Hockey is a fast-paced and physical sport enjoyed by millions of people around the world. In this sport, players use sticks to pass and shoot a rubber puck into their opponent’s net in order to score points. But what some people may not know is that there are certain rules about how the puck can be moved on the ice.
One question that often comes up for new hockey fans or participants is whether or not kicking the puck is allowed. Can you use your feet to move the puck towards the goal? The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no, and it depends on a variety of factors that we will explore in this article.
In this article, we’ll discuss the official rules of hockey when it comes to using your feet or legs to control the puck. We’ll also examine different scenarios where kicking the puck could be legal or illegal, as well as the potential consequences of breaking these rules. Whether you’re a seasoned hockey player or just curious about the game, you’ll want to read on to learn if and when you can kick the puck in this exciting sport.
The Rules of Kicking in Hockey
Only intentional kicks are allowed
In hockey, players are only allowed to kick the puck if it is an intentional move. If a player unintentionally hits the puck with their skate or foot, they must immediately stop play and then continue playing with their stick. Intentional means that a player specifically attempts to use their lower leg or foot to control the puck.
If a player intentionally kicks the puck towards the goal, it is considered legal as long as they do not make contact with any opposing player’s body part or stick before entering the net.
Kicks that result in a goal are not allowed
While kicking the puck is legal under certain circumstances, there are still rules surrounding it. For instance, if a player kicks the puck into the net and a teammate scores, the goal will be disallowed due to a violation of rule 57.6: “A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net.”
This rule exists because allowing goals scored through kicking would lead to dangerous playing conditions. The opposition could also accidentally injure themselves while trying to block a shot, leading to unfair games where teams win simply by using their feet more frequently than their sticks.
Kicking an opponent is a penalty
Kicking an opponent in ice hockey is never acceptable and is considered one of the most serious fouls on the ice. Any type of physical contact, whether intentional or not, can endanger the safety of a fellow competitor and potentially cause serious injury.
Rule number 46 states that any deliberate act of kicking or attempting to kick another player is illegal. Penalties for these offenses range from minor infractions all the way up to game ejection and suspension for repeated offenses.
Kicking the puck out of the hands of the opponent is not allowed
The intention behind kicking the puck into a teammate’s hand is often to move it back into play. It can also be used during faceoffs, where players use their feet to win control over the puck.
Rule number 56.2 prohibits any player from using their skates or kicking motion to force the opposing team to lose possession of the puck. This rule protects the safety of all players on the ice and ensures that no one suffers an injury as a result of unnecessary slip-ups.
“Hockey has been responsible for perhaps more deaths than any other sport…” -David L. Lewis
It is important to understand the rules regarding kicking in hockey to avoid dangerous situations and penalties. Whether you are playing recreationally or professionally, always keep in mind that proper technique and following the rules will lead to a safer and better game experience for everyone involved.
When Kicking the Puck is Allowed
Redirecting the puck into the net with the skate blade is allowed
Kicking the puck into the net is one of the most controversial rules in hockey. As a general rule, players are not allowed to direct the puck into the net with their skate. However, there is an exception to this rule. If the player deflects the puck off their skate blade and into the goal, it will count if the official determines that there was no kicking motion involved.
“If he kicks the puck himself or redirects it with his foot deliberately, then we automatically say no-goal. That’s just our safety mechanism.” – Colin Campbell, NHL Senior Vice President
In order for the goal to be considered legitimate, these conditions must be met:
- The contact with the puck must happen below the level of the crossbar
- No distinct kicking motion can occur
- The ref’s determination is final
Kicking the puck to a teammate is allowed
While intentionally kicking the puck with your own skates towards the opponent’s goal isn’t allowed, you can still legally push the puck by using your feet as long as no distinct kicking motion occurs and you don’t use your hands to play the puck after doing so.
A common example of when kicking the puck to a teammate is acceptable is a face-off. Players may use skate blades to redirect passes while trying to win the faceoff, letting teammates gain possession instead of putting themselves in an isolated position on the ice where they can quickly lose control of the puck, giving the other team an easier path to the goal.
Kicking the puck out of harm’s way is allowed in certain situations
Kicking the puck is a well-regarded defensive move when your team needs to quickly clear the puck out of their zone, making it more challenging for opposing players to control the puck. It’s not just limited to defensemen, forwards can perform this action too.
In case you need to get rid of the puck fast while under pressure and without any other option at hand, kicking the puck or stopping it with your skates allows you to maintain an offensive or defensive position without causing a turnover that could lead to the other team gaining possession or scoring goals against you.
Kicking the puck to yourself to gain possession is allowed
When in need of some clever offense moves to take control of the puck during gameplay, using foot skills by directing it with your skate blade, rather than getting skillfully tied up from opponent checking, can sometimes be an effective solution. This method is commonly referred to as kick passing or simply kicking the puck to oneself to gain possession. As long as no distinct kicking motion occurs, most officials will allow it.
“Kicking is part of our game. A player slowing down a point shot has been accepted forever.” -Chris Pronger, retired NHL defenseman
The ability to execute all these different types of leg maneuvers requires a great deal of precision, timing, and athleticism. Therefore, players must master each scenario’s nuances before they can become proficient kickers on the ice.
Pros and Cons of Kicking the Puck
Pros: Can surprise opponents and create scoring opportunities
Kicking the puck in hockey is one of the most controversial moves that a player can make. While it may be daunting, there are specific pros that come with incorporating this technique into your playing style. One significant benefit of kicking the puck is that it can catch adversaries off-guard, giving you an opportunity to take advantage.
This tactic works well when trying to score goals as defenders often rely on their sticks or bodies to block movement towards their goalpost. A swift kick to shift the direction of the puck can leave them stunned and unable to respond quickly enough, thereby creating potential scoring opportunities as you advance beyond their defenses.
A great example of how effective kicking the puck can be was seen during the 2019 NHL playoffs, where Dylan Larkin’s redirection via his skate helped the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins by three goals, securing the victory they needed to progress to another round.
Cons: Can result in penalties and goals being disallowed
While the thought of surprising an adversary excites many, it is vital to note the cons attached to using the “kick” move in hockey games. First and foremost, if used incorrectly, this move may lead to penalties from officials. Every league has its own rules regarding what defines an illegal move, but in general, any use of the feet (except for stopping the puck) is not allowed and will result in a penalty called “kicking,” which could potentially earn you some time in the penalty box known as “Sin Bin.”
Additionally, attempting to kick the puck when near the opponent’s goal post might cause a phantasmagorical moment, leaving players unsure whether or not it went slightly above or below the post.
The NHL’s Rule 49 on pucks deflected by a player’s body succinctly speaks to disallowing goals created through such attempts: “A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal”. However, “distinct” remains an unclear term and left open for interpretation.
“There is also room in the rulebook for misinterpretation since it can be debatable whether a similar play resulted from a definitive kick or was incidental contact via another part of the player’s anatomy”
Hence, while you might think employing this tactic could quickly rack up your score, ensure that proper technique is employed when using any move involving your feet to avoid being called out as having committed a foul.
Can you kick the puck in hockey? Yes! But at what risk? The consequences attached to this move make it crucial to practice caution while using it during games. Understandably though, by following the rules, this action builds excitement and adds flavor to the game, causing fans and players alike to cheer louder as they watch their favorite players employ daring moves.
While some may argue against its use because of its inherent risks, kicking the puck undoubtedly adds skill and strategy to a team’s overall playing style. Ultimately, if done appropriately, the pros overshadow the cons. So go ahead; try it out!
How to Improve Your Kicking Technique
Practice redirecting the puck into the net with your skate blade
If you are a hockey player, then you already know how important it is to develop proper stickhandling and shooting skills. But what about kicking the puck? Believe it or not, being able to redirect the puck into the net with your skate blade can be extremely useful in certain situations.
To start practicing this technique, begin by positioning yourself in front of the net. Get in close enough that you can easily see the empty space between the goalie’s pads. Then have a teammate take shots on goal while you try to redirect the puck using only your skate blade.
The key here is to angle your skate blade properly so that the puck bounces up and over the goalie’s pads. This technique is especially effective when the goalie has dropped down too low and left an opening at the top of the net.
Work on accuracy when kicking the puck to a teammate
In addition to redirecting the puck into the net, being able to accurately kick the puck to a teammate can also be very advantageous during a game. This could happen if your stick gets tied up with an opponent’s, leaving you unable to make a pass with it.
To get better at this skill, have a partner stand in different parts of the rink and practice passing the puck back and forth using kicks instead of sticks. Start with short passes and gradually increase the distance as your accuracy improves.
Develop quick reflexes to kick the puck out of harm’s way
No matter how well-defended your team is, there will always be times when opponents manage to slip through and attempt a shot on goal. In some cases, you may need to use your feet to defend against these shots.
To develop this skill, have a partner take quick shots at you while standing just outside the crease. Practice quickly reacting and kicking the puck out of harm’s way before it has a chance to reach the net. Remember that speed and agility are key here, so keep your movements light and lightning fast.
Improve your footwork and balance for better control
Finally, it is worth noting that being able to kick the puck effectively requires both good footwork and excellent balance. One of the simplest ways to improve both of these qualities is by practicing stationary lunges with weights.
The added weight will help build leg strength while improving your overall balance. This, in turn, can lead to greater control over your kicks as well as an improved ability to remain on your feet during intense gameplay.
“The beauty of hockey is that even if you aren’t the most skilled player on the ice, there’s always something you can do to contribute to your team’s success.” -Jordin Tootoo
If you want to become a more versatile and valuable player, then working on your puck-kicking skills is definitely worth considering. With practice and dedication, you could soon be using your feet to move the puck in all sorts of creative ways!
Top Players Known for Their Kicking Skills
Hockey is a sport where players use sticks to shoot the puck into the opponent’s goal. However, there are instances in a game where a player can kick the puck towards the goal. But is it legal? According to NHL rules, players cannot score or deflect the puck with a kicking motion despite exceptions like “distinct kicking motion” and “puck entering net off skate”. Nevertheless, some players have remarkable footwork and can effectively control the puck using their kicks.
Pavel Datysuk is a retired Russian professional hockey player who played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). He was known for his incredible stickhandling ability, but he also had excellent kicking skills. In an interview with The Hockey News, Detroit Red Wings teammate Danny DeKeyser said, “You never know when he’s going to do something crazy…he can kick the puck around like its nothing.”
Datsyuk’s exceptional kicking abilities were highlighted in a game against Columbus Blue Jackets on March 11, 2015. When he was guarding the left-side boards, the opposing team tried to clear the puck behind him. Instead of trying to turn back and grab the puck with his stick, Datsyuk decided to kick it over his head while spinning around. This trick surprised his opponents, and Datsyuk quickly passed the puck to a teammate, leading to a scoring opportunity.
Sidney Crosby is considered one of the best hockey players in the world today. He plays as a center for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL and has won various championships throughout his career. What many people don’t know is that Crosby has great soccer-style kicking abilities, which he uses to control the puck around his feet.
In an interview with The Athletic, former NHL coach and commentator Pierre McGuire commented on Crosby’s unorthodox move using his legs: “You see him put it off the side of his right foot like he’s a world-class soccer player…It’s one way where Sidney Crosby is ahead of everybody else.”
Crosby’s kicking skills also proved useful in a game against Winnipeg Jets in March 2019. In the second period, the opponent had control of the puck near Pittsburgh’s goal when one of their players took a shot that ricocheted off Crosby’s stick straight into the air. As the puck was falling down towards the ice, Crosby used a backward kick to push it away from danger quickly.
- The act of directly scoring goals by kicking the puck in Hockey can be challenging and even illegal in some circumstances. But some gifted players have mastered how to use their feet deftly and add another dimension to their playing style. Pavel Datsyuk and Sidney Crosby are two such examples who showcase tremendous skill in controlling the puck via their kicks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to kick the puck in hockey?
Yes, it is legal to kick the puck in hockey as long as it is not done intentionally or in a dangerous manner. The rules state that a player may use their skate to stop or deflect the puck, but they cannot use a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net or towards a teammate.
What happens if a player kicks the puck in hockey?
If a player kicks the puck intentionally or in a dangerous manner, it will result in a penalty. The referee will blow the whistle and the offending player will be sent to the penalty box for a specified amount of time. Additionally, if a player kicks the puck into the net to score a goal, it will not count and play will be stopped.
Are there any situations where kicking the puck is allowed in hockey?
Yes, there are situations where kicking the puck is allowed in hockey. A player may use their skate to stop or deflect the puck, but they cannot use a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net or towards a teammate. Additionally, a player may kick the puck to move it out of the crease to prevent a goal or to clear the puck out of their defensive zone.
What is the penalty for kicking the puck in hockey?
The penalty for kicking the puck in hockey is a minor penalty, which results in the offending player being sent to the penalty box for two minutes. If the kick is deemed intentional or dangerous, a major penalty may be assessed, resulting in a five-minute penalty and possible ejection from the game.
How do referees determine if a player intentionally kicked the puck in hockey?
Referees in hockey use their judgment to determine if a player intentionally kicked the puck. If the player has a distinct kicking motion or if the kick is deemed dangerous, the referee will assess a penalty. However, if the player is using their skate to stop or deflect the puck, it will not result in a penalty.
Can a goal be scored by kicking the puck in hockey?
No, a goal cannot be scored by kicking the puck in hockey. If a player kicks the puck into the net, play will be stopped and the goal will not count. The puck must be propelled into the net by a stick or redirected off a player’s body in a legal manner to count as a goal.