may 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 (five players — excluding the goalie) at any time. When 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.


(Two minutes) Called for tripping, hooking, spearing, slashing, charging, roughing, holding, elbowing or boarding.


(Five minutes) Called for fighting or when minor penalties are committed with deliberate attempt to injure. Major penalties for slashing, spearing, high-sticking, elbowing, butt-ending and cross-checking carry automatic game misconducts.


(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.


A free shot, unopposed except for the goalie, given to a player who is illegally impeded from behind when he has possession of the puck with no opponent between him and the goal except the goalie. The team that commits the offense is not penalized beyond the penalty shot, whether it succeeds or not.


Whistle is delayed until the penalized team regains possession of the puck.

The Lingo

For fans new to the game, hockey has a language all its own. The following guide should be helpful in picking up hockey’s lingo.


To hinder an opponent heading toward and into the defending zone.


The pair of one-foot wide blue lines which extend across the ice at a distance of 60 feet from each goal. These lines break up the ice into attacking, neutral and defending zones.


Use of the body on an opponent. It is legal when the opponent has possession of the puck or was the last player to have touched it.


To hit an opponent with the end of the stick farthest from the blade. It is illegal and calls for a penalty.


Area directly in front of the goaltender. It is four feet wide and eight feet long and marked off by red lines. Offensive players who do not have possession of the puck may not enter.


To fake an opponent out of position.


The dropping of the puck between one player from each team to begin or resume play.


To check an opponent in his end of the rink, preventing an offensive rush.


To hold the puck against the boards with either the skate or stick to get a stoppage of play.


The red line, which runs between the goal posts and extends in both directions to the side boards.


The area just in front of the goal and crease lines.


The scoring of three or more goals by a player in one game. Roman Voloshenko became the youngest Aero to ever score a hat trick in 2005 at 19 years old.


When a player shoots the puck from his side of the center red line past the opposition’s goal line. Icing is an illegal way to advance the puck.


A team is ruled offsides when a player fully crosses the attacking blue line before the puck does. If the puck leaves the attack zone during an offensive play, then each player on the offensive team must leave (clear) the attack zone, before the puck can be re-entered on the attack.


Hitting the puck directly upon receiving a pass. The offensive player takes his backswing while the puck is on its way to him and tries to time his swing with the arrival of the puck.


The area opposite the team benches, where penalized players serve time.


A power play occurs when a team has a one-man or two-man advantage because of an opponent’s penalties.


Replacing the goalie with an extra skater in a high-risk attempt to tie the game. This primarily occurs when a team trails, usually by one goal, late in the game.


A shot blocked by the goaltender, which would have bean a goal had it not been stopped.


The goaltender’s view is blocked by players between him and the shooter.


Hitting the puck with the blade of the stick after taking a full backswing.


The area immediately in front of the goal crease. It is from this zone that most goals are scored and where the most furious activity takes place.


The player with the puck attempts to squeeze between the opponent’s defensemen.


To control the puck along the ice with the stick.


Term used to describe when an offensive player shoots high in an attempt to beat the goalie by shooting the puck into the top portion of the net.


A player skates around behind the opposing goal and attempts to wrap the puck around the goal post and under the goalie.


Hitting the puck with the blade of the stick using a quick snap of the wrist rather than a full back swing.


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.

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.

The ice is approximately 3/4″ thick and is usually kept at 16 degrees Fahrenheit for the proper hardness. The thicker the sheet of ice becomes, the softer and slower it is.

The standard is 200′ by 85′, although some do vary.

Not intentionally. However, if a puck is deflected off a skate or off a player’s body and no overt attempt is made to throw it or kick it in, a goal is allowed.

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.

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.

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 because he is in sole control of the game, he has to protect himself from injury.

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.

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.