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Ice Hockey Match Penalties

What is a match penalty? When are they called? Get ready to learn about match 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 match penalties.

Match Penalties

A match penalty is called on players who purposely injure opposing players. It calls for the offending player to immediately leave the game and head to the locker rooms. A substitute player must come on the ice in his place to serve five (5) minutes in the penalty box.

Hockey Match 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.

REMEMBER: On a match penalty, the offending player cannot return to the game. It's a very serious penalty.

List Of Match Penalties

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

Power Play Goals (Match Penalties)

If a goal is made on a power play while a match 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 match 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.

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