Hockey Deliberate Goal Displacement Penalty

Ice Hockey Deliberate Goal Displacement

In hockey, a deliberate goal displacement penalty can be either a sneaky or downright obvious penalty called on the defending team. It is called for intentionally impeding the attacking team’s scoring chance by knocking the goal out of place and causing a stoppage in play.


Deliberate goal displacement happens when a player from the defending team, either a goalie or a skater, intentionally moves the goal out of place to impede the opponent's attack, resulting in a stoppage of play. There are many scenarios and situations in which this penalty could play out. Defenders could knock the goal off its pegs whenever they feel the attacking team is about to score. Goalies may also kick out the pegs to make the goal move and stop play when they are defending a dangerous attack.

Once the goal comes out of place, the whistle is blown, and play is stopped, preventing the attacking team from scoring. However, at the referee’s discretion, the goal displacement could be called deliberate and result in a penalty or penalty shot, depending on how immediate of a scoring chance the offensive team had.

Deliberate goal displacement is considered a delay of game penalty. While it is sometimes obvious that the player purposely moved the net, other times, it is not as clear. The referee must use their discretion to decide whether or not to penalize the team, depending on if the action was purposeful or not.

There have been instances with the displacement being as obvious as goalies standing up and flipping the net, but there are also tactical ways to displace the net in scrums and other areas around the net. Referees must pay close attention and communicate in order to ensure the game is called correctly.


When the goal displacement is ruled deliberate, the team who displaced the goal is penalized. If it is an immediate scoring chance, like a breakaway, the referee could award the attacking team a penalty shot. In many cases, it results in a two-minute minor penalty for delay of game. In some cases, like with an empty net, the referee can decide to award the attacking team a goal instead of a penalty shot if, in their opinion, it is an obvious and imminent goal.

Referee Signal

Ice Hockey Deliberate Goal Displacement Penalty Signal

Deliberate goal displacement in hockey falls under the category of delay of game penalties. When awarding a minor penalty or a penalty shot, the referee will hold their hand with their palms down facing their chest and then extend their arm fully and outwards to signal a delay of game penalty. Referees use their right hand when signaling delay of game and will assign the penalty to the specific player who displaced the net.


Example 1: The offensive team is on a breakaway, and the goalie turns and pushes the net out of place so they do not have a chance to shoot.

Example 2: The defensive goalie has been pulled for an extra skater, and the offensive team shoots at the net, but the defenders knock the goal out of place so the offense cannot score.

Example 3: There is a scrum near the net, and the goalie is unsure where the puck is. The defending team purposefully knocks the goal out of position to stop play, so they do not risk losing the puck, resulting in a goal.

Similar Infractions to Deliberate Goal Displacement


What is deliberate goal displacement in hockey?

In hockey, deliberate goal displacement occurs when a member of the defending team intentionally moves the goal out of place to attempt to stop the play and impede the attacking team’s chances. This can be done quite obviously, like on a breakaway, or very sneakily, like when there is a lot of traffic near the net and the referee’s attention is elsewhere.

What are the consequences of being called for deliberate goal displacement in hockey?

In most cases, the player or team being called for the penalty will be sent to the penalty box for a two-minute minor delay of game penalty. If the penalty occurs during a breakaway or in the last two minutes of the game or overtime, the referee can award the attacking team a penalty shot. In some cases, the goal will be allowed because the displacement of the goal occurred after the shot and the puck was clearly headed into the net. If a player is called for deliberate goal displacement, it is up to the discretion of the referee to decide the penalty.

What happens if the goal is accidentally displaced?

If the displacement was ruled an accident by the official, there is no accompanying penalty. When the goal becomes displaced, the whistle is blown, and play is immediately stopped to reset the net. Once the net is reset, the game will resume with a face-off. Whether the goal was purposely or accidentally displaced is up to the referee’s discretion, with the help of other on-ice officials.