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Change of Players

Situation 1

Either team (visiting or home) attempts to make an additional player change after the Referee has signaled their allotted time for the player change has expired. What procedure should the Referee follow to ensure the proper players are on the ice for a face-off?

When the Referee notices the late player change by either team, they should immediately establish a presence and instruct the late players to go back to their bench and any player who was originally changed must proceed to the faceoff location. Rule Reference 205(a).

Once the designated time has expired, no more changes shall be allowed and the Referee must be assertive in immediately stepping in to prevent any additional changes. The linesman not conducting the face-off can also assist in this process. If the Referee has to send a player back to the bench, he should also then warn the coach that any subsequent violations may result in a bench minor penalty for delay of game. The Referee should be aware of any deliberate attempts to delay the game through this procedure and assess the appropriate penalty, but also needs to be conscious of simple disorganization by a volunteer coach and work with them to speed up the process.

Situation 2

Are all players, including the goalkeepers, bound by the “at the bench” criteria when they are substituted for by another player?

Yes. Rule Reference 205(b).

On any player change, the retiring player or players, including goalkeepers, must be at the bench and out of the play. When, in the course of making a substitution, either the player entering or retiring from the game deliberately plays the puck in any manner or makes any physical contact with an opponent while both players are on the ice, the infraction of “too many players on the ice” shall be called.

Situation 3

During a player change, the Team A retiring player is in the vicinity of the players’ bench and does not make any effort to play the puck or the body of the opponent. However, his replacement comes onto the ice at the other end of the bench and immediately engages in play in a manner that changes a 2-1 break for Team B into a 2-2 attack. Is this considered a too many players infraction?

Yes. Rule Reference 205(b).

In this situation, Team A has gained a competitive advantage during the player change, even though neither the retiring player nor the replacement player has directly played the puck or an opponent. The fact they are still both on the ice and Team A gained a territorial or positional advantage as a result of the change is considered to be a violation of the rule and should be penalized.

Situation 4

In the course of making a substitution, while play is in progress, the player entering the game is accidentally struck by the puck while the retiring player is still on the ice. Has an infraction of the rules occurred?

No. Rule Reference 205(b).

If the puck accidentally strikes either player in the process of a change, play must continue without a penalty, provided that the player who was struck by the puck makes no attempt to play the puck until the player change is complete.

Situation 5

The Team A goalkeeper skates toward his players’ bench during play. While he is approximately 30 feet away from the bench, a teammate enters the play as a substitute for the goalkeeper. While the opposing team has possession and control of the puck (the goalkeeper is still moving toward the bench and his replacement is now involved in the play) the goalkeeper turns and skates back toward his goal to defend against an opposing shot on goal. Does this infraction of the rules constitute “premature substitution” or “too many players on the ice?”

Too many players on the ice. Rule References 205(b & c).

Once the substituting player enters the ice, the goalkeeper is considered to be substituted for. If the goalkeeper participates in play while this condition exists, a penalty for “too many players on the ice” shall be assessed to the offending team.

Situation 6

Team A, losing late in the game, substitutes its goalkeeper for an extra attacker. Before the change is completed, Team B gains possession of the puck and carries it into Team A’s Defending Zone. The substitute player for the goalkeeper goes onto the ice before the goalkeeper is at the players’ bench and out of play (noted by the back Linesman). A Team A player gains possession of the puck behind his own goal and the whistle stops play. Are any penalties to be assessed and where is the ensuing face-off to take place?

No penalties are to be assessed, as this is a “premature substitution for the goalkeeper” violation. The ensuing face-off must take place at the nearest end zone face-off spot. Rule Reference 205(c).

No penalty is assessed for premature substitution of the goalkeeper. Normally, the puck will be in the offending team’s attacking half of the ice when premature substitution occurs, in which case the ensuing face-off will take place at center ice. If the puck is in the offending team’s defending half of the ice, as in this situation, the ensuing face-off will become a last play face-off.

Situation 7

The goalkeeper is being replaced by a player, but his replacement plays the puck while the goalkeeper is twenty feet away from his players’ bench. Is this a “too many players on the ice” violation or “premature substitution” for the goalkeeper?

This is a “premature substitution” for the goalkeeper violation. Rule Reference 205(c).

Goalkeeper substitutions are governed by a different rule than too many players on the ice. In this instance, the “premature substitution” for the goalkeeper violation has occurred the moment the substitute player entered the ice prior to the goalkeeper being at the bench.

Situation 8

During a stoppage of play, a goalkeeper is replaced on the ice by a player serving as an extra attacker. When is the goalkeeper permited to re-enter the game?

The goalkeeper can return at any time. Rule Reference 205(c).

A goalkeeper may be changed for a player during a stoppage and return as soon as play resumes unless the substitution was made under Rule 205(d). An example of this is they may have put an extra attacker on the ice during a power play or late in a close game because the face-off was in the attacking zone. However, once play resumes the puck enters back into their defensive zone so they want to place their goalkeeper back on the ice and may do so through a proper player change.

Situation 9

During play, a goalkeeper is replaced on the ice by a player. When is the goalkeeper permitted to re-enter the game?

The goalkeeper can return at anytime. Rule References 205(c).

A goalkeeper may change on the fly during play with a player and return at any time through a proper player change.

Situation 10

A substitute goalkeeper enters the game during a stoppage of play. Is he allowed to warm-up?

No, unless either team uses their time-out. Rule References 205(d) and 636(f).

The goalkeeper would be allowed a warm-up only provided either team uses their time-out.

Situation 11

A substitute goalkeeper enters the game during a stoppage of play. Is the original goalkeeper allowed to return to play once the ensuing face-off has been completed?

No, he must wait until the next stoppage of play to re-enter the game. Rule References 205(d).

A goalkeeper can be substituted for by another goalkeeper at any time, but the original goalkeeper must wait until the next stoppage of play to re-enter the game.

Situation 12

A team’s regular goalkeeper is replaced by the substitute goalkeeper during a stoppage of play. Before the next stoppage occurs, the substitute goalkeeper is replaced by an additional attacking player. Should the Referee permit this substitution to go un-penalized?

Yes. Rule References 205(c & d).

There is no rule to preclude a “player” from replacing the substitute goalkeeper during play.

Situation 13

The play is stopped due to the injury of a goalkeeper. After recovering quickly, he skates to his players’ bench to wipe his face with a towel. Is this action permissible or must he be replaced?

The goalkeeper must be replaced or a bench minor penalty assessed. Rule Reference 205(e).

Any time that a goalkeeper goes to his players’ bench during a stoppage of play, he must be replaced or penalized. If replaced, the goalkeeper is not allowed to return to the game until the next stoppage of play.

Situation 14

If a player on the penalty bench remains there after the expiration of his penalty (while his team is entitled to return to full strength), may his team place another skater on the ice as long as the originally penalized player remains on the penalty bench?

No. Rule Reference 205(f).

A team may replace the penalized player only after he has left the penalty bench by way of the ice and returned to his players’ bench. If he elects to remain on the penalty bench, either by intent or error, the team must continue to skate short-handed until the player returns to the ice. For a violation of this rule, a bench minor penalty must be assessed to the offending team.

Situation 15

Who determines the intent of the act and therefore the possible application of a penalty shot when a Linesman calls “too many players on the ice” (substitution for the goalkeeper not involved) with less than two minutes remaining in regulation time or any time during overtime?

The Referee. Rule Reference 205(g).

The key word in this rule is “intent.” For example, a coach whose team is winning late in the game with two players already on the penalty bench, serving minor or major penalties, could deliberately put extra players on the ice and thereby neutralize the opponent’s power play.

Other possible scenarios that could be deemed to be deliberate is a losing team late in the game who intentionally places an additional player on the ice to gain an advantage, or puts the goalkeeper back on the ice after being pulled without removing a player.