Discover What Makes Icing in Hockey and How to Avoid it

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Ice hockey is a thrilling sport that requires a unique set of skills from its players. One of the most significant aspects of the game is icing. Many beginners find this concept challenging to understand, but it’s a critical rule that players need to be aware of. In this article, we’ll dive deep into what makes icing in hockey and how to avoid it.

Icing is an important rule in hockey that players must adhere to. It is when a player shoots the puck from their side of the rink, past the opposing team’s goal line, without any player touching it. However, not all icings are the same, and there are specific rules that apply to each situation.

Whether you’re new to hockey or a seasoned player, understanding the rules of icing is essential. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of icing in hockey, why it’s essential, and what happens after an icing call. So, grab your stick, lace-up your skates, and let’s get started!

From understanding the basics of icing to learning how to avoid it, this article has everything you need to know to become a better hockey player. Keep reading to learn more about one of the most critical rules in hockey and how to make sure you’re always on top of your game!

The Basics of Icing in Hockey

Before we dive into the specifics of icing in hockey, it’s important to understand the basic concept of the game. At its core, hockey is a fast-paced and physical sport that requires players to skate, pass, and shoot with speed and accuracy. Offensive zone, defensive zone, and neutral zone are the three main areas on the ice, with each team aiming to control the puck and score goals.

So, what exactly is icing in hockey? When a player shoots the puck from behind the center red line all the way to the opponent’s goal line without it being touched, icing is called. The play stops, and the puck is brought back to the offending team’s zone for a faceoff. However, there are a few key exceptions to this rule, such as when the puck is touched by a defending player before it crosses the goal line. Icing the puck is a common strategy used by teams to relieve pressure or change lines during a game.

It’s important to note that not all levels of hockey have the same icing rules. In the NHL, for example, hybrid icing is used to protect players from dangerous collisions. Meanwhile, USA Hockey allows for touch icing, which means that the play is stopped as soon as the puck crosses the goal line, regardless of who touches it first. Regardless of the rules, though, icing remains a crucial part of the game that players and fans alike must understand.

One of the most significant consequences of icing is the resulting faceoff. When a team ices the puck, a faceoff is held in the offending team’s zone. This gives the non-offending team a chance to win the puck and potentially score a goal. As a result, many teams will use icing as a defensive tactic to reset and regroup during a game.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that icing can have an impact on a team’s overall performance. Too many icing calls can lead to fatigue among players, as well as a decrease in offensive opportunities. As a result, teams must use icing strategically and avoid making unnecessary calls whenever possible.

Definition of Icing

In ice hockey, icing occurs when a player shoots the puck across both the red center line and the opposing team’s goal line, and the puck is not touched by another player before crossing the goal line. When icing is called, play is stopped and the puck is brought back to the offending team’s zone for a face-off.

The purpose of the icing rule is to prevent teams from simply shooting the puck down the ice as a defensive strategy. It also helps to keep the game moving by encouraging offensive play and preventing teams from stalling.

It is important to note that icing does not occur if the offending team is shorthanded due to a penalty or if the puck is shot from the defensive zone and goes directly into the goal.

How Icing is Called

Icing is called in three ways:

  1. Automatic Icing: The most common way icing is called is through automatic icing. The linesman will blow the whistle and stop the play as soon as they determine that the puck has crossed the goal line, and no player from the opposing team had touched it before crossing the line.
  2. Touch Icing: Touch icing is a rare type of icing. It is called when a player from the opposing team touches the puck before it crosses the goal line. The linesman will then blow the whistle and stop play.
  3. No-Icing: In rare circumstances, a linesman may wave off icing if they believe the puck was shot in an attempt to score a goal. If the puck misses the net and crosses the goal line, the icing is waved off, and play continues.

Teams can also waive off icing in some instances:

  • Defensive Team: If the defensive team is first to touch the puck after it crosses the goal line, icing will be waved off, and play continues.
  • Offensive Team: If the offensive team is first to touch the puck after it crosses the goal line, icing will be waved off, and play continues.
  • Goalie: If the goalie leaves the net and moves past the hash marks towards the puck, icing will be waved off, and play continues.

It’s important to know the different ways icing can be called, as it affects how players should react on the ice. Stay tuned to learn more about what happens after an icing call.

Exceptions to the Icing Rule

Power Play: When a team is on a power play, they cannot be called for icing. This is to prevent the short-handed team from constantly icing the puck and wasting time.

Goalie: If the goalie leaves the crease and goes to the corner to play the puck, icing can be waved off by the linesman.

Touching: If an opposing player touches the puck before it crosses the goal line, icing is waved off. This is known as “waving off the icing.”

Why is Icing Important in Hockey?

Safety: One of the main reasons icing is important in hockey is player safety. Icing is called to prevent players from chasing the puck at high speeds and colliding with the boards or other players.

Strategy: Another reason is that icing can be used strategically to gain an advantage. A team can intentionally ice the puck to relieve pressure or create a line change.

Offensive Zone Faceoff: Icing can also lead to an offensive zone faceoff for the opposing team, giving them a chance to create scoring opportunities and potentially score a goal.

Enforcement: Finally, icing is important because it is enforced by the officials. Teams cannot consistently use icing as a strategy without facing consequences, which helps maintain fairness in the game.

The Importance of Fair Play

Fair play is one of the core principles of hockey. This means that players should abide by the rules and regulations of the game, including the icing rule. Icing can be seen as a breach of fair play, as it gives an unfair advantage to the defending team. By enforcing the icing rule, players are encouraged to play fairly and not take shortcuts that could negatively impact the game.

Moreover, fair play promotes safety. Players who disregard the rules of the game, such as those who engage in icing, can put themselves and others at risk of injury. By playing within the rules, players can help prevent unnecessary injuries on the ice.

Additionally, fair play is essential for building sportsmanship and respect among players. When players adhere to the rules of the game, they show respect for their opponents and the game itself. This fosters a sense of community and sportsmanship that is vital for the growth and sustainability of hockey as a sport.

In short, enforcing the icing rule is important not only for maintaining the fairness and safety of the game but also for promoting sportsmanship and respect among players.

Strategic Benefits of Icing

Icing in hockey is not just about the rules and penalties. It can also be used as a strategic move to gain an advantage over the opposing team. Here are some benefits of icing that teams can take advantage of:

Defensive Break: If a team is under pressure in their own zone, they can use icing as a way to get a defensive break. When the puck is iced, the play stops and the defending team gets to change players, giving them an opportunity to catch their breath and get their best defensive players on the ice.

Offensive Faceoff: When the puck is iced, the ensuing faceoff takes place in the defending team’s zone. This gives the offensive team a chance to set up a play and potentially score a goal. Winning the faceoff after an icing call can also lead to sustained offensive pressure.

Timeout: Teams are not allowed to call a timeout after an icing call, but they can use the opportunity to rest their players and discuss strategy. Coaches can use this break in play to make adjustments and get their team back on track.

Icing is an important aspect of the game of hockey, and understanding its strategic benefits can help teams use it to their advantage. However, it’s important to remember that icing should never be used as a deliberate tactic to simply waste time or avoid pressure from the opposing team.

What Happens After an Icing Call?

Faceoff in the Defending Zone: After an icing call, the game resumes with a faceoff in the defending team’s zone. The players on the defending team must stay in their zone, while the attacking team players can position themselves anywhere on the ice except in the crease area.

No Line Change: Neither team is allowed to change their players on the ice before the faceoff following an icing call, unless the defending team used its timeout or there is an injury.

Offensive Zone Faceoff: If the team that iced the puck was not shorthanded, they are not allowed to change their players before the next faceoff, which will be in the attacking zone. The attacking team is allowed to make substitutions.

Penalties: If the attacking team touches the puck first after an icing call, it results in a penalty for the defending team, except in certain situations such as if the player on the attacking team beats the defending player to the puck, or if the linesman determines that the defending player could have touched the puck but chose not to.

Understanding icing in hockey is essential for players, coaches, and fans alike. It is a rule that can impact the outcome of a game, and knowing how to avoid it or use it to your advantage can give your team the edge they need to win. By following the rules and understanding the strategic benefits, players can use icing to their advantage while maintaining fair play on the ice.

Faceoff Location

After an icing call, the faceoff is taken in the defending zone of the team that committed the infraction. The faceoff location is an important aspect of the game, as it can give one team an advantage over the other.

If the defending team was able to touch the puck first after an icing call, they are permitted to make a line change before the faceoff occurs. This can be an advantage for the defending team, as they can put fresh players on the ice to help win the faceoff and clear the puck out of their zone.

If the attacking team was able to touch the puck first, they are not permitted to make a line change. This can be a disadvantage for the attacking team, as they may have tired players on the ice who will need to battle for possession of the puck during the faceoff.

Player Positioning

After an icing call, the positioning of players on the ice is crucial. The team that committed the icing violation is not allowed to make any player substitutions, while the opposing team is allowed to make any substitutions they wish. This gives the opposing team an advantage as they can choose their players based on the situation and the strengths of their players.

The team that committed the icing violation must also place their players in their defensive zone, while the opposing team can place their players anywhere on the ice. This means that the team that committed the icing violation has a greater chance of being scored on since they are limited in their player positioning.

The player positioning for the faceoff after an icing call is also important. The centermen of each team must line up in the faceoff circle and wait for the puck to be dropped by the referee. The other players on the ice must be positioned behind the faceoff circle until the puck is in play.

Possible Penalties

While icing is a common part of hockey, it can result in penalties for the offending team. If the defensive team intentionally ices the puck, the game will be stopped and the faceoff will take place in their zone. Additionally, the player who committed the icing infraction cannot be replaced on the ice until the faceoff has taken place.

If a player from the offensive team touches the puck after an icing call, they will be penalized with a two-minute minor penalty for “delay of game.” The faceoff will then take place in their defensive zone, and the offending player will have to serve the penalty time in the penalty box.

If the offensive team touches the puck first, but the linesman judges that they could not have played the puck before the defensive team, the icing will be waved off, and play will continue.

How to Avoid Icing in Hockey

Communication: Good communication is essential to avoid icing. Players need to communicate with each other, especially the defenseman and the forwards, to avoid sending the puck too far down the ice.

Forechecking: Effective forechecking can prevent the opposing team from clearing the puck from their defensive zone, thus avoiding an icing call. Forechecking means pressuring the opposing team’s defenseman and forwards as they try to move the puck out of their zone.

Passing: Good passing skills can help a team avoid icing. Players need to pass the puck accurately to avoid sending it too far down the ice, and they need to be aware of their positioning to receive passes effectively.

Stickhandling: Strong stickhandling skills can help players maintain control of the puck and avoid icing. Players need to be able to maneuver the puck through traffic and around defenders to keep the play in the offensive zone.

Passing Strategies

Use the boards: Instead of trying to pass the puck through the middle of the ice, use the boards to create a safer and more controlled pass. This can also help to prevent turnovers and potential icing calls.

Communication: Clear communication between players can help to avoid icing calls. For example, the player with the puck can communicate with their teammates on the ice and let them know if they are going to pass or if they need support.

Keep control of the puck: Players can avoid icing calls by maintaining possession of the puck and carrying it into the offensive zone. This can be done by using quick stickhandling skills and making short, accurate passes to maintain possession.

Skating Techniques

Crossover: One of the most common skating techniques in hockey is the crossover. This involves crossing one foot over the other while skating to change direction quickly and efficiently. It is an essential technique for both forwards and defensemen to master.

Edgework: Another important skating technique is edgework. This involves using the edges of your skates to make quick turns and changes in direction. Good edgework allows players to maneuver around opponents and create scoring opportunities.

Backward Skating: Backward skating is a crucial skill for defensemen and can be useful for forwards as well. It involves skating backward while facing the play and being able to move quickly in any direction. Players must also be able to maintain good body positioning and balance while skating backward.

Strategies to Use After an Icing Call

When your team is called for icing, it’s important to have a plan of action to regain possession of the puck and avoid giving up a goal. Here are five strategies to use after an icing call:

Take advantage of the offensive zone faceoff

After an icing call, the play comes back to your team’s defensive zone. However, if the opposing team was the last to touch the puck before it crossed the red line, your team gets an offensive zone faceoff. This is a great opportunity to win possession of the puck and create scoring chances.

Use a set play

Coaches can use an icing call to their advantage by implementing a set play for the ensuing faceoff. This can involve specific player positioning or passing strategies to quickly move the puck up the ice and generate a scoring opportunity.

Make a line change

After an icing call, the opposing team is not allowed to make a line change. This means that your team can use this time to switch out tired players for fresh legs, giving them an advantage in the ensuing play.

Pressure the opposing team

After an icing call, the opposing team is forced to play defense and clear the puck out of their zone. This is a great opportunity for your team to apply pressure and force turnovers, potentially leading to a scoring chance.

Clear the zone

If your team is struggling to gain possession of the puck after an icing call, it may be beneficial to simply clear the zone and regroup. This can give your team a chance to catch their breath and reestablish their game plan.

Defensive Tactics

Clearing the Puck: One of the best ways to defend against an opponent after an icing call is to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. This involves hitting or carrying the puck out of the zone to relieve pressure on the defense.

Forechecking: Another effective tactic is to send one or two forwards in on the forecheck to pressure the opponent’s defense and prevent them from setting up a play. This can disrupt their momentum and create turnovers.

Box +1 Formation: This defensive formation involves the four defenders forming a box in front of the net, with one player guarding the front of the net. This can help prevent the opponent from scoring by limiting their opportunities in front of the net.

Change Lines: After an icing call, the defending team has the opportunity to change lines. This can help keep fresh legs on the ice and prevent fatigue, which can lead to mistakes and give the opponent an advantage.

Communication: Clear communication among teammates is key to successful defense after an icing call. The defenders should communicate with each other and the goaltender to ensure they are all on the same page and ready to defend against the opponent’s attack.

Common Misconceptions About Icing in Hockey

Misconception 1: Icing is always a bad thing

While it’s true that icing can result in a faceoff in your team’s defensive zone, it’s not always a bad thing. In some situations, icing can be a strategic move to relieve pressure and allow your team to regroup.

Misconception 2: The team that ices the puck can’t make a line change

This is not true. The team that ices the puck can make a line change, but they have to wait until the other team has put their players on the ice.

Misconception 3: Icing is the same at all levels of hockey

While the basic rules of icing are the same at all levels of hockey, there are some differences in how it’s enforced. For example, in some leagues, the linesman will wave off an icing call if they feel a player could have made an effort to play the puck.

Icing is Only Called in the Defensive Zone

Contrary to popular belief, icing can actually be called in the offensive zone as well. If a player shoots the puck from behind the center line and it crosses the opponent’s goal line without being touched, icing will be called, even if the team was attacking.

This rule was introduced to prevent teams from simply clearing the puck down the ice in hopes of gaining a territorial advantage. Instead, it encourages players to make skillful, strategic passes rather than relying on luck.

It’s important for players to be aware of this rule and not take unnecessary risks, especially when their team is leading and trying to protect a lead. A simple dump of the puck could result in an icing call and a faceoff in their own zone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is icing in hockey?

Icing in hockey is a violation that occurs when a player shoots the puck from their side of the center line, past the opposing team’s goal line, and no one touches it before it crosses the goal line.

Why is icing called in hockey?

Icing is called in hockey to prevent teams from shooting the puck down the ice as a way to kill time and avoid play in their defensive zone.

What is the penalty for icing in hockey?

The penalty for icing in hockey results in a stoppage of play and a faceoff in the defending team’s zone. Additionally, if the team that iced the puck is first to touch the puck after the faceoff, play will continue.

Can icing be waved off in hockey?

Yes, icing can be waved off in hockey if an opposing player is able to reach the puck before it crosses the goal line or if the team that iced the puck is shorthanded due to a penalty.

How can a team avoid icing in hockey?

A team can avoid icing in hockey by making controlled passes and shots, maintaining possession of the puck, and making strategic decisions to clear the puck out of their zone. They can also use their speed and agility to beat opposing players to the puck and avoid icing.

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