What Is Delay Of Game In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Delay Of Game

A delay of game penalty in hockey is called when a player purposefully attempts to hold up the game. Delay of game is a unique penalty in that it can be called for a number of reasons.

The usual punishment for a delay of game is a two-minute minor penalty.


Delay of Game Causes

The most common causes for a delay of game penalty being called are: 

  • Any player intentionally throws or shoots the puck out of bounds.
  • The puck is thrown or shot out of play over the glass without deflection by a player in their defensive zone.
  • Any player other than the goalie covers the puck with their hand on the ice.
  • Any player, including the goalie, intentionally knocks the net off its pegs. If done on a breakaway, a penalty shot will be awarded.
  • Any equipment issue on the ice that holds up the game.
  • A coach unsuccessfully challenging a referee’s ruling will result in a minor delay of game penalty. Any further unsuccessful challenges will result in four-minute double minor penalties.
  • The goalie intentionally freezes the puck instead of passing to a teammate when no opposing players are pressuring the puck.
  • A player, including the goalie, intentionally keeps the puck behind the net for over a minute.
  • Fans throw objects onto the ice that disrupt the game.

Referee Signal

To signal a delay of game penalty, the referee will put their arm across their chest with their palm open, then extend their arm in front of their body. They will make this signal in front of the scorer’s box to indicate a delay of game penalty has been called.

Rulebooks

FAQ

What is a delayed penalty in hockey?

A delayed penalty in hockey is called when a penalty is committed by one team, but the other team retains possession of the puck. Until the penalized team touches the puck, play will continue. For example, if a player is tripped, but their team retains possession of the puck, the referee will not stop the game because this would punish the innocent team, especially if they have the opportunity to score.

Can a delay of game result in a bench minor penalty?

Yes, a team can receive a bench minor penalty for delaying the game. This can happen when too many players from a team enter the game at once. As a result, one of their players is forced to come off the ice for two minutes. A home team can also receive a bench minor penalty when objects are thrown on the ice and the game has to stop, or a coach makes an unsuccessful challenge.

Should the puck over-the-glass rule exist?

There is often debate over whether or not a delay of game penalty should be assessed to defensive players who send the puck over the glass. The rule currently states that when a defensive player sends the puck over the glass (with no deflections) in their defensive zone, they are called for a delay of game penalty. The problem with this rule is that it does not account for defensive players accidentally sending the puck out of play. Most times, defensive players do not intentionally shoot the puck over the glass because it is a useless way to penalize their team.

What does it mean when a goalie freezes the puck?

When a goalie “freezes” the puck, they essentially hold onto it instead of passing it to one of their teammates. When the goalie is facing pressure and freezes the puck, play will be stopped, and a face-off will take place at the closest face-off dot in their defensive zone. However, if a goalie is not facing pressure and freezes the puck instead of passing, they can be called for a delay of game penalty.