A penalty in ice hockey is a punishment for inappropriate behavior. Most penalties are enforced by detaining the offending player within a penalty box for a set number of minutes during which the player can not participate in play. The offending team usually may not replace the player on the ice, leaving them short-handed (as opposed to full strength) or penalty killing until the penalty expires and the player returns to the ice. The opposing team is said to be on a power play, having one player more on the ice than the short-handed team. While standards vary somewhat between leagues, most leagues recognize several common degrees of penalty, as well as common infractions. The statistic used to track penalties was traditionally called Penalty Infraction Minutes (PIM), although the alternate term Penalties in Minutes has become common in recent years.
The referee(s) make most penalty calls. Linesmen generally may call only certain obvious technical infractions such as "too many players on the ice". When a penalty is called, the official will put an arm in the air; the official will stop play only once the offending team has control of the puck, or play is stopped by normal means. A delayed penalty is one in which the a penalty is called but play is not yet stopped because the opposing team retains the puck. The goaltender of the non-offending team will often go to the players' bench upon seeing the arm signal to allow an extra attacker on the ice until the play is stopped.
In the NHL, if the non-offending team scores a goal prior to play being stopped on a delayed minor penalty call, the penalty is waived. For major penalties and match penalties, this is not the case, and the penalties are enforced in the usual manner, whether or not a goal is scored.
The offending player(s) are sent to the penalty box where they must remain until the penalty has expired. Typically a team will not be allowed to replace the penalized player on the ice; the player will return directly to the ice once the penalty has expires. This creates a powerplay during which the penalized team will have one player fewer than their opponent and is said to be "short-handed". If two players on a team are in the penalty box at the same time, their team will be in a "five-on-three" situation (as is customary, the goalies are not counted in this expression). Additional players may be penalized, but a team will never play with fewer than three skaters on the ice. Additional penalties will be delayed until one of the earlier penalties has expired.
In leagues which play with a four-on-four overtime, the first penalty leaves the teams at four-on-three, while a second penalty to the same team during the first results in the opposing team adding a player, making the penalty five-on-three until the first stoppage of play after second the penalty expires. Similarly, in the Southern Professional Hockey League, where they play three-on-three overtime, each minor penalty results in the opposing team adding a skater to the ice. In the final two minutes of overtime, however, officials instead award a penalty shot to the team which would have received the powerplay, mainly to give the team a better chance at winning the game, since a powerplay would be cut short by the end of the game.
While goaltenders can be assessed penalties, these will be served by another player from their team who was on the ice at the time of the infraction.
While a team is short-handed, they are permitted to ice the puck as they wish. Being shorthanded during the final minutes of a game in which the opponents take their goaltender out for an extra attacker affords the short-handed team the ability to shoot at the empty net without the penalty of icing if they miss.
The National Hockey League recognizes the common penalty degrees of minor and major penalties, as well as the more severe misconduct, game misconduct, and match penalties. There are complicated rules as to how the penalties are enforced, but the basic principles are as follows (listed in order from least to most serious penalties):
A minor penalty is the most common form of penalty, which is assessed for common infractions. Players who receive a minor penalty will remain off the ice for two or four minutes of play during which their team will be short-handed. If a goal is scored against a team short-handed by a minor penalty, the penalty ends immediately. Similarly, if a goal is scored against the offending team on a delayed penalty which would be a minor penalty, the penalty is negated. However, if a team has been assessed multiple minor penalties, a goal against them will end only the earliest assessed minor penalty.
In the NHL and U.S. college hockey, if minor penalties are assessed to one player on each team at the same time ("coincidental") while teams are at full strength, the teams will each play with four skaters in "four-on-four" play. Since neither team is short-handed, a goal in four-on-four play does not end either penalty, instead, it halves the penalty time. In USA Hockey and IIHF, however, coincidental minor penalties result in normal full strength hockey, and the players may not return to the ice until the first stoppage in play after the penalties expire.
Bench minors are minor penalties which are assessed against the team as a whole; any player other than the goaltender may be selected to serve a bench minor. For certain offences, a player may be assessed a double minor, which simply entails serving two consecutive minor penalties. They are typically issued for instances of high-sticking which result in a laceration. Though not part of official USA Hockey rules , some "in-house" amateur or non-checking leagues instruct referees to call a double minor for stick penalties such as high-sticking, slashing, tripping with the stick, hooking or cross-checking, regardless of whether an injury was sustained as a result. If a goal is scored during the first penalty of a double minor, the first penalty expires and the second immediately begins. If a goal is scored against the offending team on a delayed penalty that is to be a double minor, the first penalty is negated and the second is enforced as a normal minor.
A major penalty is a stronger degree of penalty for a more severe infraction of the rules than a minor. Most penalties which incur a major are more severe instances of minor penalty infractions; the exception is fighting which always draws a major. A player who receives a major penalty will remain off the ice for five minutes of play during which his team will be short-handed. A major penalty will not end if a goal is scored against the short-handed team.
If major penalties are assessed to one player on each team at the same time, they may be substituted for and teams will not be reduced by one player on the ice. They will remain in the penalty box until the first stoppage of play following the expiry of the penalties. This commonly occurs with majors for fighting.
Earning three major penalties in a game results in an automatic game misconduct penalty; though a number of infractions that result in a major penalty automatically impose a game misconduct as well.
A player who receives a misconduct penalty will remain off the ice for ten minutes. The player may be substituted for on the ice and may return to the ice at the first stoppage in play following the expiry of the penalty (unless other penalties were assessed).
In a game on 12 October 2008 between the Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes, a penalty for "inciting" was assessed to the Anaheim Ducks after a fight. This penalty was for 10 minutes and so can be seen as a misconduct, though at the time only 3 tenths of a second remained in the game. No mention of this being a major penalty/misconduct was made.
A player (whether a skater or goaltender) who receives a game misconduct penalty is ejected, and is sent to the team's dressing room. The player may be immediately substituted for on the ice; however, in practice, game misconduct penalties are normally assessed along with five minute major penalties and another player will serve this penalty first. Regardless of the time of the penalty, the player is charged with ten penalty minutes for statistical purposes. This rule also applies to match penalties (see below).
Any player who is dismissed three times in an NHL season incurs a one-match ban, and further discipline is possible for subsequent ejections. Salary lost as a result of a ban is usually donated to a league-supported charity or program to assist retired players. An example of a game misconduct penalty is getting out of the penalty box before the penalty time is over.
A player who receives a match penalty is ejected. A match penalty is imposed for deliberately injuring or attempting to injure another player. Any player other than the goaltender must be chosen to go to the penalty box to serve a five minute major penalty during which he may not be substituted for on the ice. If the goaltender receives a match penalty, another player serves the time so that the team may immediately insert a backup. In practice, an NHL match penalty and game misconduct are virtually identical in application. Further, offending players are suspended from the next game their team plays, and often face hearings with the possibility of a lengthier ban.
In NCAA hockey, a similar penalty called a game disqualification results in automatic suspension for the number of games equal to the number of game disqualification penalties the player has been assessed in that season
See main article: Penalty shot (ice hockey). A penalty shot is a special case of penalty for cases in which a scoring opportunity was lost as a result of an infraction (like being tripped or hooked while on a breakaway; or a player covers the puck with their hand inside the crease). The player who was deprived of the opportunity, or one chosen by the team, is allowed an unchallenged opportunity to score on the opposing goaltender as compensation. Apart from their use as a penalty, penalty shots also form the shootout that is used to resolve ties in many leagues and tournaments.
Similar to a game misconduct, gross misconduct penalties were eliminated from the NHL rulebook on June 20, 2007. It was imposed for an action of extreme unsportsmanlike conduct, such as abuse of officials or spectators, and could be assessed to any team official in addition to a player. Infractions which garnered a gross misconduct now earn a game misconduct. The penalty had last been assessed in 2000.ggg
When two players on one team are in the penalty box at the same time, it becomes a 5 on 3 situation. When a third player of the same team gets a penalty before either of the other two have expired, it remains 5 on 3 and it becomes a stacked penalties situation. This means the third penalty will start when one of the others expire, whether the time expires or the opposing team scores on the powerplay. This is because there can be no fewer than three skaters for each team on the ice at one time.Google.ca
In the NHL, infractions that result in penalties include:
Other leagues typically assess penalties for additional infractions. For example, most adult social leagues and women's hockey leagues ban all body checking (a penalty for roughing or illegal check is called), and in most amateur leagues, any head contact whatsoever results in a penalty.Google.ca
Coaches or players may occasionally opt to commit an infraction on purpose. In some cases, it is hoped that the infraction can be concealed from the officials, avoiding a penalty. Gordie Howe was one player renowned for his ability to commit infractions without being called.
Hockey players that opt to commit an infraction despite the punishment do so in order to degrade the opposing team's morale or momentum, or boost their own. This is most common with fighting, because the likely coincidental penalties do not result in a hindrance for their team. Hockey players also sometimes commit infractions with the hope of drawing the other player into a committing a retaliatory infraction, and being penalized, while not being caught themselves. Hockey players known as "pests" specialize their game in the strategy of trying to draw opponents into taking a penalty.
Another common reason to commit an infraction is as last resort when an opposing player has a scoring opportunity, when a penalty kill is the preferable alternative to the scoring opportunity. These are referred to on most broadcasts as "Good Penalties".
The record for the most penalty minutes in one season is held by Dave Schultz of the Philadelphia Flyers with 472 in the 1974-75 NHL season. The record for most penalty minutes in a career is held by Tiger Williams who had 3,966 over 14 years. The active penalty minute leader is Chris Chelios from the Detroit Red Wings, who has accumulated 2,873 PIM over 25 seasons.
The most penalties in a single game occurred in a fight-filled match between the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers on March 5, 2004 when 419 penalty minutes were handed out. Statistically, a game misconduct counts as 10 penalty minutes, in addition to other penalties handed out. In rare cases (as a result of multiple infractions, for instance the player participating in multiple fights), multiple game misconducts may be handed to a player - that is merely statistical, not (automatically) a multi-game suspension, although the league will often suspend the player in a subsequent decision.