Hockey Terms

Glossary of Terms
Red Line:        The center line of the rink dividing the rink in half.  This line gets its name from its color in NHL rinks.

Blue Line:       There are two of these lines painted blue on an NHL rink.  They are located on each side of the rink a short distance from the red line.  These lines mark the entry into the offensive zone. Of course, for play to continue, the attacking team must all be on-sides or in other words, the ball must enter the offensive zone before a player.
                        ALTERNATIVE:  Floating Blue Line
                        In a lot of rinks, due to size or flow of play, a floating blue line is used.  Once the attacking team enters the offensive zone properly (on-sides), the defensive team must clear the ball over the Red or Center Line to clear the zone.  This allows for an expanded offensive zone to pump up the scoring, spread out the players and allow for a more free-flowing game.

Icing Line:       This line extends from each goalpost to the sides of the rink.  If your league has an icing rule, the opposing team cannot shoot the ball all the way behind the icing line from the other side of the red line.  This is designed to keep play moving and force the teams to avoid a game of delay by constantly shooting the ball all the way to the other side of the rink from their side of the red line.  If a team commits this violation of the rules, the referee blows the whistle to stop play and a face-off occurs in the offending teams’ zone.
Note:  If a team in killing a penalty, they are allowed to shoot the ball to the other side of the rink without a whistle.       

Offsides &
On-sides          When entering the opposing teams’ zone, the attacking team must be on-sides.  That means the ball must enter the opposing teams’ zone before an attacking players.  If this rule is violated, the referee stops play and a face-off occurs either just outside of the zone or from the point of the offending pass.

Clearing the zone:  This refers to a team who is attempting to shoot the ball out of their defensive zone.

The Point:       This is usually a reference to a player who plays one of the two points or corners of the power play for the attacking team.  Typically, it is a defensemen.

Penalty:           A rules violation that puts the offending player in the penalty box for a designated time (usually 2 minutes) unless the opposing team scores before the end of the penalty time.  If the opposing team scores before the expiration of the penalty, the penalized players remaining penalty time is wiped out and he is allowed back on the rink.

Penalty Time:  Usually it is a stop clock meaning that the penalty clock stops with any stoppage of play.  This makes the penalty seem longer for the penalized player especially if the game clock continues to run during the penalty.  Some leagues use a longer penalty time of 3 minutes running time meaning that the penalty timer does not stop even for a whistle.

Power Play      A power play is when a team has an extra player on the rink due to a penalty to the opposing team.  This means that one team has 5 players to 4 on the opposing team on the rink or 4 on 3 or 5 on 3 for that matter.  (A team cannot have less than 3 on the rink at one time.)  The power play penalizes the opposite team for a rule violation giving the other team a chance to score a goal during the penalty time.  The power play team attempts to gain control of the ball in the offensive zone and “set up” their scoring opportunities (due to having an extra player on the rink) by spreading out the defensive team.  The power play team attempts to control the ball and work it to the defensemen (or pointmen) for a slap shot while screening the goalie or working the ball down low by the goalie for a tap in goal or quality shot.

Penalty Kill:    The team that commits a rules violation is penalized and must serve a penalty.  This means that they have one less (or two) player on the rink compared to the other team.  This means that the penalty killing team is outnumbered and must play as a cohesive unit to kill off the time in the penalty until their penalized player is allowed to return to the rink.

As a means of strategy, a team has two defensemen and two forwards who play a box.  Picture a box with four corners on the rink in the defensive zone.  The two defensemen play the corners near the goalie and the two forwards play the corners closer to the blue line.  The defensemen try to cover the two to three players on the offensive team near the goalie while also trying to clear a loose ball out of the zone, block shots and make sure that the goalie can see any shots by trying to move the offensive players out of the way of the sight line of the goalie.
The forwards try to get in the way of the shots by the offensive pointmen and make it difficult for the forwards or defensemen to set up a play or make a pass.  The penalty killing players must be willing to block shots and disciplined so that they don’t chase the ball all over the rink thereby allowing the opposing team an easy goal because they got out of position.

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