Hockey is a quick 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. Oftentimes, a player may be out of position and as a result, a penalty occurs. Penalties are a huge part of the game 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.
Penalties are assessed by severity and each classification of penalty has different repercussions. There are:
Minor penalties are smaller infractions that usually lead to a player spending 2 minutes in the penalty box. When an athlete goes to the penalty box, the team with the player who is serving the penalty will be down a man (Ex. A player gets 2 minutes in the penalty box for tripping, that team now only has 4 players on the ice compared to the standard 5 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 2-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 as a result of a minor penalty, some referees will issue a double minor penalty, where the player serves two 4 minute penalties but those cases are rare.
Some penalties are worse, and carried out in a malicious manner. These penalties 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 5 minutes. Major penalties guarantee that the player who committed the offense will serve the required 5 minutes, no matter how many times the opposing team scores during the course of the power play. Major penalties are severe and coaches become furious when one is assessed.
Any minor penalty that has been assessed and is determined to be carried out with malicious intent will be enforced as a major penalty and the player will serve an automatic 5 minutes in the penalty know matter how much the other team scores during the power play.
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 a 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 a player on the same team. Misconduct penalties are more severe than major penalties but they still do not warrant an ejection form the game.
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. This is 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/major penalty for the trip, the referee will assess that the play was a breakaway and the infraction will result 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 with the player and goalie. The shot starts at the center line, 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.
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 moment the team who committed the penalty even lays a finger on the puck, the game is stopped 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 the goalie can be replaced by a player until the penalty committing team touches the puck. This will result in a 6-5 uneven match up until the puck is touched by the penalty committing team. During a delayed penalty, the referee will hold his hand up in the air.
In hockey there are Minor, Major, and Misconduct penalties. Each of these penalties are assessed by severity and intent and are carried out in different ways. Minor penalties are usually enforced by the player being removed from the game for a 2 minute period while major penalties are more severe, and a player is removed for 5 minutes. Misconduct penalties require a player to leave the game for 10 minutes.
In hockey, the maximum advantage from a power play 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 2 players. If a team has 3 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.
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.
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 2 minutes in the penalty box.