Ice Hockey Made Easy

A quick look at some of the players, officials and rules of ice hockey.



Also known as a a goaltender, the goalie’s primary task is simple – keep the puck out of his own net. Offensively, he may start his team down the ice with a pass, but seldom does he leave the net he guards.


These players try to stop the incoming play at their own blue line. They try to break up passes, block shots, cover opposing forwards and clear the puck from in front of their own goal. Offensively, they get the puck to their forwards and follow the play into the attacking zone, positioning themselves just inside their opponent’s blue line at the “points.”


The centre leads the attack by carrying the puck on offence. He exchanges passes with his wings to steer the play toward the opposing goal. On defence, he tries to disrupt a play before it gets on his team’s side of the ice.


The wings team with the centre on the attack to set up shots on goal. Defensively, they attempt to break up plays by their counterparts and upset the shot attempts.



One or two are used. They supervise the game, call the penalties, determine goals and handle faceoffs at centre ice to start each period. Occasionally, a two-man system may be used if there is a shortage of officials. In this event, the two referees will also perform the linesmen’s duties.


Two are used. They call offside, offside pass, icing and handle all faceoffs not occurring at centre ice. They do not call penalties, but can recommend to the referee that a penalty be called.

Goal Judges

One sits off-ice behind each goal and indicates when the puck has entered the net by turning on a red light just above his station. The referee can ask his advice on disputed goals, but the referee has final authority and can overrule the goal judge.

Official Scorer

He determines which player scores and credits assists if there are any. He may consult the referee, but the scorer is the final authority in crediting points.


When any member of the attacking team precedes the puck carrier over the defending team’s blue line.


When a player shoots the puck across the red centre line and past the opposing red goal line. Icing is not called if the player’s team is shorthanded due to a penalty.


A team plays shorthanded when one or more of its players is charged with a penalty. However, no team is forced to play more than two players below full strength (six) at any time. When a third penalty is assessed to the same team, it is suspended until the first penalty expires. When a penalty is called on a goalie, a teammate serves his time in the penalty box.

Minor penalty (Two minutes)

Called for tripping, hooking, spearing, slashing, charging, roughing, holding, elbowing or boarding. Minor penalties can be combined to form a 2+2 penalty, which is given for fighting.

Major penalty (Five minutes)

Called when minor penalties are committed with deliberate attempt to injure. Major penalties for slashing, spearing, high-sticking, elbowing, butt-ending and cross-checking carry automatic game misconducts.

Misconduct (10 minutes)

Called for various forms of unsportsmanlike behavior or when a player incurs a second major penalty in a game. This is a penalty against an individual and not a team, so a substitute is permitted.

Penalty shot

A free shot, unopposed except for the goalie, given to a player who is illegally impeded from behind when he has possession of the puck with no opponent between him and the goal except the goalie. The team which commits the offence is not penalised beyond the penalty shot, whether it succeeds or not.

Delayed penalty

Whistle is delayed until the penalised team regains possession of the puck.