Hockey Icing


The red line marks the center of the rink dividing the ice into two equal pieces.

Hockey Red Line

The goal lines are located at the far ends of the rink near the nets.

Hockey Goal Line

In this tutorial, we will learn about icing and the significance of the red line and goal lines in ice hockey.


Icing is a penalty in ice hockey that is often misunderstood. Icing is called on a player who shoots, hits, or deflects the puck from his team's side of the ice to the goal line on the opposing team's side of the ice without it being touched by a player on the opposing team.

Hockey Icing

A referee will use the spot on the ice where the player hit the puck to determine if icing should be called.

To avoid icing, a player should make sure his stick is in contact with the red line. This is called gaining the line.

IMPORTANT: Both teams must be at full-strength for icing to be called. If a team is short-handed it is not considered icing.

Face-off Location

Icing does not result in a power play. When icing is called on a team, a face-off is used to put the puck back into play. The face-off will occur in the offending team's defensive zone.

Not Icing

The following situations are NOT considered icing:

  • It is NOT icing if the puck is deflected off a player in their own side of the ice
  • It is NOT icing if the team is short-handed
  • It is NOT icing if the puck touches any part of a player or goalkeeper before crossing goal line
  • It is NOT icing if a player on the opposing team can touch the puck while it is traveling to the goal line, but he chooses not to

Summary of Icing

When is icing called?

A referee will call icing when the puck travels from the behind the red line and reaches the goal line of the opposite side of the ice without a player from the opposing team touching it. However, there are some additional scenarios, where icing won't be called. Like when an opposing player can touch the puck before it crosses the goal line, but chooses not to.

Power Plays

It's also important to note that icing will never be called on a team that is short-handed. The team that is on the power play (at full-strength) can still have icing called on them though.

How is play resumed?

There is a faceoff in the offending team's defensive zone that committed the icing infraction.

How can you avoid getting called for icing?

If possible, keep the puck over the red line before passing or dumping the puck down the rink.

When is icing not called?

  • on a team is shorthanded
  • If a player on the opposing team touches the puck before it crosses the goal line.
  • If a defense player is capable of playing the puck but chooses not to.

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