The ice is divided into three zones known as the defensive zone, neutral zone and offensive zone. There are 2 blue lines separating the defensive and offensive zones from the neutral zone. There are also 2 goal lines and the center line.
Aim of the Game
Score the most goals by getting the puck into the opposing teams net to win the game!
A goal is scored only if the player uses their stick to hit the puck across the entire goal line. It is illegal to kick the puck or to volley it in. However, deflections off other players are also permitted as legal goals.
Games are played over three periods, each 20 minutes long with two intervals and the teams change ends after each period. The total length of the game is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, including stoppages in play.
There can only be 6 players from each team on the ice at any one time – 1 goalie and 5 skaters made up of 2 defencemen and 3 forwards. Substitutions can be made at any point during the game, except when the defensive team ices the puck.
Face-offs are used to start periods of play and to restart play after a stoppage. Face-offs take place at center ice or at one of the 8 red face-off spots.
Offside occurs when the attacking player crosses the offensive blue line ahead of the puck. If this happens, play is stopped and a face-off takes place in the neutral zone.
Icing occurs when a player strikes the puck down the ice and across 2 red lines (the center line and goal line), without it coming into contact with another player. If this happens, play is stopped and a face-off takes place in the defending teams zone.
The referee (who wears a red armband) controls the game and makes the final decision on any matter. The referee is assisted by linesmen, who are concerned with offside, and goal judges, who look to see whether or not the puck has crossed the goal line.
A penalty shot is given when the offensive player is obstructed on a breakaway enough so they do not get a shot off. On a penalty shot, the shooter starts from center ice and is only allowed one shot on goal, even if there is a rebound.
When a team is given a penalty the player is sent to the penalty box and the opposing team goes on the power play.
If the team on the power plays scores then the penalty is over, but if the short-handed team scores the power play continues until the end of the penalty.
The most common penalty is a 2 minute minor. These are awarded for incidents such as:
Hooking, slashing, delay of game, interference, goaltender interference, tripping, roughing, elbowing, boarding, cross checking, charging, holding, high sticking, kneeing, check from behind, spearing, unsportsmanlike conduct or too many men on the ice.
A major penalty of 5 or 10 minutes is awarded for more serious physical contact such as:
Fighting, charging, hit from behind, unsportsmanlike conduct or hit to the head.
The offending player must stay in the penalty box for the entire duration of the penalty, even if their short-handed team is scored upon.
A major penalty can lead to a game misconduct resulting in the player being sent off for the remainder of the game. Depending on the severity of the penalty they may also receive an additional suspension.
If the score is tied after 60 minutes then an additional 5 minutes of 3-on-3 sudden death overtime is played until one team scores the golden goal.
If no goal is scored in overtime a penalty shootout takes place to decide the winning team of the game.