Hockey Rules Made Easy

If you're a newcomer to the game of hockey you may find the rules of the game a bit confusing, but with a little self-educating you'll pick up them right away. When you understand the hockey penalties, you'll find the game more enlightening regardless of whether you're playing or enjoying a hockey game as a spectator. The rules for hockey aren't too terribly complicated, just pretty different from other sports. Once you learn the rules, you may be ready to complain about the ref's calls like everyone does in other sports, but be careful about arguing with the referees because hockey is a pretty disciplined game. The captain of a hockey team is the one person designated to talk to officials about the rules of the game. Each team has a captain and alternate captains.

The alternates can talk to the officials about a play if the captain, for one reason or another, is not on the ice. In hockey, penalties are assessed by referees for poor behavior. Different penalties have different consequences, some resulting in a team playing short one or two players, but no more than two. When a player is taken out of the game because of a penalty, the play that occurs with the player's team being short-handed is referred to a power play for the other team and a penalty kill for the team that is penalized.

There are minor penalties, major penalties, misconduct penalties and severe penalties. With severe penalties, such as trying to injure another player, a player may be suspended or fined. With a minor penalty, the player sits out for two minutes or until the other team scores while the penalized player's team continues to play with a shortage of one player. For major penalties a player warms the bench for five minutes regardless of whether or not the other team scores. A misconduct penalty earns a player a ten minute outage, but during the time a misconduct penalty is being served by a player, the player's team doesn't have to play short-handed.

The term "offsetting" refers to a situation where both teams have players that are penalized for the same incident. The players involved in the incident have to serve their penalty time, but neither team has to play short-handed in such situations. Some specific rules of hockey clearly state what the penalty or procedure is for certain behaviors, but some are left up to the judgment of the referee who is the final authority on penalty assessments. .

By: Jason Tarasi

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