The penalties in hockey are pretty cool. The most common ones include the cross check that draws a misconduct, the hook check that results in a major penalty, and the interference that costs you a five-minute major.
But did you know that there are some “hidden” penalties that you can rack up even when playing by the rules? Let’s take a look.
A Fighting Major
One of the more interesting penalties is the fighting major. Just kidding! It’s not really a penalty at all, but it’s definitely a cool sounding one. The fighting major costs you a game and serves as grounds for disqualification. So what do you have to do to get one of these?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information on the subject. According to the official rule book, a fighting major applies to players who are “in a fight during an encounter with an opponent”. It is “not a situation where two individuals merely exchange blows or touches”. If a fight breaks out, the referees have the ability to stop the game and issue the major penalty, which can lead to disqualification. The only way to avoid a fighting major is to refrain from engaging in fights. But that’s probably not going to happen. The chances of you staying disciplined enough to avoid getting into a fight are pretty slim. So even though it’s not a penalty in hockey, the chance of you getting a fighting major is probably higher than you’d like.
A Five-Minute Major
Another interesting penalty is the five-minute major. This is the penalty you get when you refuse to leave the penalty box for any reason. The penalty was officially instituted in the 1917-18 NHL season so that players wouldn’t just endlessly come back and forth to the box. This was a short-lived penalty in the early years of the NHL, but it has stuck around as a means of punishment ever since. The only place you can rack up a five-minute major is in the penalty box. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are a few different ways you can use the penalty box. For instance, you can leave the ice to get treatment for an injury. You can also choose to take a break for a few minutes to drink some water or use the restroom. So while it’s not a fun penalty to give out, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Depending on your situation, it could be the best choice available to you.
Another interesting penalty is the misconduct. This is mainly used for on-ice fighting, but it also includes players who “engage in unsportsmanlike conduct” or “use abusive language or other foul or indecent language” during an on-ice game. The referee can give you a misconduct for an egregious display of bad behavior. For instance, if you pick a fight with an official, you’ll get a misconduct. But if you say some swear words during a fight, you’ll also get a misconduct. Basically, any kind of abusive language used during an on-ice game is grounds for a misconduct penalty. Once you’re marked with a misconduct, you’re unable to play for the rest of the game (assuming the penalty isn’t over 20 minutes). So basically, you’ll be unable to play for some time after you commit the misconduct.
A Game Misconduct
Still another interesting penalty is the game misconduct. This applies when a player is “guilty of any play that is objectionable or unfair”. The referee has the ability to stop the game and issue a misconduct warning or penalty to the player guilty of the infraction. A game misconduct can lead to suspension or revocation of play. So in other words, this is the penalty you get when you do something really bad that affects the game. For example, if you headbutt an opponent or crosscheck them intentionally, you’ll get a misconduct. You’ll also get a misconduct if you trip an opponent or throw a hit from behind.
A Three-Star Scoring Minor
One of the least known but potentially most penalized offences in hockey is the three-star scoring minor. Did you know that it is not only unsportsmanlike conduct to notch three stars on a goal? There are specific rules regarding this. The three-star scoring minor applies whenever you score a goal and immediately proceed to “prowl around the opposing team’s goal”. So in other words, if you score a goal and then start skating around the opposing team’s goal, you’ll get a three-star scoring minor. This is a really interesting penalty because it can be an indication that the officials have actually seen something fishy happening. In other words, they’ve actually seen you score a goal and then proceed to “harass” the opposition, which includes “charging” toward their net or “deliberately bumping” an opponent. If the referees catch you, they have the ability to issue a three-star scoring minor and/or a game misconduct.
An Overtime Misconduct
An overtime misconduct applies to players who “interfere with an opposing player without justification or otherwise willfully injure that player” during the five-minute overtime period. If a player interferes with an opposing player without justification or otherwise willfully injures them, the referee can issue a minor penalty or warning to the player. If the player commits a second offense during the five-minute overtime, they will face a five-minute major and/or game misconduct.
An Offside Minor
Did you know that from the back of the ice to the front of the ice, there is no offside? This means that if you are farther away from the opponent’s goal when the ball is kicked (or hit in the case of American football), you’re okay. Did you know that it is not only unsportsmanlike conduct to be offside? It’s a minor penalty. This includes players who “go offside after a play has started and before the whistle for the next play”. Basically, offside applies when “a player is positioned in an illegal area before the play starts and remains there during the course of the play”. This is definitely one of the more obscure minor penalties, but it’s an important one. Before the penalty was instituted, players could easily skirt around the ice, avoid contact, and gain an advantage. Offside is there to remind everyone that no matter whether you’re on or off the ball, play by the rules. Do your best to avoid getting tagged with an offside minor penalty. It’s not a fun penalty to give out, but it should be noted that it’s a common one. Did you know that sometimes referees can’t see where a player is on the ice? If they’re offside, they usually don’t know it until the foul was committed and then they figure it out. So in other words, referees have a hard time keeping track of offside when there’s a lot of action going on. This is especially true when the ice is foggy or there’s a lot of snow or ice spray on the ice. All of these things make it hard to tell where the players are located.