Hockey Illegal Equipment Penalty

Ice Hockey Illegal Equipment

An illegal equipment penalty in hockey occurs when a player is caught using equipment that does not follow regulation, whether before, during, or after games. It is a minor penalty that results in a 2-minute in-game penalty, potential suspension, and fines.


Definition

In hockey, an illegal equipment penalty occurs when a player is caught using equipment that does not follow regulation, including equipment that is too large, too small, or even unsafe. Specific examples include wearing elbow pads without sufficient soft protective covering or stick blades exceeding three inches in width at any point. The penalty is also called if a player violates the "fair play" expectations of equipment.

The penalty can be called at any time when a referee notices a player using equipment that violates the rules. If the violator's team has possession of the puck, the referee will immediately blow their whistle and halt play. If their team does not have possession, the referee will raise their arm to signal a delayed penalty call, wait for them to regain possession, then blow their whistle. An illegal equipment penalty is a minor penalty, meaning the offender will spend two minutes in the penalty box, leaving their team shorthanded. It is rarely called, but more often in professional leagues than amateur leagues, due to the strict requirements of NHL gear.

To prevent this rule from being breached, the National Hockey League (NHL) has an Operations Department explicitly authorized to check every team's equipment. These inspections can occur before, during, or after games.

Result

The result of an illegal equipment penalty is an immediate 2-minute minor penalty. Additionally, a player can be suspended or fined for purposefully violating equipment rules. Goalies can receive a two-game suspension for oversized equipment; teams can be fined $25,000, trainers $10,000, coaches and general managers $50,000, and owners $100,000.

Referee Signal

Ice Hockey Delayed Penalty Signal

When the player violating the penalty is on the team with possession of the puck, the referee will blow their whistle and halt play. If the player is on the team without possession, the referee will raise their arm to signal a delayed penalty call. Once possession is regained, the referee will then blow the whistle and stop play. While there is no specific referee hand signal to distinguish the penalty, they will make an announcement stating the nature of the offense to the other officials and players.

Examples

  • Wearing elbow pads without sufficient soft protective covering
  • Using stick blades exceeding three inches in width at any point
  • Wearing blockers gloves that are not rectangular in shape
  • Using extra padding to increase the size of hockey pants
  • A goalie using additional or larger equipment to improve protection of the goal
  • Utilizing non-approved goalie masks

Similar Penalties to Illegal Equipment

  • Playing with a Broken Stick
  • Playing with Too Many Sticks
  • Holding the Stick

FAQ

What is an illegal equipment penalty in hockey?

An illegal equipment penalty in hockey occurs when a player is caught before, during, or after games using equipment that does not follow regulation. It is a minor penalty that is rarely called. Violations include wearing pads without sufficient soft protective covering, using stick blades exceeding three inches in width at any point, or a goalie using additional equipment to improve protection of the goal. The penalty is also called if a player violates the "fair play" expectations of equipment.

What are the consequences of an illegal equipment penalty?

The main consequence of an illegal equipment penalty is an immediate 2-minute penalty, served by sitting in the penalty box. Additionally, a player can be suspended for future games or receive fines from the league. Goalies can receive a two-game suspension for oversized equipment, while teams and individual players can be fined between $10,000 and $100,000 depending on the specific offense.

What equipment is required to play hockey?

Equipment you'll need to play hockey includes a regulation hockey stick, a puck, goals, and ice skates. The sport also requires plenty of protective equipment to ensure safety on the ice. This equipment includes a helmet, shoulder, chest, and elbow pads, padded clothes, and shin pads. Furthermore, goalies need a legal mask, specific goaltender skates, blocker gloves, catching gloves, leg pads, and chest and arm protectors.