What Is Blue Line In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Blue Line

The blue lines in hockey are two lines that divide the rink into three zones: the neutral zone, the defensive zone, and the offensive zone.

These one-foot-wide lines travel the width of the ice at 85 ft long. They are 60 ft from the closest goal. The distance between the two blue lines (the neutral zone) is 50 ft, and the distance from the blue line to the back of the boards on either side (defensive or offensive zone) is 75 ft.


Offside

Ice Hockey offsides

The blue lines do more than act as a divider on the ice, and they are also key in calling offside infractions. There are two officials called the linesmen that survey the ice and watch for offside violations. For offside to be called, the puck must enter the attacking zone and pass the blue line before an attacking player does, resulting in the attacking team being charged with an offside infraction. The blue line belongs to whatever zone the puck is in at the time, so when moving into the attacking zone, the puck must completely pass the blue line before a player's skate does.

In a delayed offside, the player is in the offensive zone before the puck, but the puck is controlled by the defense or not possessed by either team. This is still an offside infraction, but all players can tag up to get the penalty waved off. Tagging up is when all players on the offending team use the blue line to go back into the neutral zone before going back into the offensive zone to avoid the offside infraction.

Face-offs

Ice Hockey faceoffs

Once the linesman calls offside, a face-off will take place outside of the attacking zone at the closest neutral zone face-off dot. These dots are located on either side of the ice and are close to the attacking zone blue line.

The Point

Ice Hockey The Point

The point refers to the area between the top of the circles and the blue line. It is an area where players position themselves so that they're able to either move into their offensive or defensive zone easily, without being too far away. Most often, defenders will play at the point just inside the attacking zone just in case the forwards need help. The point is also a popular area to shoot from, especially on the power play, as deflections and screens off long shots can easily result in goals.