An icing is called when the attacking team shoots the puck past the opposing goal line before crossing center ice. Upon an Icing infraction being called, the referee whistles and a faceoff takes place in the offending team's defensive zone. This rule is meant to prevent an unnecessary waste of time by continuously shooting the puck in the opponent's zone.
In the following cases, an icing will not be called:
- If an opponent touches the puck after it has been shot and before it crosses the goal line
- If a teammate touches the puck past the red line (in this case it is considered a missed pass rather than icing)
- If an opponent could have touched the puck but refrained from doing so
- If the offending team is shorthanded
In certain leagues including the NHL, touch icing is used. In touch icing, the whistle will not be blown by the referee unless a defending player touches the puck before a player of the offending team. In this way, a faster team can "dump" the puck to the other end without infraction provided they can reach it before the other team.