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Broken Stick

Situation 1

What does the word “participate” mean in reference to a player who participates in play with a broken stick?

“Participate” shall mean playing or attempting to play the puck, body-checking or attempting to body-check an opponent, or continuing any action that directly affects the play. Rule Reference 605(a).

A player may carry a broken stick to his players’ bench only if he is in the immediate vicinity of the bench, is completely out of the play and does so immediately upon breaking the stick.

Situation 2

A player has broken his stick, but is unaware of the fact that it is broken. What guidelines must be used when determining whether or not to assess a penalty?

A player is accountable for his actions, so the minor penalty shall be assessed if he participates in play in any manner. Rule Reference 605(a).

Even though the player may not immediately be aware of the broken stick, there is no provision of the rule that allows him to legally participate in play.

In some instances, it may be appropriate for the on-ice officials to verbally alert the player his stick has broken. However, this must be done for the purpose of avoiding a penalty and done with equal diligence by all officials and to both teams.

Situation 3

A player breaks his stick and immediately turns away from the play and skates to his players’ bench, still carrying the broken stick. In skating to his bench with the broken stick, he makes no effort to participate in play nor is he involved in the play. Should the Referee assess the player a minor penalty for not dropping his stick immediately?

It depends on the player’s proximity to the players’ bench at the time he realizes that his stick is broken. Rule Reference 605(a).

The intent of the rule is to manage the safety of all of the players participating in the game – a broken stick can certainly be considered a safety hazard. A good rule of thumb is if the player is in the neutral zone (or close to the bench on the same side of the ice) and does not have to skate near or around any opposing player, this would be allowed and go unpenalized.

However, if the player has to go a great distance and/or in the proximity of opposing players, the stick should be dropped or a penalty assessed. This is a situation where it may be beneficial for the officials to verbally remind the player to drop the broken stick. Then, if he does not, the assessment of the penalty is warranted.

Situation 4

A player has his stick knocked from his hands while being body-checked. The stick is not broken, but the player elects to get a replacement stick at his players’ bench. Is there a penalty to be assessed?

No. Rule Reference 605(b).

No rule has been violated as a player is allowed to receive a replacement stick from the bench provided it has not been thrown on the ice.

Situation 5

The goalkeeper breaks his stick and his teammate hands him a regular player’s stick. May the goalkeeper legally play with this stick?

Yes. Rule References 605(b) and 301(b).

As long as the stick does not exceed the maximum measurements set forth for goalkeeper sticks, he can play with a “player’s” stick.

Situation 6

A stick is thrown onto the ice from the players’ bench to a player who has broken his stick. What penalty is imposed if the stick is picked up by any player?

A bench minor penalty is assessed to the team for throwing articles onto the ice. Rule References 605(b) and 601(b.4).

No penalty is assessed to the player receiving the stick under this rule as only one penalty should be assessed for the same infraction.

Situation 7

May a player on the ice carry two player’s sticks, one which was obtained from the players’ bench, so that he can give one to a teammate who has lost or broken his stick?

Yes. Rule References 605(b) and 301(e).

As long as the player does not participate in the play, he may carry a replacement stick to a teammate. Once he does participate in the play in any matter, however, he must be assessed a minor penalty for illegal equipment.

Situation 8

A player on the penalty bench hands a stick to a teammate whose stick has been broken. What penalty is imposed?

The offending player would be assessed a minor penalty for an equipment violation. Rule Reference 605(b).

A replacement stick can only be obtained from the player’s bench or from a teammate on the ice. Since the stick was obtained from the penalty bench, it was obtained illegally and the player must be penalized.

No penalty is assessed to the player who handed the stick to the teammate, unless he threw the stick onto the ice, in which case the bench minor penalty to the team outlined in the previous situation is assessed.

Situation 9

A player of Team A breaks his stick and takes a replacement stick offered him by a Team B player serving a penalty on the penalty bench. What penalties, if any, are assessed?

The offending player would be assessed a minor penalty for an equipment violation. Rule Reference 605(b).

No penalty is assessed to the player who handed the stick to the opponent, unless he threw the stick onto the ice, in which case the bench minor penalty to his team is assessed while the player receiving the stick is assessed the minor penalty for an equipment violation.

Situation 10

A player on the ice breaks his stick. He drops the broken portion and proceeds toward his player’s bench to get a replacement stick A teammate, who is in the penalty box, hands his stick to the on-ice player with no stick. This action is not observed by the referee, but is observed by the linesman 

who brings it to the attention of the referee at the next stoppage of play. May the referee assess a penalty for this infraction of the playing rules?

Yes. The linesman should stop play and report the incident to the Referee. Rule References 605(b) and 503(d.2).

Even though the illegal stick was not thrown on the ice it did enter the game illegally from the penalty bench. The linesman shall stop play once the offending team gains possession and control of the puck and report the incident to the referee who shall assess the minor penalty for an equipment violation.

Situation 11

The puck goes to a player who is carrying a replacement stick to his goalkeeper. Is it permissible for the player to drop the goalkeeper’s stick and play the puck?

Yes. Rule References 605(b) and 301(e).

No infraction of the rules has occurred provided he does not throw the goalkeeper’s stick in any manner, either at the puck or another player.

Situation 12

The goalkeeper breaks his stick. A player of the same team obtains a goalkeeper’s stick at the players’ bench and, in the act of taking the stick to the goalkeeper, he slides it along the ice to the goalkeeper. Is this action considered to be legal?

Yes. Rule References 605(b), 625(a.7) and 637(a).

No penalty would be imposed unless the stick was thrown in the direction of the puck (Rule 637) or does so for the purpose of distracting an opponent (Rule 625).

Situation 13

Is there a limit to the number of times that sticks can be passed from player to player on the ice, when one player is participating without a stick?

No. Rule References 605(b) and 301(e).

There is no penalty to be assessed as long as any replacement stick is received legally from the players’ bench and no player participates in the play with more than one stick at a time.