What Is Elbowing In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Elbowing

In hockey, elbowing is a penalty when a player uses their extended elbow to contact an opposing player while attempting to check them. This can also be called when a player uses their elbow to create separation between themselves and an opposing player. Whether or not contact is made, attempting to elbow someone is also subject to a penalty call.


Elbowing Penalties

Elbowing or attempting to elbow an opposing player is typically considered a minor penalty. This will result in spending two minutes in the penalty box. It can be deemed a major penalty by the referee depending on the severity of the action. In this case, a player will spend five minutes in the penalty box. A major penalty and a game misconduct penalty can be given to any player whose action of elbowing causes harm or injury to an opponent.

Referee Signal

To signal that an elbowing penalty has been called, the referee will hold up one of their elbows and tap it with their other hand. They will make this motion in front of the scorer’s box to alert the off-ice officials that an elbowing penalty has been called.

Examples

  • A player attempts a body check but leads with their elbow.
  • A player blindsides their opponent and leads with the elbow, causing an extremely dangerous collision. This may result in a major penalty or ejection.
  • A player being chased by an opponent turns around and strikes the opponent with their elbow.
  • A player purposefully swings their elbow at an opponent after losing the puck and misses. Even though no contact was made, a minor penalty is called for the attempted elbow.

FAQ

What is elbowing in hockey?

Elbowing is a penalty when a player uses their extended elbow to contact an opposing player while attempting to check them. This can also be called a penalty when a player uses their elbow to create separation between themselves and an opposing player. Attempting to elbow someone, whether or not contact is actually made, is subject to a penalty call. The penalty for this is typically a two-minute minor penalty, but it can sometimes lead to major or misconduct penalties if the action is severe or causes injury. 

How long do players sit out for elbowing in hockey?

Players who elbow or attempt to elbow an opponent during a game will usually receive a minor penalty for the incident. In this case, the player will be forced to remain in the penalty box for two minutes until the penalty is lifted. If the action is more severe and warrants a major penalty violation, the player will sit in the penalty box for five minutes.

What is the most common penalty in hockey?

Minor penalties are the most common types of penalties that occur in games. These kinds of penalties result in a two-minute stay in the penalty box. Actions that can result in minor penalties include boarding, charging, cross checking, delay of game, elbowing, slashing, roughing, high-sticking, kneeing, holding, interference, hooking, and tripping. Although minor penalties are common, any of them are subject to becoming major or misconduct penalties if done with intent to injure, and the referee deems it appropriate.