Hockey Officials

Ice Hockey Officials

Officials and Referees

In hockey, the referees and officials are responsible for interpreting the rulebook for a different part of the game. The referee always has final say in a ruling if there is a disagreement.

Ice Hockey referee crease

The referee's crease is part of the ice hockey rink. It's where game officials gather to discuss penalties and challenges. During play, referees skate with the flow of the game, but this is where they typically gather after a stoppage in play that needs a review.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • An official will raise a hand and blow his whistle to signal a penalty if a rule is broken immediately if the offending player is in control of the puck.
  • Sometimes a referee will signal a delayed penalty by only raising his hand and not blowing his whistle. Like when calling offsides in ice hockey, officials may wait to stop play and only signal delayed offside.
  • If a player is not in control of the puck, the referee raises his arm to signal a delayed penalty, but will not stop play. Once the offending player's team touches the puck, the referee will stop play and impose a penalty.
  • Once an official stops play, the referee will announce to everyone the reasoning behind why the penalty was called. During this announcement, the referee will make a signal with his hands to define the penalty.

Hockey Referee Types

In hockey, there are many types of referees and officials.

  1. The Referees
  2. The Linesmen
  3. The Official Scorer
  4. The Goal Judge
  5. The Game Timekeeper
  6. The Penalty Timekeeper
  7. The Real Time Scorers
  8. The Video Goal Judge


Can a coach or player challenge the ruling of a referee in hockey?

Yes, this is called a coach's challenge.