What criteria should be used when determining whether to assess a minor penalty or a major penalty for elbowing?
An elbowing penalty should be assessed anytime a player delivers a check with the elbow extended or uses the elbow as a means to create separation with the opponent. Rule References 611(a & b).
The difference between the minor or major penalty is the degree of force used and the intent of the contact. The minor penalty is assessed in cases where a player may inadvertently swing the elbow to create space (with or without actual contact with the opponent) and makes contact below the head of the opponent or delivers a check with the elbow partially extended from the body to initiate contact.
The major penalty should be assessed in all instances when the elbow is used to initiate contact with excessive force and/or to intimidate or punish the opponent. As with the other infractions, a major plus game misconduct penalty must be assessed in cases where an injury results.