Hockey 101

Hockey 101

This is the place for a crash course in hockey! Select from the links below to learn anything and everything about our favorte sport.

The Game

OHL games are played in three 20-minute periods with two 15-minute intermissions. If the score is tied at the end of regulation play, there is a 5-minute sudden death overtime period. If neither team scores in overtime, the game is recorded as a tie.

Each team plays 6 men at a time, unless a player has been placed in the penalty box. Player substitutions are made both during game action and stops in play. The 6 player positions are:

  • Goaltender
  • Defensemen (2)
  • Center
  • Wings (2)

A team scores when a player shoots the puck into the opposing team’s goal. Players who help set up a goal earn an “assist”. A maximum of 2 players can assist on each goal.

A win is worth 2 point in the league standings and a tie counts as 1 point.

Hockey does not employ a large variety of set plays like football. Instead, the players must react from instinct. TEAM WORK IS THE KEY.

The Players


The goalie’s job is to keep the opposing team from scoring. He may use any part of his body or any piece of equipment to do so, and is allowed to catch or smother the puck.


The two defensemen try to stop incoming play. They block shots, clear the puck from in front of the net and cover the other team’s forwards. Offensively, they get the puck to their center and wings then follow play into the attack zone and try to keep it there.


Operating up and down the middle of the ice, the center usually leads the attack for his team. He is the playmaker, passing between his two wings to set up a goal. Defensively, he tries to keep the puck in the attacking zone by breaking up a play before it gets to his team’s side of the ice.


The two wings (right and left) move up and down the sides of the rink with the direction of play. Offensively they work with the center on the attack to set up shots on goal. Defensively, they try to disrupt playmaking by the opposing team’s wings.

Main Rules


A team is offsides when a member of the team that is attacking the defensive zone precedes the puck over the defending team’s blueline. The player’s skates and not the hockey stick are the determining factor. The player is offside if both skates are over the blueline before the puck. If one skate is on the blueline and the other is over, he is onside.

Offside Pass

A two-line pass occurs when a player passes the puck from the defending zone to a team-mate past the center red line, thus crossing the blueline and the red line. The puck’s position determines which zone the pass was made, not the player’s skates.

Icing the Puck

Icing the puck is when a player is on his side of the red center line and shoots the puck all the way down the ice, it crosses the red goal line anywhere except for the goal itself and is touched by the defending team first. Icing is not allowed when teams are at equal strength.

When icing occurs, play is halted and the face-off is in the offending team’s zone. Icing is not called when:

  • The goalie plays the puck by leaving the net.
  • The puck passes through the goal crease.
  • When, in the judgement of the linesman defending team member could have played the puck before it crossed the goal line.
  • When an onside offensive player manages to touch the puck before the defending player.
  • When due to penalty or penalties, a team is playing with an uneven number of players.


How do they make an ice rink?

Water is sprayed over a concrete floor that has freezing pipes imbedded in it. Multiple layers of ice are sprayed on until it reaches proper thickness.

How are the red and blue lines placed in the ice?

The ice is build to a half-inch thickness, then the marking are painted on, after which additional water is sprayed to “coat” the markings and build the ice to the prescribed thickness.

What is a Zamboni?

It’s the name of the machine that cleans the ice between periods. The Zamboni scrapes off the loose shavings and lays down a layer of hot water that welds a smooth sheet of new ice to the playing surface.

What is the puck made of?

The puck is 6 oz. Of solid vulcanized rubber, three inches in diameter and one inch thick. It is frozen before use to prevent it from bouncing on the ice.

How fast does the puck travel?

Some slap shots travel up to 100 mph. Speeds of 120 mph have been recorded by some of the hardest shooters. To add to a goaltender’s problems, the puck often curves in flight making its path difficult to predict.

Hockey Lingo


Forwards in the enemy zone skate back quickly to their own end to protect the goal.


Slowing or stopping an opponent with the puck with the hip or shoulder.


A player who skates in on goal ahead of all opponents except the goaltender.

Butt Ending

Hitting an opponent with the end of the stick farthest from the blade. Illegal and calls for a penalty.


Taking more than 2 strides or jumping before checking an opponent. Illegal and calls for a penalty.


The blue area directly in front of the goal.


Hitting an opponent with both hands on the stick and no part of the stick on the ice. Illegal and calls for a penalty.

Drop Pass

The puck carrier will leave the puck behind to be picked up by a trailing teammate.


How the puck is put into play to start the game or after any stop in game action.


Hustling into the opponent’s defensive zone by the forwards who want to keep the puck there, and hopefully take it away.

Freezing the Puck

Pinning the puck against the boards with either stick or skates.

Hat Trick

Three goals scored by the same player in one game.


When a player passes the puck forward to an attacking teammate.

High Sticking

Illegally striking an opponent with the stick above shoulder level.


Using the hands and grasping an opponent or his equipment. Illegal and calls for a penalty.


Impeding the progress of an opponent who doesn’t have the puck or who is in contention for the puck. Also called for knocking an opponent’s fallen stick out of his reach. Illegal and calls for a penalty.

Neutral Zone

Center ice between the blue lines.


Position just inside the opposition’s blue line usually manned by a defenseman when their team is in control of the puck in the opposition’s zone.

Poke Check

Stabbing at the puck with the blade of the stick to take it from the puck carrier.

Power Play

A team with more players n the ice than the opposition due to penalties.

Screen Shot

A shot the goalie cannot see clearly because of a player between him and the shooter.


Sticking an opponent with the stick. Illegal and calls for a penalty even if no contact occurs.


The “alley” between the two circles directly in front of the nets.


Using the stick like a spear. Illegal and calls for a 5-minute major penalty.

Stick Handling

Carrying the puck along the ice with the stick.

Sweep Check

Using the entire length of the stick while laying flat on the ice in order to take the puck from the center.

Guide to penalties

Minor Penalties

(2 minutes) called for minor infractions including tripping, holding, hooking, interference and high sticking.

Major Penalties

(5 minutes) called for fighting and minor penalties that are flagrant and result in injury.


(10 minutes) called for various forms of unsportsmanlike conduct. Substitutions are permitted for players serving misconduct penalties.

Penalties are called by the referee. The linesmen concentrate mainly on calling offsides and icing. Rarely, a linesman may call a misconduct penalty or ask the referee to assess one if he thinks it is justified.


Pounding the closed fist of one hand into the other. Called for driving opponent into dashers.


Clasping the wrists in front of the chest. Called for using hands-on opponent or his equipment.


Chopping with one hand across the opposite forearm. Called for swinging stick at the opponent


Rotating clenched fists in front of chest. Called for taking more than 3 strides before checking opponent.



Crossed arms in front of chest with fists closed. Called for having contact with opponent not in possession of puck.


A jabbing motion with both hands in front of the body. Called for using the stick like a spear.

Cross Checking

A forward and backward motion with fists extending from the chest. Called for hitting opponent with both hands-on the stick and no part of stick on the ice.


Tugging motion with arms, as called for using stick or blade to hook opponent.


Strike the right leg with the right hand below the knee. Called for using stick, arm or leg to cause the opponent to trip or fall.


Slapping the knee with palm of hand. Called when using knee to impede opponent.

Delayed Calling of Penalty

Referee extends arm and point to penalized player until penalized team regains possession of puck.

The Equipment


The helmet is made of lightweight fiber or plastic with an inner cushion of foam padding.

Shoulder Pads

The shoulder pads extend over the front and back to add protection to the chest and upper back.

Elbow Pads

Protect the elbows and upper forearms.


Hockey pants have fiber padding on the front and side of the thigh. They’re high enough to protect the kidneys and lower back.


Hockey skates have hard toes and built-in tendon guards.


Hockey sticks are made of wood or aluminum and must not exceed 53 inches from heel to end of shaft.

Knee/Shin Pads

This protection is made of fiber or plastic.


The gloves have individually padded fingers and also protect the wrist and forearm.

Goaltender Equipment

A goalie’s equipment differs from the other players’ in several ways:

  • He wears overstuffed, ribbed leg pads that not only protect his legs, but help to block shots.
  • A heavy chest protector covers his shoulders, stomach and abdomen.
  • His catching glove is similar to a first baseman’s mitt and a large glove with a waffle-like shield protects his stick hand.
  • A goalie’s stick is wider on the blade and shaft than a regular stick.
  • His mask is made of fiberglass and form fitted to his face. It also provides protection for the throat and head.