Ice Hockey Rules

Basic ice hockey is played on a field of enclosed ice, called a rink, which measures 200 feet by 85 feet. Two teams compete on the rink attempting to score against the opposing team.

Scoring is achieved by sliding a flat, cylindrical disc called a puck into the opposing team’s net. The nets are located at either end of the rink.

Each team is comprised of six players. There are five skaters who are free to move anywhere inside of the rink and one goalie who defends the net for their team and is not allowed to cross beyond the center of the rink towards the opposing teams net. In addition to the twelve players that comprise both teams, there is also a neutral referee on the ice who enforces the rules of the game.

The puck can only be moved by use of a hockey stick, which each player has, or with their feet.

The rink is divided into three areas. Each team controls one side of the rink, where their net is located. The center third of the rink, between these two areas, is a neutral area and is marked off by two blue lines on either edge. The team who currently controls the puck is known as the offense, and the team who is attempting to prevent the puck from entering their net is known as the defense.

The game begins when each opposing team sends out a player, called a forward, to stand face to face in the center of the rink. The referee then drops the puck between the two players and they attempt to knock the puck into their opponent’s side of the rink, or pass it to a fellow teammate.

The game is played in three twenty minute periods. The winner of the game is the team who has scored more goals against the opposing team at the end of that time.

If a player breaks any of the rules of the game, they can be charged with a penalty. Penalties can be either minor or major. The punishment for incurring a penalty is removal from the ice. Minor penalties warrant two minutes off of the ice, while major penalties are four minutes.

While contact between players is legal in some cases, other types of contact are not and may cause a penalty. Legal contact includes pushing a player with the shoulder, hip or body while the other player is in possession of the puck. It is not allowed to hit a player in the head or back. It is also not permitted to make contact with a player who does not have the puck.

Other forms of contact that are penalized include tripping and holding (grabbing a player). Almost all use of a stick to intentionally harm or hinder another player’s body is also strictly illegal.

If at the end of the three periods, the teams are tied, an overtime period may be played. If after that period is over, the teams are still tied, then the game is declared a tie and neither team wins.

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