What criteria should be used when determining whether to assess a minor and a misconduct penalty, a major and game misconduct penalty or a match penalty for Checking from Behind?
The minor plus misconduct penalty must be assessed in the following situations:
(1) A player, in an attempt to catch an opponent who is skating ahead of him and not near the boards, pushes the opponent from behind, causing him to fall to the ice.
(2) A player makes minimal body contact from behind to an opponent who is in close proximity to him, and board contact is made. This check should be called as a minor and a misconduct as the result of this “pinch” against the boards from behind.
The major plus a game misconduct penalty, or match penalty, must be called in the following instances:
(1) In every instance where a player forcefully checks an opponent who is standing along the boards (back toward the middle of the ice).
(2) In every instance where a player is thrust head first into the boards or goal frame.
(3) In every instance where injury results from a check from behind, regardless of whether or not board contact is made.
A match penalty must be assessed in all instances when a player clearly checks an opponent from behind with excessive force while the opponent is in a vulnerable position.
Rule Reference 608.
Checking from behind is senseless and extremely dangerous. On-Ice Officials must be sensitive to all checks from behind that occur within the “danger zone,” which is the area approximately ten feet out from the boards. Players who are checked from behind in this area and who then crash into the boards may be at high risk of receiving a serious and possibly life altering injury.