Ice hockey is a high-contact sport. As a result, there are lots of penalties that can be called on players for their safety. When a penalty is called on the ice, three (3) things can happen depending on the situation:
In this chapter, we will learn about power plays in ice hockey.
A power play is a duration of time during a game where a team has a player-advantage on the ice. The other team is short one or more (1+) skaters on the ice due to a penalty committed at the last stoppage of play.
Power Play Terminology
In order to understand power plays, we need to learn a few key terms & concepts:
IMPORTANT: It is possible for multiple players to be sent to the penalty box for both teams. However, no team can have fewer than three (3) skaters and one (1) goalie on the ice at all times.
A team is at full-strength when they have the maximum number of players allowed on the ice, one (1) goalie and five (5) skaters.
The opposing team is on a power play whenever the opposing team is short-handed, since they have a player-advantage on the ice.
IMPORTANT: It is possible for both teams to be short-handed. In this case, both teams are on a power play.
When a team is on a power play, the opposing team is short-handed. They must wait for the penalty clock to expire to return to full-strength. Teams will do whatever they can to kill the penalty and waste time on the ice. One such strategy is called dumping. A team will dump the puck or hit it far out of the defensive zone to kill time on the penalty clock.