Hockey Too Many Men On The Ice Penalty

ice hockey too many men on the ice

Like any other sport, ice hockey has a complex set of rules for players and coaches to follow. If a team breaks certain rules during a game, they can be penalized. In this article, you will learn about the penalty that occurs if a team has too many men on the ice during a hockey game.


Definition

During a hockey game, five hockey players are allowed on the ice for each team, plus their goalie, for a total of twelve players on the ice. If a hockey team has more than five players (not including their goalie) on the ice for an extended period of time, they can have a penalty called on them. That being said, there is no penalty if a hockey team has less than five players on the ice. This rule can be tricky sometimes because hockey players are constantly substituting on and off the rink. Typically, if six players are on the ice as one player is substituting in for another, referees will be lenient enough to allow that brief deviance from the rules.

After a few seconds, if a team still has too many men on the ice, referees will call the penalty. They will also call the penalty during a substitution if an extra skater touches the puck, even if they just entered the rink.

There is another exception to this rule. Towards the end of a hockey game, a team may choose to sacrifice their goalie and replace them with a sixth player. Although that means there are six hockey players on the ice, it is not technically breaking the rule because they are replacing the goalie with the sixth player.

The too many men penalty is considered a bench minor penalty. As a result, one player will need to sit in the penalty box for two minutes if their team is called for this penalty. However, because this is a bench minor penalty, any of the players on the ice can serve the penalty time.

Result

In the National Hockey League, too many men on the ice results in a minor penalty. After a minor penalty, the coach of the team chooses one player on the ice to sit in the penalty box for 2 minutes. During this time, the team that received the penalty has fewer players on the ice than their opposition. The penalty and rules are the same for the NCAA, which governs hockey games at the college level.

Penalty Signal

Ice Hockey Too Many Men On The Ice Penalty Signal

When someone during the game notices one team has too many men on the ice, referees decide to stop the play in order to evaluate the situation. Typically, referees blow their whistle to stop the play, then look at previous footage to determine whether or not to call a penalty. Although there is no official hand signal for a too many men penalty, sometimes referees will hold up six fingers and announce the penalty verbally.

Examples

  • A hockey team has at least six players on the ice, and the ref notices, so the ref pauses play to evaluate before handing out a bench minor penalty.
  • A hockey team takes more than 5 seconds to substitute players, leaving too many players on the ice for an extended period of time.
  • While swapping players, the player entering the ice touches the puck and gives the team an unfair competitive advantage.

Similar Penalties to Too Many Men On The Ice

  • Delay of Game Penalty
  • Illegal Entry From Penalty Bench
  • Roster Addition During Game

FAQ

What is a too many men on the ice penalty in hockey?

A too many men on the ice penalty occurs when there are more than five players (excluding the goalie) on the ice during a hockey game. If a team has more than five players on the ice for an extended period of time, or an extra player touches the puck during a substitution, the penalty will be called. The penalty is a bench minor penalty and results in a player having to sit in the penalty box for two minutes.

What are the consequences for a too many men on the ice penalty in hockey?

Too many men on the ice is considered a bench minor penalty. Bench minor penalties indicate that any player on the ice can serve the penalty since the penalty was issued to the entire team rather than a specific player.  As a result, one of the players on the ice that was playing while the penalty was called must sit in the penalty box for two minutes. So, the team will now have only four skaters on the ice instead of five.

How many players are allowed to be on the ice at the same time in ice hockey?

Five players from each team are allowed to be on the ice at any given time during an ice hockey game. The goalies are not included in this number, which brings the total number of players allowed on the ice for each team to six. However, if a team decides it is strategically better to replace their goalie with a sixth player on the ice, they are allowed to do so during a game.