Hockey Boarding

Ice Hockey Boarding

Hockey boarding is when a player intentionally pushes, trips or body checks a defenseless and unaware opponent into the boards.

Boarding is an extremely dangerous act in the game of hockey. It is dangerous due to the vulnerability of the player receiving that contact into the boards. Standard body checking is legal in the game of hockey. However, boarding is illegal due to the vulnerable position of the player as they are unable to see the opposition or prepare for the contact. A boarding penalty will be immediately called if a player had no intention to play the puck. Players will typically board their opposition to intimidate or physically harm their competitor. Therefore, it is always important to wear the necessary hockey equipment to stay safe. Never forget to wear your pads or your helmet!

After boarding occurs on the ice, the severity of the penalty is based on the discretion of the referee. The referee's priority is player safety and the act of boarding must have harsh consequences to limit the number of these illegal hits. If the hit wasn't too hard, the referee may call a minor penalty of two minutes. If the boarding was a serious hit, the referee has one of three options to call for a penalty. The referee may claim it is a major penalty, resulting in five minutes in the penalty box. The referee can call a major penalty with game misconduct, which results in a ten minute penalty and ejection from the rest of the game. The highest degree of penalty is a match penalty. The referee may call a match penalty if the boarding is severe, which results in the athlete's immediate removal from the game and a five minute time penalty. Never try to board another player!


When is a player considered defenseless?

Boarding occurs when a player is considered defenseless on the ice. This player is unable to prepare for the contact. The player is considered to be defenseless if their back is turned to the hitting player or if they are no longer in possession of the puck. When a player is defenseless, they are vulnerable and susceptible to serious injuries. The referees are needed to protect the players and to prevent any boarding from happening!

What is the difference between charging and boarding in hockey?

Boarding is the act of deliberately and violenting pushing a defenseless player into the boards. However, charging is when a player will take three or more strides from a larger distance to deliberately harm a player with a body check. Charging can occur anywhere on the ice, while boarding happens when the hit is directed into the surrounding boards. There are major penalties as consequences of charging, similar to boarding. Charging is always very dangerous!

What is the referee sign for boarding?

Referees have many signals for calls and penalties throughout the duration of a game. For boarding, a referee will use a punching motion in one hand and move towards the open palm of his other hand. The hands will make contact and the open palm hand will be in a vertical position.

What is a clean hit in hockey?

Hockey is a contact sport and believe it or not, there are legal and clean hits! Both players need to have their stick on the ice and are allowed to be leaning into each other shoulder to shoulder. Players are allowed to body and hip check to try to separate their opponent from the puck. You must maintain your balance and body position to avoid getting called for a penalty. Crowds love a clean hit!