Hockey Penalties List

ice hockey penalties

Hockey is a fast-paced sport with a lot of physical contact. Due to hockey’s quick nature, players have to make many split-second decisions, both offensively and defensively. If a player breaks the rules of the game, they receive a penalty. Penalties are a huge part of hockey, and power plays lead to many scoring chances throughout hockey games and tournaments.

A hockey penalty is when a player commits a violation, usually by being too physical with the opponent. There are different types of hockey penalties and many different classifications of penalties. Penalties may lead a player to a number of different repercussions, such as penalty box time or even ejections.

Penalty Classifications

Penalties are assessed by severity, and each classification of penalty has different repercussions. There are:

Minor Penalties

Minor penalties are smaller infractions that usually lead to a player spending two minutes in the penalty box. When a player goes to the penalty box, the team with the player serving the penalty will be down a man, also known as being shorthanded. For example, a player gets two minutes in the penalty box for tripping. That team now only has four players on the ice compared to the standard five players that the other team will have on the ice. When one team has more players on the ice at a given time due to a penalty, this is called a power play, and many goals in hockey result from power plays due to one team's player advantage.

There is another key role in relation to minor penalties. If one team is serving a two-minute minor penalty, the player in the penalty will be released from the box early if the opposing team scores. This is a key difference between a minor penalty and a major or misconduct penalty.

If a player gets injured due to a minor penalty, some referees will issue a double minor penalty, where the player serves a four-minute penalty, but those cases are rare.

Major Penalties

Ice Hockey Major Penalty

Some penalties are worse and may be committed with clear intent to injure. These violations will be assessed by the referee and usually result in a major penalty. As a result of a major penalty, a player will be required to sit inside of the penalty box for five minutes. Major penalties guarantee that the player who committed the offense will serve the required five minutes, no matter how many times the opposing team scores during the power play. Major penalties are severe, and coaches become furious when one is assessed.

List of Major Penalties

Any minor penalty assessed and determined to be carried out with malicious intent will be enforced as a major penalty. The player will serve an automatic five minutes in the penalty box no matter how many times the other team scores during the power play.

Misconduct Penalties

A misconduct penalty forces a player to sit in the penalty box for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is over, the player will have to wait until the next stoppage of play to skate onto the ice, which is different from other penalties, where a player can skate right onto the ice from the penalty box after serving the time. This is because misconduct does not lead to a power play. A misconduct penalty results in an automatic 10 minutes in the box, with that player being immediately substituted by another team player. Misconduct penalties are more severe than major ones, but they still do not warrant an ejection. 

Match Penalties

Match penalties are the most severe classification of penalties in hockey. A match penalty is assessed when a player has committed an act that has the intent to injure the opponent severely. If a player is assessed a match penalty, they must leave the game and are not allowed to return. Their team also must play shorthanded for five minutes, similar to a major penalty. On top of being ejected from the game, players can also be assessed fines or a suspension afterward.

Penalty Shots

Ice Hockey Penalty Shots

Penalty shots are some of the more exciting penalties in a game, and they happen as a result of sudden penalties that directly occur from stopping a goal. Penalty shots are only called when the puck-handler has a clear path to the goal with no defenders in front, called a breakaway. One example of a penalty that results in a penalty shot would be if a player were tripped from behind during a breakaway. Rather than the player serving a 2-minute minor penalty for the trip, the referee will assess that the play was a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot. Another example might include a player intentionally dislodging the net from the bearings in order to stop play during a breakaway.

A penalty shot is a one-on-one between the player and goalie. The shot starts at the centerline, and the player controlling the puck is required to move only forward with the puck toward the net to score against the goalie. These penalties are exciting to watch, as both the player and goalie show off their skills in a close matchup. 

Delayed Penalties

When a penalty is called in hockey, they are usually delayed. This means that the game continues despite the penalty that has occurred until the team that committed the penalty touches the puck. The game is stopped when the team who committed the penalty touches the puck, and the penalty is enforced. Usually, during a delayed penalty, the team that did not commit the penalty will return their goalie to the bench if they have control of the puck. This is because a player can replace the goalie until the penalty-committing team touches the puck. This will result in a 6-5 uneven matchup until the offending team touches the puck. During a delayed penalty, the referee will hold his hand up in the air.


What are all the penalties in hockey?

In hockey, there are minor, major, misconduct, and match penalties. Each of these penalties is assessed by severity and intent and is carried out in different ways. Minor penalties result in the player being removed from the game for a two-minute period, while major penalties are more severe, and a player is removed for five minutes. Misconduct penalties require a player to leave the game for 10 minutes. Match penalties result in a player being ejected from the game, and a teammate must serve a five-minute penalty in the box.

What happens if you have 3 penalties in hockey?

If a team has three minor penalties, the first two players will sit in the penalty box, and the third penalty will be enforced after the first two have been completed. The maximum advantage from a power play in hockey is a 5-on-3 matchup. This means that even if a team has more than two minor or major penalties, the team can only be down two players.

What is a 10-minute penalty in hockey?

A ten-minute penalty in hockey is called a misconduct penalty. These penalties are very severe and are a result of a player having malicious intent when committing a penalty. During a misconduct, a player is forced to sit in the penalty box for at least ten minutes and cannot return to the ice until a stoppage of play. A player is substituted for the misconduct player initially.

What is a hooking penalty in hockey?

A hooking penalty is when a player impedes another player from skating by using his stick to wrap around the player. The hockey stick has a curved shape at the top; this is called the blade. The curve on the top may allow a player to wrap the stick around another player in order to slow him down. These penalties are usually minor penalties and will result in a player serving two minutes in the penalty box.