- Ice Hockey
Table of Contents
The Hockey Rink
The hockey rink is the playing surface for the sport of hockey. There are many parts, lines, scoring areas, and zones that you should know.
Hockey Rink Dimensions
The dimensions of rinks vary based on the league and level of play.
NHL Hockey Rink Dimensions
An NHL ice hockey rink is 200ft in length and 85ft in width. An ice hockey rink has rounded edges with a 28-foot corner radius.
International Hockey Rink Dimensions
Hockey leagues such as the KHL (Russia) and SHL (Sweden) play on a larger ice surface. While their rinks typically remain 200ft in length, they are usually 13.4ft wider than most North American rinks. Since the red line represents the middle of the rink, it is an even 100ft from both ends of the rink. The blue lines are both 25ft from the red line.
Parts of a Hockey Rink
- The Boards: The surrounding perimeter of the hockey rink used to keep the puck in play.
- Center Ice: The center of the hockey rink where the team logo is located.
- Goal Cage: Two cages sit at the back of the goalie creases where goalies for each team defend from shots on goal.
- Safety Glass: This form of plexi-glass surrounds the perimeter of the hockey rink along the top of the boards.
- Penalty Box: One penalty box for each team is next to the team benches. When a penalty is called on a player, they enter the penalty box for a designated amount of time.
- Player Benches: Each team gets a bench next to the penalty boxes just outside the boards. The players and coaches are stationed here.
- Scoreboard: Hanging from the top of the stadium is the scoreboard, where fans and players can see a detailed look at the score, shots on goal, game clock, and penalty clock.
Scoring Areas of a Hockey Rink
- Slot: The slot is the location between the two face-off circles on either end of the rink directly in front of the goal cage.
- Wings: The left wing and right wings are the two sides of the hockey rink. The winger positions in hockey play on the wings.
- The Point: The point is the location just outside the face-off circles close to the boards in the attacking zone.
Lines on a Hockey Rink
- Red Line: The red line splitting the ice in half running through center ice.
- Blue Lines: The two blue lines surrounding the red line. The blue lines divide the ice into the three zones called the defending zone, neutral zone, and attacking zone.
- Goal Lines: The two red lines just behind the goals. The goal lines are used in calling icing infractions.
- Hash Marks: Hash marks are located around the face-off spots and around the face-off circles. They are used to align players during face-offs.
- Face-off Circles: The four big red circles, two in the defensive zone and two in the attacking zone.
- Face-off Spots: The nine red dots on the ice, where the puck is dropped by the referee to start play with a face-off.
- Goalie Crease: At the front of the goal cage is the goalie crease. The goalie crease is where goaltenders position themselves during play. If a player interferes with the goaltender in this area, that player can be called for goaltender interference. We'll learn more about goaltender interference in future chapters on penalties.
- Goalie Trapezoid: Behind the goal cages is an area called the goalie trapezoid, sometimes referred to as the restricted area. The goalie trapezoid indicates where it is legal for a goalie to play an active puck. If the goalie handles the puck outside of the trapezoid, a minor penalty will be given for delay of game.
- Referee's Crease: The referee's crease is 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.
Zones of a Hockey Rink
- Attacking zone: The attacking zone, also known as the offensive zone, is the zone that the team with possession of the puck is trying to score a goal in.
- Defensive zone: Like the attacking zone, the defensive zone is the zone where a team is trying to defend against a score in their goal.
- Neutral Zone: Between the blue lines is a zone called the neutral zone. It is where both teams transition between the attacking zone and defensive zone. The neutral zone includes center ice.
Out of Bounds
Out-of-bounds in hockey is the area of an ice hockey rink outside of the boards, which surround the rink. Players can only be out-of-bounds if they leave the ice through an opening in the boards. If the puck goes over the safety glass it will be ruled as a dead puck and the puck will be brought back into play with a face-off.
There are two penalties you should know related to out of bounds and the hockey rink.
- Puck Out of Bounds: The puck can go out-of-bounds by flying over the safety glass, causing a brief stoppage of play. When this happens a face-off is used to put the puck back into play. If the puck gets stuck on the top of the boards, it is still considered in play.
- Delay of Game: A delay of game penalty is called on players who purposely hit the puck out-of-bounds. Delay of game is a minor penalty in ice hockey.
The ice hockey rink must be maintained to ensure quality control. Keeping the ice smooth is necessary to prevent damage to the ice and player injury. Between every period during the intermission, a vehicle called the zamboni will drive along the ice smoothing it out.
The zamboni is a vehicle operated by a driver who drives it along the ice resurfacing the playing surface. Simultaneously shaving the top layer of the ice, removing cracks, and smoothing out the ice with water, the zamboni is a machine that maintains the rink at lightning speeds.