Ice Hockey Icon

Ice Hockey Major Penalties

What is a major penalty? When are they called? Get ready to learn about major penalties in ice hockey.


A penalty is called on any player who breaks the rules of ice hockey defined in the rulebook for a league. Penalties result in a power play for the opposing team and can sometimes result in penalty shots if a penalty affected a scoring opportunity.

There are seven (7) main categories of penalties in ice hockey:

In this chapter, we will learn about major penalties.

Major Penalties

A major penalty calls for the offending player to serve five (5) minutes in the penalty box.

Hockey Major Penalty

His team will be short-handed for five minutes, while the opposing team is on a power play. Once the penalty clock expires, the offending team will return to full-strength.

List Of Major Penalties

Here is a list of major penalties in ice hockey with examples:

Game Misconduct Penalties

Players will also receive a game misconduct penalty in addition to a major penalty in these situations...

Injure a player's face or head on:

  • Boarding
  • Charging
  • Elbowing

PRO TIP: If a player receives three (3) major penalties in a game, he will also receive a game misconduct penalty and be suspended from play.

We'll learn more about game misconduct penalties coming up later in this chapter.

Power Play Goals (Major Penalties)

If a goal is made on a power play while a major penalty is being served, the penalty clock will immediately expire and the offending player may return to the ice. The offending team returns to full-strength.

Delayed Penalty Rule

If a major penalty is called on a player and there are already two (2) other players on his team serving penalties, the penalty clock will not start ticking until at least one of the other penalties has expired. However, a substitute can take his place on the ice.

REMEMBER: A team cannot have fewer than four (4) players on the ice (one (1) goalie and three (3) skaters).

Coincidental Penalty Rule

Sometimes calling penalties can be more complicated when multiple players on both teams are called for penalties at the same time.

In this case, the Referees will determine the on-ice strength of both teams by canceling out as many minor penalties, bench minor penalties, double-minor penalties, major penalties, and match penalties as possible.

Search Results