Hockey Rink Components

Rink Components

There are several major components to an ice hockey rink that every fan must know:

Goal Cage

Each team gets a goal cage to defend located on each end of the rink on the goal lines. A goal cage is made up of many pieces (goal posts, cross bar, and net) that are affixed to the ice to hold it in place. All scoring happens here in the goal cages.

Goalie Crease

At the front of the goal cage is the goalie crease. The goalie crease is where goaltenders position themselves during play.

PRO TIP: 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.

Hockey Goal Crease

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.

Hockey Goalie Trapezoid

Face-off Spots

Face-off spots are dots on the ice where face-offs take place. There are nine face-off spots where face-offs can occur. The spot is chosen based on the location of the last stoppage of play.

Hockey Face-off Spot

We'll learn more about face-offs and rules around them in future chapters.

Face-off Circles

There are five big circles on the rink called face-off circles. They are used during face-offs to position players on the ice who are not taking the face-off.

Hockey Face-off Circle

We'll learn more about the significance of face-off circles when we learn more about the rules of face-offs in future chapters.

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.

Hockey Hash Marks

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.

Hockey Referee Crease


Surrounding the rink are the boards. The boards are what keep the players inbounds on the ice. Teams can only leave the ice through openings in the boards. The boards also protect and separate fans from action on the ice.

During play, teams use the boards as a tool to maintain and gain possession of the puck.

Hockey Boards

Safety Glass

Just above the boards is a sheet of thick plexiglass known as safety glass surrounding the rink. It was put in place to protect fans from getting hit by pucks, but still allows them to see all the action on the ice.

Hockey Safety Glass

Penalty Box

A door from the boards leads to the penalty boxes, one for each team. The penalty box is used to house players who commit penalties during the game. Players will sit for a certain duration of time after committing a penalty. We will learn more about the various types of penalties in ice hockey in future chapters.

Hockey Penalty Box

Player Benches

Another door from the boards leads to the player benches. This is where the players sit and rest between shifts on the ice. Coaches, trainers, and management, are also present on the player benches.

Hockey Bench

Players can skip the door and choose to hop over the boards to enter into the player benches.


The scoreboard rests suspended in the air above the ice. It presents information about the game in real-time like:

We'll learn more about what each of these mean in future chapters.

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