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There are a lot of different infractions that can be called during a hockey game. These infractions are called penalties and usually end up with the player going to the penalty box for a finite amount of time. This amount of time depends on the nature of the infraction as well as the league in which you play.


There are 2 types of penalties, minor and major. For a minor penalty, the time passed in the penalty box is 2 minutes (3 minutes running time). As for a major infraction, it usually results in a 5 minute penalty (7 for running time) and often times a suspension of one game, depending on the infraction committed.

A third options exists in some cases: the penalty shot. A penalty shot is called when a player would have a clear chance for a breakaway (alone against the goaltender) but is obstructed from doing so by another player. The puck is then placed at center ice, the obstructed player takes the puck and attempts to score on the goaltender. Meanwhile, all other players must be at their bench and cannot interfere with the penalty shot. Once the penalty shot is over, play resumes via a faceoff at center ice, if the player scored, or by a faceoff beside the goaltender if the penalty shot was unsuccessful.


Minor infractions

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

A - back to top

B - back to top

  • Bench minor: the coach, a member of the hockey staff or sometimes a player on the bench complaining/acting unruly towards the officials on the ice.
  • Boarding: hitting/body checking a player from the opposing team into the boards when they are positioned 2-3 feet (~1 meter) from the boards before the body check.

C - back to top

  • Cross-checking: hitting an opponent with the portion of your stick between your hands.

D - back to top

  • Delay of game: a player/coach purposely delaying the resuming of the game. In the NHL, whenever a player shoots the puck over the glass in his/her defensive zone, without the puck either being redirected or touching the glass, a delay of game penalty is assessed to that player.

E - back to top

  • Elbowing: using your elbow to hit an opponent.

F - back to top

  • Face-off violation: when the linesman/referee decides that the players on the ice for one of the team are not acting properly (e.g. the wingers are not positioned properly), he/she will remove the player taking the face-off and another player on the ice will take his/her place. If this happens twice for the same team on the same face-off, a penalty is called for face-off violation.
  • Falling on(or holding) the puck: a player deliberately falling on/holding the puck to prevent players from the opposing team to touch it. The player can fall on the puck accidentally, but he/she has to try to get him/herself up without too much of a delay. A player can also swat the puck with his/her gloves in the defensive zone, but he/she cannot close his/her hand on it.

G - back to top

H - back to top

  • High stick: hitting a player of the opposing team above his/her elbows with your stick.
  • Hit to the head: hitting an opponent in the head is now considered an infraction in th eNHL. The referee can decide if the hit deserves a minor or major penalty. Furthermore, the league may decide to suspend the player for an amount of games depending on the severity of the hit and that player's past history.
  • Hitting from behind: body checking an opponent when his/her back is towards you.
  • Holding: using your arms or any other part of your body to hold an opponent and restrain him/her from playing the game.
  • Holding the stick: holding the stick of your opponent using a part of your body.
  • Hooking: using your stick to "hook" or to impede the movement of a player from the opposing team.

I - back to top

  • Illegal use of equipment: using an illegal piece of equipment to play the game. (e.g. a broken hockey stick to play, illegal dimensions of equipment)
  • Interference: preventing a player from the opposing team from getting to the puck without him/her having control of the puck. If a player does not have the puck, you can not body check him/her.

J - back to top

K - back to top

  • Kneeing: using your knee to hit an opponent.

L - back to top

M - back to top

N - back to top

O - back to top

P - back to top

Q - back to top

R - back to top

  • Roughing: acting violently/roughly towards a player from the opposing team.

S - back to top

  • Slashing: using your stick to hit a player from the opposing team using a slashing motion.

T - back to top

  • Tripping: using your stick or any part of your body to make a player from the opposing team trip/fall down.

U - back to top

  • Unsportsmanlike conduct: acting in an unruly/disrespectful/violent way towards either other players on the ice or the officials.

V - back to top

W - back to top

X - back to top

Y - back to top

Z - back to top


Major infractions - back to top

  • Attempt to Injure: attempting to injure another player on the ice.
  • Butt-ending: using the tip of hockey stick closest to the upper hand to hit/jab an opponent.
  • Fighting: removing your gloves and fighting with a player of the opposing team.
  • Leaving the (player/penalty) bench: when a player exits either the player bench or penalty bench to go and fight. Even if the player leaving one of the benches does not fight, exiting the bench when a fight occurs is considered a penalty.
  • Spearing: using your hockey stick to spear/thrust into the other players body.


Read 2669 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 October 2012 19:37

Hockey Experience

  • 20 years of playing hockey and counting
  • 5 years of competitive hockey (novice, atom, pee-wee (2 years) and bantam)
  • won the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (N.O.H.A.) title 4 times
  • won the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) title once
  • finished third for the OHA twice


Stéphane has been playing hockey since he was 4 years old. He has played competitive throughout is youth until his late teenage years when school work came before competitive hockey. He played defence for the first few years of his career and then moved as a forward, where he is still playing. Right now he's playing hockey in a men's league in the Ottawa region.

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