What Is Embellishment In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Embellishment

In hockey, embellishment is also known as diving. This happens when a player pretends to be hurt or exaggerates to try and get another player on the opposing team in trouble. 


Embellishment in hockey is when a player exaggerates a penalty call or pretends to be the subject of a penalty. Unlike other penalties, embellishment is usually called in tandem with another penalty call, which results in the embellishing player serving the penalty time along with the player who appeared to commit a penalty against them. Whether or not a penalty is called, the NHL observes every game and can hand out fines for embellishment after the fact. During the shortened 2019-2020 NHL season, there were two fines handed out for embellishment, one of which was given to a player who also served a two-minute penalty. Most of the time, when embellishment is called, a player on the other team is penalized for tripping or slashing. This means that a player was illegally hit, but they acted to make it look worse.


When a player is called for embellishment in the NHL, they will receive a minor penalty and a possible fine. The player will serve two minutes in the penalty box, and their opponent will be on the power play. However, often both the player who embellished and the player who committed the “phantom foul” will get matching minor penalties. This is because both a penalty can occur and a player embellishes that penalty at the same time.


Some people believe that embellishment is a penalty that should not exist. To them, if a penalty has been committed, then saying that the affected player exaggerated must be false. It helps the argument that embellishment is an uncommon penalty overall. Unlike in sports like soccer, diving is fairly rare in hockey. Some hockey purists think the embellishment penalty keeps the integrity of the game and keeps players from falling and looking for penalties. 


What does embellishment mean in hockey?

In hockey, embellishment is when a player exaggerates or pretends that another player hurt them in an attempt to have a penalty called. Most of the time, this means a player will fall dramatically or pretend that they were hit hard. Usually, the player will have been hit, but they will exaggerate the hit to make it seem worse than it already was. Embellishment is also called diving or flopping. Though it exists in many sports, in hockey, there is a clear rule and penalty against it, however rare it may be.

What is the penalty for embellishment?

If a referee sees that a player embellished or dove, they will issue a minor penalty which is two minutes. Usually, the player will also be fined by the NHL. Sometimes, if a referee doesn’t see the embellishment, the league will still fine a player after the game. Players are rarely penalized for embellishment during the games because, at full speed, it is hard to tell if a player was tripped or fell on their own.

How often does embellishment happen?

Embellishment is a very rare penalty in hockey. In the 2019-2020 NHL season, embellishment was only called on the ice one time. Another time, a player was fined by the NHL for embellishment after the game ended. For the most part, embellishment does not happen frequently. Some people believe it is a useless penalty because it rarely occurs. At times it can be hard for an official to judge whether a player was hit or fell on their own and tried to embellish.