Hockey Goal Crease

ice hockey goal crease

The goal crease in hockey is the shaded blue area in front of each team’s goal. The crease is painted onto the ice and is shaded blue to stand out. This is the area given to the goalie to stop the opposing teams’ shots and keep the puck out. This area is intended to be a safe zone for the goalie where they are protected. Many goalies also use the crease to determine where they are positioned in relation to the goal without having to look behind their back.

Crease Rules

There are several rules in hockey regarding the crease. First, opposing players are prohibited from making any contact with the goalie in the crease. If players contact the goalie in the crease, they will receive a two-minute penalty, and a goal could be waived off if it was scored during the interference. For reference, when goalies are outside of the crease, they are still not allowed to be hit, but incidental or unintentional contact is allowed.

Another rule is that the puck has to enter the crease before any part of the opposing player's body enters the crease, including a skate or a stick. Lastly, defenders are prohibited from grabbing, covering, or concealing the puck in any way within the crease. If they do so, a penalty shot is awarded for the opposing team.

Crease Dimensions

The standard National Hockey League crease is 8 feet wide, with two sides measuring 4 feet, each connected by a semi-circle. The semi-circle is 6 feet long at its apex and connects the two 4 foot long sides. The goal itself is 6 feet wide, making the width of the crease a foot longer than the goal on both sides. The crease is shaded blue and is outlined with a 2-inch red border.


Can a player be in the crease when a goal is scored?

In the NHL, a player can be in the crease when a goal is scored, as long as they don’t violate certain criteria. They are not allowed to impede the goalie’s movement within the crease, and any contact with the goalie will result in the goal being waived off. If a player interferes with a goalie in the crease, the player will receive a two-minute penalty for goaltender interference on top of the goal being waived off.

Is a goalie allowed to push a player out of the crease?

Players are not allowed to impede the goalie’s movement within the crease in any way, shape, or form. Therefore, if players are in a position that is impeding the goalie’s movement within the crease, goalies can initiate contact with a player by pushing them. This will prove that the player is impeding the goalie’s movement, and if the player does not immediately vacate their position, they can be called for a two-minute goalie interference penalty. 

Can the goalie get hit outside of their crease?

Outside of their crease, goalies are allowed to be intentionally hit. If a player makes intentional contact with a goalie, whether it is inside or outside of their crease, they will receive a two-minute penalty. However, if a goalie is outside of their crease, they are allowed to be hit if the contact is unintentional or incidental. This decision is up to the referee’s discretion and is often a difficult call to make.