The world's greatest and most exciting game is easy to follow once you know a few basic rules and practices. Read on for a brief guide to the essential ice hockey rules.
THE GAME MADE EASY... PLAYER POSITIONS
Goaltender – 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.
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 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 the shot attempts.
BASICS ON PENALTIES
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. 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.
Minor penalty– (Two minutes) Called for tripping, hooking, spearing, slashing, charging, roughing, holding, elbowing or boarding.
Major penalty – (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.
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 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.
Delayed penalty – Whistle is delayed until the penalized team regains possession of the puck.
• A team that ices the puck cannot make a line change prior to the ensuing face-off.
• Goaltenders may play the puck behind the goal line only in a trapezoid-shaped area defined by lines that being six feet from either goal post and extend diagonally to points 28 feet apart at the endboards. Goaltenders who play the puck behind the goal line but outside the designated puck-handling area will be penalized for delay of game.
• Any player who shoots the puck directly over the glass in his defending zone will be penalized for delay of game.
HOCKEY BASICS A-Z
A – Letter worn on the uniform of the alternate captain(s).
Assist – An assist is awarded to a player for helping set up a goal. Assists are awarded to the last man or two men to handle the puck prior to the goal.
Attacking zone – The area of the rink from the opponent’s blue line to the end of the rink that contains the opposition’s goal. The zone where the team attempts to score.
Backcheck – Forwards in the enemy zone pick up their man and skate back quickly to their own end of the ice to protect their goal and keep the opponent from shooting.
Boards – The wall that encloses the ice surface.
Bodycheck – A bodycheck is used to slow or stop an opponent with the puck by using hip or shoulder.
Butt-ending – To legally hit an opponent with the end of the stick farthest from the blade.
C – Letter worn on the uniform of the team captain.
Clearing the Puck – When the puck is passed or shot away from the front of the net or other congested area, the player is clearing the puck.
The Crease – The painted semi circle in front of the net. No player from the attacking team is allowed inside the crease unless the puck is there.
Defensive Zone – A team’s end zone where it tries to prevent goals from being scored.
Deke – A deke is a fake by a puck carrier to stickhandle his way around an opponent or to make the goalie move out of position.
Drop Pass – An offensive maneuver that occurs when the puck carrier leaves the puck behind to be picked up by a trailing teammate.
Face-Off – To start the play at any time, the puck is dropped between two opposing players facing each other. Time starts when the puck is dropped.
Five-Hole – The open area between the goalie’s legs where the opponents sometimes attempt to shoot the puck.
Forecheck – Forwards forecheck by hustling in the opponent’s defensive zone to either keep the puck there or take it away.
Freezing the Puck – A player freezes the puck by holding it against the boards with the stick or skates.
Hat Trick – The scoring of three or more goals by a player in one game.
Head Manning – A forward pass made to an attacking player.
Man Advantage – A team with one or more players on the ice than its opponent.
Major Penalty – A five-minute penalty assessed for fighting and other flagrant minor infractions.
Minor Penalty – A two-minute penalty assessed for general infractions.
Neutral Zone – The central ice area between the defending and attacking zones enclosed by the two blue lines is called the neutral zone.
Offensive Zone – The area of the rink within the opponent’s blue line that contains opposition’s goal. It’s the zone where teams attempt to score.
One-Timer – Hitting the puck directly after receiving a pass. The player takes his backswing while the puck is on its way to him and aims the puck at the net.
Penalty Killing – The act of preventing goals while playing shorthanded.
Penalty Shot – A penalty shot is a one-on-one showdown between an offensive player and the goalie. Penalty shots are called when a player is fouled from behind and denied a breakaway scoring opportunity. They’re also called when a defensive player other than the goalie covers the puck with his hand in the goal crease.
Poke check – To use the stick in a quick jabbing motion to dislodge the puck from the opponents.
Power Play – A power play occurs when a team has a one-man or two-man advantage because of an opponent’s penalties.
Screened Shot – Goaltender’s view is blocked by players between him and the shooter.
Slap Shot – Hitting the puck with the blade of the stick after taking a full backswing.
Slot – The area immediately in front of the goal. It is from this zone that most goals are scored and where most furious activity takes place.
Splitting the Defense – The player with the puck attempts to squeeze between the opponent’s defensemen.
Stickhandling – The art of carrying the puck up the ice often deking opponents.
Top Shelf – When an offensive player shoots high past the goalie, putting the puck in the top part of the net.
Trailer – The player skating behind the puck carrier.
Wrap-around – When an offensive player shoots high past the goalie, putting the puck in the top part of the net.
Wrist shot – A wrist shot is when the puck is propelled off the blade of the stick with a flicking motion of the wrist.