skip navigation

Delaying the Game

Situation 1

The puck is trapped between two players along the boards. One or both players are making no effort to play the puck, and instead are waiting for a stoppage of play. What are the options for the Referee?

The Referee may allow play to continue or stop play and assess delay of game penalty(s). Rule References 610(a) and 632(a).

The only time play should be stopped for a puck frozen along the boards is if a player falls on the puck, is knocked down on the puck, or there is a player ready to deliver a check to vulnerable players along the boards.

In other instances, the Referee should verbalize to the players to move the puck and no stoppage occurs. If it becomes necessary for the Referee to stop play because one or both players are making no effort to keep the puck moving, minor penalties for delay of game must be assessed to the player(s) most responsible for causing the stoppage.

Situation 2

The puck is trapped between two players who are physically engaged along the boards. Both players make an effort to play the puck, but the puck has stalled between them. What are the options for the Referee?

The Referee shall allow play to continue as long as the focus of the physically engaged players is on the puck and there is no danger of another player delivering a check to the players who are now considered to be vulnerable or defenseless. Rule References 610(a) and 632(a).

Situation 3

The puck is shot down the ice in the direction of the goal with an attacking player chasing it. The goalkeeper comes out of their crease to play the puck with their stick and waits until the attacking player is close enough to freeze the puck. Is this delay of game?

Yes. Rule Reference 610(b) and Glossary.

The goalkeeper may only freeze the puck while in the “act of playing goal” and has an obligation to play the puck with their stick when provided the opportunity to do so. This action is not within the act of playing goal, but instead is a deliberate action to cause a stoppage of play and must be penalized.

Situation 4

Should the Referee permit a team to begin play with fewer players than it is entitled to have on the ice, when it has other available players on the bench who may play?

No. Rule References 610(h) and 629(e).

In most cases where there is not a valid reason due to injury or penalty, the team may try to set up a “sleeper” play, hoping for a “breakaway.” The Referee and Linesman should check for the proper number of players on the ice before each face- off. The Referee may assess a bench minor penalty (after a warning) on a team refusing to comply.

Situation 5

Team A shoots the puck on goal. The shot hits the goalkeeper in the chest and rebounds into the air. The goalkeeper then bats the puck out of the air and out of the rink. The puck did not touch any other player or object before leaving the arena. Should the Referee assess a minor penalty for delay of game?

No. Rule Reference 610(c).

Even though the puck did not hit any person or object before leaving the rink, the goalkeeper did not have possession and control of the puck prior to the puck being batted out of the playing area. Had the goalkeeper caught the puck first, thereby gaining possession and control, and then batted the puck directly out of the playing area, a minor penalty for delay of game would be required.

Situation 6

When a goal post has been displaced intentionally, does the Referee or Linesman stop the play?

Any of the On-Ice Officials may stop play, but only the Referee may assess the penalty. Rule Reference 610(e).

Regardless of the intent of the player, the play must be stopped immediately if the goal post is displaced.

Situation 7

With both goalkeepers in goal, when should the Referee award a goal for deliberately displacing the goal?

There are three conditions that must be met. They are:

(1)    There was not enough time for the Referee to stop play for a displaced goal before the shot was taken,

(2)    The goal must be deliberately displaced by a defending team player or goalkeeper. And

(3)    The puck would have undoubtedly entered the goal had the goal not been displaced.

Rule Reference 610(e).

This situation generally occurs during a scramble in front of the goal when the defending goalkeeper is out of position with an attacking player in the process of shooting the puck into the open net. This is usually a last ditch effort by the defending team to prevent the goal from being scored. If, in the judgment of the Referee, the attacking team would have scored had the goal not been displaced, a goal must be awarded.

Situation 8

An attacking player shoots the puck so that it rebounds off the end boards onto the back of the defending team’s goal. The goalkeeper covers the puck with their stick, thereby preventing any player from playing the puck off the netting. What should the Referee do?

Stop play and assess a minor penalty to the goalkeeper for delay of game. Rule References 610(g) and 631(b).

This action by the goalkeeper is not within the “act of playing goal.” Since the goalkeeper caused the stoppage of play, the resulting face-off would take place at the nearest end zone face-off spot.

Situation 9

Immediately after a goal has been scored, the entire scoring team leaves the players’ bench to congratulate the player who scored. Should a penalty be given for delaying the game?

No, provided there is no unusual delay. Rule Reference 610(h).

This action, if kept to a minimum amount of time, is in keeping with the guidelines of sportsmanship in amateur hockey. However, this action should be reserved for more important goals and is not an every goal occurrence. If an unusual delay occurs, the Referee shall warn the offending team and issue a bench minor penalty for delay of game for any subsequent violation.

Situation 10

Play is stopped because of an injured player. As soon as the whistle blows, the player gets up and skates away, obviously faking the injury to obtain a stoppage of play. May the Referee call a minor penalty for delaying the game?

Yes. Rule References 610(h) and 206(a).

The Referee must assess a bench minor penalty if a player deliberately delays the game by faking an injury.

Situation 11

During a stoppage in the third period (in this case, icing), the non-offending team uses the brief time to gather at the bench to draw up a quick play. The official conducting the faceoff blows the whistle to indicate the face-off procedure has started and the offending team is still huddled at the bench. What action should the officials take?

The officials should warn the team to take their positions immediately. Failure to do so will result in a bench minor penalty assessed for delay of game. Rule Reference 610(h).

Once the team has been warned regarding a slow line change, any subsequent delay by the same team in the same game will result in a delay of game penalty being assessed.