Ice Hockey Penalties Explained

Part of the Hockey For Dummies Cheat Sheet

In ice hockey, a penalty results in a player spending time in the penalty box. Ice hockey has three types of penalties: minor, major, and misconduct. The harsher the penalty, the harsher the punishment. Hockey penalties include:

  • Butt ending: When a player jabs an opponent with the top end of his stick.

  • Checking from behind: Whistled when a player hits an opponent who is not aware of the impending contact from behind and therefore cannot defend himself.

  • Cross checking: When a player makes a check with both hands on the stick.

  • Elbowing: When a player uses his elbow to foul an opponent.

  • Fighting: Called fisticuffs in the National Hockey League rule book, it is assessed when players drop their gloves and throw punches at each other.

  • Hooking: When a player impedes the progress of an opponent by “hooking” him with his stick.

  • Interference: When a player interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who does not have the puck. Also assessed to a player who deliberately knocks the stick out of an opponent’s hand or who prevents a player who has dropped his stick (or any other piece of equipment) from picking it back up.

  • Kneeing: When a player fouls an opponent with his knee (of course!).

  • Roughing: Called when a player strikes another opponent in a minor altercation that the referee determines is not worthy of a major penalty.

  • Slashing: When a player hits an opponent with his stick, or “slashes” him, either to impede his progress or cause injury.

  • Spearing: When a player stabs at an opponent with the blade of his stick, whether he makes contact or not.

  • Tripping: When a stick or any portion of a player’s body is used to cause an opposing player to fall.

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