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Minor Penalties

Situation 1

Are there any instances in which a bench minor penalty does not have to be served by a player on the ice at the time of the infraction?

No. Rule References 402(b).

Bench minor penalties must be served by a non-penalized player who was on the ice at the time of the infraction.

In those rare occasions when a bench minor penalty is assessed and there are no players on the ice (e.g. before the start of the game, during intermissions, during a penalty shot, etc.), the team may designate any non-penalized player, except a goalkeeper, to serve the bench minor penalty.

Situation 2

A player is assessed a minor penalty and then his team is assessed a bench minor penalty during the same stoppage of play. The player’s Coach requests that the player also serve the bench minor penalty? Should the Referee permit this?

No. Rule Reference 402(b).

Because the bench minor penalty is assessed to the team and not to an individual player, the Coach must designate a non- penalized player who was on the ice at the time of the infraction to serve the bench minor penalty. The team will then play shorthanded by two players for two minutes, unless a goal is scored that would terminate a minor penalty.

Situation 3

May a penalized player serve a bench minor penalty that has been subsequently assessed to his team?

No. Rule Reference 402(b).

The player designated to serve a bench minor penalty must be a non-penalized player, except goalkeeper, who was on the ice at the time of the infraction.

Situation 4

During play, Team A inadvertently plays while having six players plus a goalkeeper on the ice. When the team gains possession of the puck the Referee stops the play and assesses a bench minor penalty for “too many players on the ice.” The Coach vehemently protests the call and is subsequently assessed an additional bench minor penalty before the ensuing face-off. May the Coach designate the same player to serve both bench minor penalties.

No. Rule Reference 402(b)

The team must designate two players who were on the ice at the time of the infractions, except a goalkeeper, to serve these penalties. Because each infraction is considered to be a separate penalty, the team must play short-handed by two players for two minutes. They do not have the option of playing shorthanded by one player for four minutes.

Situation 5

A team with only six players is short-handed by two players and is subsequently assessed a bench minor penalty. May the first of the penalized players be designated to serve the delayed bench minor penalty after his penalty expires?

No. Rule References 402(b) and 201(a).

The player designated to serve a bench minor penalty must be a non-penalized player, except a goalkeeper, who was on the ice at the time of the infraction. If the team is unable to put the proper number of players on the ice because of this situation, the game shall be declared a forfeit.

Situation 6

Is there a general rule of thumb for determining which penalty, if any, expires as the result of a goal scored by the opposing team?

Yes. There are many situations where a minor penalty terminates as the result of a goal being scored against a team that is shorthanded. Rule References 402(c) and 402(f).

NOTE: “Shorthanded” is to be interpreted as meaning that the team is below the on-ice numerical strength of its opponent.

When a goal is scored, ask yourself:

  • Is the team that was scored upon below the on-ice numerical strength of its opponents?    
    • If NO, take no action.
  • If YES, Is there as least 1 non-coincident minor or bench minor penalty being served by the team that was scored upon?    
    • If NO, take no action.
  • If YES, Terminate the minor or bench minor penalty with the least time remaining on the clock.    

The following guidelines will assist the Referee in making the correct decision as to which penalty, if any, expires when a goal is scored:

  1. When both teams are at equal on-ice numerical strength, no penalty can expire as the result of a goal.
  2. The penalty that expires is the minor or bench minor penalty then being served with the least time remaining on the penalty clock.
  3. A major penalty cannot expire as the result of a goal scored.
  4. A double minor penalty is always treated as two separate minor penalties, not one four-minute penalty.
  5. Any time two minor penalties to different players of the same team expire at the same time, the Captain has the choice as to which player will return first.

The following examples illustrate how rule 402 is to be applied when terminating a penalty as the result of a goal being scored.

Click to view examples.

Situation 7

Is a “substitute” player on the penalty bench entitled to return to the ice if the penalty which he is serving terminates upon the scoring of a goal?

Yes. The rules permit such return of a player, who is governed by the same rules as if the penalty was assessed to him. Rule Reference 402(c).

Examples of a “substitute” player include:

(a) A player serving the goalkeeper’s penalty(s).

(b) A player serving the penalty(s) for a player who was injured.

(c) A player serving his team’s bench minor penalty.

Situation 8

Is an “additional” player on the penalty bench entitled to return to the ice if the penalty which he is “serving” terminates upon the scoring of a goal?

Yes. The “additional” player is governed by the same rules as if the penalty was assessed to him. Rule Reference 402(c).

In the case of an “additional” player, this person is on the penalty bench in addition to the originally penalized player (or his substitute). The player is not actually “serving” a penalty, but rather is on the penalty bench to allow for a proper return to the game (by way of the ice) upon expiration of the penalty during play.

Examples of an “additional” player include:

(a)    A player serving the minor/major penalty time to a player who was also assessed a misconduct penalty.

(b)    A player serving the minor penalty time to a player who was also assessed a coincident minor or major penalty.

Situation 9

A player is assessed a minor and a misconduct penalty. An additional player enters the penalty bench in order to return upon the expiration of the minor penalty. If the opposing team 

scores a goal that would entitle the minor penalty to terminate, does the misconduct penalty time begin immediately?

Yes. Once a penalty has terminated, the serving of the next penalty begins so as to make the penalties consecutive. Rule References 402(c), 404(a), 409(b).

This ruling applies in all examples where the termination of a penalty does not complete the serving of all penalties assessed to a player.

Situation 10

The goalkeeper is assessed a minor plus misconduct penalty.

How are these penalties served?

Two, one “substitute” and one “additional”, players will need to be placed on the penalty bench. Rule References 402(c), 404(a), and 407(a).

A player on the ice at the time of the original infraction serves all of the goalkeeper’s penalties as a “substitute.” An “additional” player, who can be any player (non-goalkeeper) who is not then assessed or serving a penalty, also enters the penalty bench in order to return to the ice when the minor penalty expires.

If the minor penalty terminates upon the scoring of a goal by the opponents, the “additional” player returns to the ice, and the misconduct portion (served by the “substitute” player) of the goalkeeper’s penalty begins immediately.

Situation 11

A goal is scored on a penalty shot against a team that is below the on-ice numerical strength of its opponent due to a minor penalty. Does the minor penalty expire because of the goal scored?

No. Rule References 402(c) and 406(a)

The goal scored on the penalty shot does not affect any additional penalty being served or signaled. To do so would be, in effect, terminating two penalties for the same goal.

Situation 12

Both teams are serving one non-coincident minor penalty and the Referee is signaling an additional minor penalty to Team A. Play stops when Team B scores a goal. Does any penalty terminate?

The signaled penalty is washed out as a result of the goal and the penalties on the clock remain. Rule References 402(c) and 409(b).

The teams were at equal strength when the goal was scored, therefore no penalty that was on the clock would terminate. The delayed penalty is then washed out just as it would have been had both teams been playing at full strength.

Situation 13

Team A is short-handed by one minor penalty. With play in progress, the Referee signals another minor penalty on Team A. Before play is stopped, Team B scores. Which penalties, if any, are washed out because of the goal?

The minor penalty being served is terminated and the delayed penalty is assessed in the normal manner. Rule References 402(c) and Rule 409(b).

Only one minor penalty is terminated as the result of a goal being scored.

Situation 14

During play, an infraction calling for a major penalty is signaled on a Team A player. As play continues, the same player commits another infraction calling for a minor penalty. Before play is completed, Team B scores a goal. Which penalties, if any, are washed out as a result of the goal being scored?

The minor penalty is washed out, as a result of the goal and the major penalty is assessed in the normal manner. Rule References 402(c) and 409(b).

A major penalty is never terminated, or washed out, as a result of a goal being scored.

Situation 15

At 7:00 player A1 is assessed a minor penalty and player B1 is assessed a double minor penalty. The penalty to A1 and one of the penalties to B1 are considered coincident, so Team B places an “additional” player on the penalty bench and will play shorthanded for two minutes. After the minor penalty has expired and Team B returns to equal strength, Team A scores a goal. Does the second minor penalty to B1 terminate as a result of the goal?

No. Rule References 402(c) and 402(f).

At the time the goal was scored, both teams were at equal on- ice strength, so no penalty can be terminated as a result of the goal. In this instance, B1 will have to serve the entire coincident minor penalty and is eligible to return at the first stoppage of play after 11:00.

Situation 16

In the following situation, what penalties are shown on the clock and what is the on-ice strength when play resumes?

Click to view situation.

Player X’s penalty expires as a result of the Team B goal. Under most circumstances Player Z’s penalty would then go on the clock, however, the fact that this would then show minor penalties starting at the same time for both teams requires that this situation be handled as an exception. Even though Team A’s penalties were assessed at different times, Player Z’s penalty must be viewed as coincidental with Player A’s penalty since they will both start at the same time on the game clock. Rule References 402(c) and 402(f).

Play will resume with Team A having Player Y in the penalty box and Team B at full strength.

Situation 17

Player B1 receives a double minor penalty and player A1 receives a minor penalty at 7:00. Both players enter the penalty bench and Team B plays short-handed by one player. Team A scores at 8:00, terminating the minor penalty to B1 that is being served by an additional Team B player. How much time does B1 have left to serve?

Two minutes plus a stoppage of play. Rule References 402(c) and 402(f).

In this instance, the coincident minor penalty will start when the first penalty is terminated as a result of the goal. B1 will be eligible to return at the first stoppage of play after two minutes.

Situation 18

Player A1 receives a minor penalty and is sent to the penalty bench. Prior to the ensuing face-off, a Team B player receives a minor penalty. Are these minor penalties considered to be coincident?

Yes. Rule Reference 402(f).

Coincident minor penalties occur any time that they are assessed during the same stoppage of play.

Situation 19

Player A1 receives a minor plus a misconduct penalty and player B2 receives a minor penalty at 5:00. Both players enter the penalty bench immediately. Is it necessary for Team A to place an additional player on the penalty bench?

No. Rule Reference 402(f).

In this instance, the minor penalties assessed are coincident and offset. Thus, player A1 must serve both the minor and misconduct penalties. He is released from the penalty bench at the first stoppage of play following expiration of both penalties.

Placing an additional player on the penalty bench is only necessary for substitution purposes when a penalty expires and the team is entitled to have another player on the ice.

Situation 20

Player A1 receives a double minor penalty and player B2 receives a minor penalty at 5:00. Both players enter the penalty bench and Team A is to play short-handed by one player. Is it necessary for Team A to place an additional player on the penalty bench?

Yes. Rule References 402(f) and 205(d).

Team A must place an additional player on the penalty bench to return to the ice upon the expiration of the non-coincident minor penalty to player A1.

Situation 21

A Team B player is fouled from behind and the Referee deems that the infraction warrants a penalty shot. Play is stopped when a Team B player commits a minor penalty infraction. What are Team B’s options?

Team B may elect to 1) choose the penalty shot or 2) choose the optional minor penalty. Rule References 402(f) and 406(a).

If Team B chooses the penalty shot they will play shorthanded by one player upon the completion of the shot. If they elect to accept the optional minor penalty in lieu of the penalty shot, the coincident minor penalty rule applies and the on-ice numerical strength is unchanged.

Situation 22

The Referee has signaled a delayed minor penalty to player A1. During the delay, player B2 scores a goal and subsequently slashes a Team A player, after the goal, for which the Referee assesses a minor penalty. Are these two minor penalties considered to be coincident?

No. Rule References 402(f) and 409(b).

The goal nullifies the penalty to A1, thus the only penalty to be assessed is the penalty to B2 as this penalty occurred after the goal was scored.

Situation 23

Both teams are skating at full strength when a Team A player is signaled for a minor penalty. The stoppage occurs when a Team B player commits a penalty infraction. Even though the penalties did not occur at the same time, does the Coincident Minor Penalty rule apply, allowing both teams to resume play at full strength?

Yes. Rule Reference 402(f).

The penalties are assessed at the same stoppage of play, therefore the coincident penalty rule applies.

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