Hockey Two Line Pass

Ice Hockey Two Line Pass

In hockey, a two line pass is when a player passes the puck from their defensive zone past the defensive blue line and the center red line to a teammate. Years ago, hockey leagues had a rule that banned two line passes, but this rule was largely removed from the game in 2005. The two line pass rule is no longer in effect at any level of hockey.

When the rule was in place, after a two line pass occurred, the referee would stop the game to call the violation. Afterward, a face-off was done in the zone closest to the violation to restart play. If the puck moves across the red line before the receiving player does, it is not considered a two line pass.

History of the Two Line Pass Rule

The two line pass rule was initially added to the NHL in 1943. Its purpose was to prevent teams from cherry picking near their offensive blue line. Although it was effective at preventing cherry picking, it also had some adverse effects on gameplay. With the two line pass rule in place, offensive strategy was limited to short, quick passes out of the defensive zone. This limited offensive scoring chances and decreased league-wide scoring while in place. The decline in pace and goal scoring left many fans disappointed, which led to the NHL’s removal of the two line pass rule after over 60 years of being in place.

Removing the Two Line Pass Rule

In 2004, the NHL decided to remove the two line pass rule to encourage a faster pace of play and more goal scoring. During the 2004 season, the NHL experienced a lockout due to decreased game attendance, televised games, and lack of money made by the league. This was attributed to the lack of excitement in games. In the previous seasons, only 2.5 goals were scored per game on average. With hopes to increase the pace of the game through longer passes and more scoring opportunities, the NHL opted to remove the two line pass rule starting in the 2005 season.


How did the removal of the two line pass rule affect the NHL?

The removal of the two line pass rule in the NHL changed the style of play in the league. After removing the rule, players could send the puck further down the ice to teammates, which greatly increased the speed of the game. In addition, the game is more spread out and open because players can skate down the ice to receive passes up to the offensive blue line instead of crowding the defensive zone.

Was the two line pass rule removed from other hockey leagues?

After the NHL removed the two line pass rule, several other hockey leagues began to remove it as well. Before the 2005-2006 season, both the American Hockey League (AHL) and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) removed the rule. Along with these two, junior hockey leagues such as the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the United States Hockey League (USHL) also abolished the rule shortly after. All of these leagues have ties to the NHL and wanted to keep their rules consistent.

Why was the two line pass rule added in the first place?

Originally, the two line pass rule was implemented to prevent offensive players from cherry picking past the red line and being able to score too easily. However, this led to the game being excessively defensive and low-scoring. Defenders used the rule to their advantage by crowding the neutral zone so that the other team had difficulty completing passes to players down the ice.