Hockey Delay of Game Penalty

ice hockey delay of game penalty

In hockey, a delay of game penalty is assessed when a member of the penalized team, or the team as a whole, commits a violation of the rules, which slows down the pace or flow of the game. As a result of being penalized, the team will be given a two-minute minor penalty, placing a player in the penalty box.


Definition

Delay of game is an interesting penalty call in hockey since it can be called for many different reasons. The general rule of thumb for a delay of game penalty is if a player, coach, or even fans intentionally disrupt the pace and flow of the game, they will be assessed a two-minute minor penalty. Delay of game is usually called for one of eight reasons:

  1. A skater or goalkeeper deliberately freezes the puck along the boards or goal frame in order to delay the game.
  2. A goalkeeper who has a chance to play the puck before an attacking skater arrives freezes it to create a stoppage in play intentionally.
  3. A skater or goalkeeper intentionally shoots or bats the puck out of the playing surface, including after a stoppage in play.
  4. A goalkeeper shoots the puck out of play without being deflected, unless the place where the puck leaves the playing area is not protected by glass.
  5. A skater or goalkeeper intentionally displaces the net.
  6. A skater or goalkeeper intentionally removes their helmet or facemask to stop play.
  7. A goalkeeper who deliberately drops the puck into his pads, onto the back of the net, or builds up ice shavings to make it harder to score a goal.
  8. After being warned by the referee, a team resumes playing with the wrong number of players on the ice or delays the game with their substitutions.

These rules, as laid out by USA Hockey, tend to be the same at all levels of hockey, from amateur to college to the professionals. An additional wrinkle to this rule was added to the NHL level in 2017, stating that an unsuccessful coach’s challenge will result in a delay of game and a two-minute bench minor penalty.

Result

When a delay of game penalty is committed in hockey, the team or player who committed the infraction will be penalized with either a two-minute minor penalty or, in some cases, a penalty shot will be granted to the opposing team. Rule 610 of the USA Hockey rule book states that a delay of game penalty will result in a two-minute penalty unless the penalizable action occurred during a breakaway or the attacking team is deprived of an immediate scoring opportunity.

In college hockey, the delay of game rules are more up for interpretation, yet the result remains the same: a two-minute minor penalty or, in some cases, a penalty shot. In the NHL, the opposing team will be offered a penalty shot if they are on a breakaway or if the goalie kicked the net out of place on purpose.

Penalty Signal

When a delay of game penalty is called, the referee will skate to center ice and announce a the penalty, indicating that it will be a two-minute minor on whichever team and whichever number will be serving the penalty. While making this announcement, the referee will move their hand in front of their chest, palm down. They will then extend their arm out all the way away from their body to indicate the delay of game.

Examples

  • A skater in their defensive zone shoots the puck out of play over the glass without being deflected by the opposing team.
  • If a player from each team is fighting for the puck along the boards and one or both of them are making no effort at the puck but instead waiting for a stoppage of play. 
  • The puck is shot down the ice, and an attacking skater is trying to chase it down and score on a breakaway. The opposing goalie leaves their crease, stops the puck with their stick, and waits until the attacking player reaches them to cover the puck and stop play.
  • If the puck rebounds up and onto the back of the net and the goalie covers the puck with their stick, not allowing any players to make a play at the puck.

Similar Penalties to Delay of Game Penalty

FAQ

What is a delay of game penalty in hockey?

In hockey, a delay of game penalty is a penalty called by referees against individual players or entire teams when, at the discretion of that referee, the individual or team purposefully impedes the pace of play. This can happen in many ways, from intentionally kicking the net out of place to intentionally shooting the puck out of play.

What is the result of a delay of game penalty in hockey?

When a referee calls a delay of game penalty, whether on an individual or an entire team, the infraction will almost always result in a two-minute minor penalty. The player who committed the penalty, or a player from the bench if it is a bench minor penalty, will have to sit out for two minutes in the penalty box. In some instances, if the attacking team is on a breakaway or the penalty keeps them from an immediate scoring chance, the team could be awarded a penalty shot.

What are some examples of a delay of game penalty in hockey?

In hockey, delay of game penalties can range from intentionally shooting the puck out of play, not making enough of an effort fighting for a loose puck in scrums, intentionally knocking the net out of place, and more. Overall, delay of game penalties are called when a player or team is acting in a way that slows down or changes the pace of play and could impact the integrity of ice hockey.