What Is A Double Minor In Hockey? Find Out Now!

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Ice hockey is a fast-paced and exciting game that has been around for over a century. Watching a live game or catching one on television can be thrilling, but understanding the rules of the game is essential to truly appreciate it.

One term that you may hear during a broadcast or while attending a game is “double minor.” This term refers to a specific penalty in ice hockey, but what does it mean?

A double minor occurs when a player receives two consecutive minor penalties at once. In other words, they break two different rules and must serve four minutes in the penalty box instead of the usual two for a single minor penalty.

“A double minor can make a significant impact on the flow of the game and can give the opposing team an advantage.”

This penalty can occur for various reasons, including high-sticking, slashing, cross-checking, and more. Understanding this rule is critical if you want to understand why a particular play resulted in a power-play opportunity or a goal for the other team.

So next time you’re watching a hockey game, keep your eyes peeled for any players who might receive a double minor penalty – it could be a crucial moment in the game!

Definition of Double Minor Penalty

A double minor penalty is a type of punishment given to a player in ice hockey, which lasts for four minutes. A double minor is imposed when a player commits two separate infractions during the same play. While a single infraction typically results in two minutes of serving time in the penalty box, a double minor is twice as long and can significantly impact the outcome of the game.

Explanation of Double Minor Penalty

The rules of hockey are designed to promote fairness and sportsmanship on the ice. When a player violates these rules, they may be subject to penalties. Penalties can range from minor infractions that last two minutes to more severe infractions, such as major or game misconduct penalties. These penalties are designed to deter players from engaging in dangerous or unsportsmanlike behavior, like slashing an opponent’s stick or hitting an opposing player with their own stick.

A double minor penalty results from committing two different infractions during the same play. For example, if a player high-sticks an opponent, causing injury and drawing blood, they will receive a four-minute double minor penalty. This means that their team will be shorthanded for four consecutive minutes while the player sits in the penalty box.

Types of Infractions That Result in a Double Minor Penalty

There are several types of infractions that can result in a double minor penalty. One of the most common is high-sticking, where a player raises their stick above their shoulders and makes contact with another player. If this results in an injury that draws blood, the player will receive a double minor penalty.

Another type of infraction that can result in a double minor is spearing. Spearing occurs when a player jabs their stick at another player. If the stick makes contact with the opponent, the player will receive a double minor penalty.

Other infractions that can result in a double minor include butt-ending (using the end of the stick to strike another player), cross-checking (hitting an opposing player with the shaft of the stick), and roughing (engaging in unnecessary physical contact).

Severity of a Double Minor Penalty

A double minor is a relatively severe penalty in hockey. When a team is shorthanded due to a double minor, they are at a significant disadvantage. The other team has more players on the ice, which means they have more opportunities to score goals. Additionally, when a player serves a four-minute penalty, they are out of the game for twice as long as they would be for a regular two-minute penalty. This can impact their ability to contribute to the game if and when they return to play.

“A double minor can mean the difference between winning and losing a tight game,” says former NHL defenseman Brad Lukowich. “It’s important for players to exercise restraint and avoid committing multiple infractions during the same play.”

In addition to putting the penalized team at a disadvantage, a double minor also puts added pressure on the rest of the players on the ice. They must work harder to defend against the opposing team and prevent them from scoring goals while they are down a player. If they fail to do so, it can lead to a blowout loss.

A double minor penalty is a serious consequence for any infraction committed during a play in hockey. Players should be mindful of their behavior on the ice to avoid costly penalties that could hurt their teams’ chances of winning games or advancing through playoffs.

When is a Double Minor Penalty Given?

High Sticking

A double minor penalty in hockey is typically given when the player commits an offense that results in two consecutive minutes of penalties. One such example of this is high sticking.

According to USA Hockey Rule 621, if a player makes contact with an opponent while carrying their stick above shoulder height and causes injury, or attempted to do so but missed their intended target, they will receive a double minor penalty.

“A double minor will be assessed for drawing blood from a high sticking infraction” – National Hockey League (NHL) Rulebook


The act of boarding occurs when a player forcibly pushes an opponent into the boards with unnecessary force and recklessness. This can lead to serious injuries and is punishable under multiple rules depending on the severity of the hit.

If a player boards another without causing significant harm, they may receive a standard penalty. However, if the impact causes injury, then the guilty party may find themselves receiving two separate two-minute minors, resulting in a double minor penalty.

“Both a major and a minor penalty shall be imposed for checking from behind. When injury occurs, a major penalty must be assessed.” – NHL Rulebook


When a player intentionally impedes the progress of an opposing player who does not have the puck, it is known as interference. Interference can come in many forms, including obstructing the path of an opponent, pushing them away from the play, or physically preventing them from advancing simply because you are blocking their path.

In certain situations, interference can result in a double minor penalty. If blatant interference results in significant harm or injury to the victim, a double minor may be issued as punishment.

“A major penalty shall be assessed to any player who uses his body or stick to impede the progress of an opponent with no effort to play the puck.” – NHL Rulebook

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Unsportsmanlike conduct can occur in many forms, including taunting opponents, throwing punches, or engaging in verbal altercations. While unsportsmanlike conduct is often penalized with minor penalties, it can result in a double minor if the behavior becomes excessive and causes significant harm or injury to an opposing player.

A player’s actions also become more significant when they take place near the end of a game when there are fewer opportunities to correct their mistakes. In such cases, the referee may issue harsher penalties such as a double minor to deter future occurrences.

“The referee, at his discretion, may assess a minor penalty, based on having deemed that the act of the player was done deliberately and with intent to annoy or distract his opponent.” – NHL Rulebook

Duration of a Double Minor Penalty

A double minor penalty, also known as a four-minute penalty, is a type of penalty that occurs when a player commits a minor infraction but the referee deems it to be more severe and warrants more than two minutes in the penalty box. This penalty is served for four minutes by the offending player and his team continues to play shorthanded for that duration.

The duration of a double minor may seem excessive for some fans, but it serves its purpose in penalizing players who commit dangerous or unnecessary fouls in the game. It also aims to deter players from committing such infractions again in the future.

Length of the Penalty

The length of a double minor penalty is four minutes. This means that the offending player will sit in the penalty box for four minutes while their team plays short-handed. If the opposing team scores during this time, the first two minutes of the penalty are canceled, but the remaining two minutes are still enforced.

In other words, if a goal is scored against a team on a double-minor power-play, they will only have to serve two minutes of the penalty instead of the full four minutes. However, the offending team will still be down a player for the entire four minutes if no goals were scored.

What Happens if a Goal is Scored During the Penalty?

If the team with the double minor penalty takes a goal against them during the first two minutes of their penalty, one of the penalties will end, and the player in the penalty box can return to the ice. If the opposing team scores within the second period of the four-minute penalty, the first penalty term ceases, but the second penalty remains in place, which means there would be an additional two-minute penalty for the matched teams.

On the other hand, if no goals are scored during the full four minutes of the penalty, then the offending player will serve the entire four-minute span in the penalty box before they can return to the ice.

“The double minor is a way for referees to penalize players who have committed an infraction that may not quite warrant a major penalty but is still deemed serious enough to deserve more than two minutes in the sin bin,” – Bill Hess

The double minor penalty serves as a means of punishment when a player commits an infraction that falls between being trivial and outright violent or endangering the safety of others on the ice.

Understanding what a double minor is in hockey is important for both fans and players alike. While it might seem confusing at first glance, getting acclimated to the nuances of such penalties can make watching the games even more enjoyable.

Consequences of Receiving a Double Minor Penalty

Short-Handed Play

A double minor penalty, commonly referred to as a “four-minute” penalty in hockey, is when a player is penalized for two consecutive infractions, resulting in four minutes of playing short-handed. Short-handed play occurs when a team has fewer players on the ice due to one or more players being in the penalty box.

During short-handed play, the penalized team must work harder to defend their net while also trying to prevent the opposing team from scoring. This requires extra effort and energy, often resulting in fatigue and increased risk of injury. Additionally, short-handed play may force the coach to make strategic adjustments such as changing lines and tactics that can disrupt the flow of the game.

To make matters worse, if the penalized team gives up a goal during the four-minute penalty, they will remain shorthanded for the remainder of the powerplay. Therefore, taking a double minor penalty can have significant consequences on both short-term game outcomes and long-term season results.

Impact on Team Momentum

Hockey is a game of momentum where small moments can turn into major advantages or setbacks. A double minor penalty can swing the momentum of a game in favor of one team or another.

If a team receives a double minor penalty while already trailing by one or two goals, the added disadvantage of playing short-handed may effectively end any chance of mounting a comeback. Conversely, if a team kills off a double minor penalty without allowing a goal, the energy and confidence gained can lead to an increase in momentum and productivity.

The impact of receiving a double minor penalty is not limited to the immediate aftermath but can linger throughout the rest of the game. The time spent killing off penalties takes away from the team’s ability to attack and score, while also giving the opposing team an opportunity to rest and regroup between plays.

Furthermore, a double minor penalty can have ripple effects on future games. If a key player receives a suspension or injury from a high-sticking or roughing penalty during a game, it could impact the team roster for several games to come.

“Players know that if they get four minutes, they’ve got a long time in the box and may not see the ice again.” -Peter Forsberg

Double minor penalties are one of the most severe infractions in hockey and carry significant consequences for the offending team. The added strain of playing short-handed, along with potentially losing momentum and risking further setbacks, makes it crucial for players to stay disciplined and avoid taking unnecessary risks on the ice.

Strategies for Killing a Double Minor Penalty

Clearing the Puck

A double minor penalty in hockey, also known as a four-minute penalty, is issued to a player who commits a more severe infraction than a regular two-minute minor penalty. A team must kill off both penalties during this time to avoid giving up multiple goals. One of the strategies that teams use to kill these penalties effectively is by clearing the puck out of their zone and into the opponent’s end.

The objective of clearing the puck is to buy valuable time for players on the ice to change or to limit the number of scoring opportunities for the opponents. By clearing the puck, it becomes difficult for the other team to set up an offensive play in your zone, which reduces pressure on the defenders. It also allows the penalty-killing players to lengthen the amount of time between faceoffs, leading to fresh legs on the ice and minimizing fatigue.

“When you’re killing a four-minute penalty, if you can get some clears early, you take some time off the clock,” says Toronto Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe.

Aggressive Penalty Killing

An aggressive penalty-killing strategy involves taking the offensive game to the opposition with high-pressure defensive plays. Instead of sitting back defensively waiting for the power play to make a move, penalty killers look to create turnovers and disrupt any attempts made by the other team’s power play unit.

This type of penalty-killing approach requires speed, quick thinking, and excellent communication between all players on the ice. When done correctly, aggressive penalty killing puts tremendous pressure on the opposing players, encourages mistakes, and increases the likelihood of creating short-handed chances on goal.

“If you’re going to be successful on the PK, you have to be aggressive, you’ve got to use your speed,” says Brian Burke, former General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Communication and Positioning

An essential part of successful penalty killing is excellent communication between players on the ice. Proper positioning enables the team to stay organized and limit opportunities for the opposition. An experienced defensive pairing can recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses, providing both teammates with ample time to cover their relative positions.

It’s also critical that the defenders communicate and adjust quickly based on any changes in the power-play setup by the opposing team. Effective communication leads to better decision-making while ensuring all players are aware of who they need to cover and when they need to rotate without losing sight of individual responsibilities.

“When we’re killing a four-minute penalty, I’ll ask my D-partner where he wants me if the puck gets below the goal-line or in front of the net,” says Zach Hyman from the Toronto Maple Leafs. “We talk about it before every game.”

Limiting Shots on Goal

The objective of penalty killing is to prevent goals against the shorter-handed team. One way to achieve this is by limiting the number of shots on the goalie while keeping quality scoring chances at bay. With less pressure on the goaltender, they can concentrate better on making key saves as required.

This strategy requires attention to detail and good awareness of the offensive position of the opponents in the zone. The defenders should focus more on blocking passes and shooting lanes than attempting hits due to the risk of giving away penalties such as tripping, high sticking, or boarding. Once the puck carrier is neutralized, the priority shifts back to clearing the puck out of the defensive zone.

“It’s difficult enough playing 5-on-4; if you’re not giving up prime chances and making them work for everything, they won’t score at the rate that they can,” says Connor Carrick from the New Jersey Devils.

Managing a double minor penalty requires sophisticated strategies to ensure your team gets through without suffering any scoring mishaps. Coaches emphasize proper communication between players on ice, limiting shots on goal, aggressive plays against the opponents, and clearing the puck when possible. These individual tactics can be combined depending on the game’s situation, all aimed at defending the team’s net while ensuring a safe re-entry of full-strength players.

Double Minor Penalty vs. Major Penalty: What’s the Difference?

Hockey is a physical sport, and with that comes penalties. Knowing what each penalty means and entails can help you better understand the game. Two common types of penalties in hockey are double minor and major penalties.

Duration of the Penalty

The first difference between these two penalties lies in their duration. A double minor penalty lasts for four minutes, while a major penalty lasts for five minutes. This means that if a player receives a double minor penalty, their team must play short-handed for four minutes or until the opposing team scores. Conversely, if a player receives a major penalty, their team must play short-handed for five minutes or until the opposing team scores. In some cases, a major penalty can result in a game misconduct penalty and an ejection from the game.

The differing durations of these penalties mean that they have different impacts on the game. For example, a team playing short-handed for only four minutes has a better chance of killing off the penalty than one playing short-handed for five minutes. Additionally, a double minor penalty gives the penalized team an opportunity to score shorthanded as they will not be down a player for as long as they would be during a major penalty.

Severity of the Infraction

The second difference between these penalties lies in the severity of the infraction committed. Major penalties are given for more serious infractions such as fighting, boarding, and high-sticking, whereas double minor penalties are given for less severe infractions such as hooking, tripping, or spearing.

Majors also come with harsher punishments beyond just the time spent serving the penalty. Players who receive major penalties may face disciplinary action from the league including fines and suspensions. Meanwhile, players who receive double minor penalties will typically only face a short-term disadvantage in the game.

“In our game, we have to prove every night that you’re tough enough to keep going,” – Wayne Gretzky

It is important to note that while there are distinct differences between these two types of penalties, they can both be detrimental to a team if not handled correctly. Even a double minor penalty can result in multiple goals scored by the opposing team or momentum shifting away from the penalized team.

Understanding the difference between major and double minor penalties can help fans better appreciate the game as well as allow coaches and players to strategize. Next time you watch a hockey game, pay attention to when each type of penalty is called and make note of how it affects the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a minor and a double minor penalty in hockey?

A minor penalty is a two-minute penalty for a less severe infraction, while a double minor penalty is a four-minute penalty for a more severe infraction. A double minor penalty can be assessed for high-sticking, drawing blood, or causing injury to an opponent.

When is a player given a double minor penalty in hockey?

A player is given a double minor penalty in hockey when they commit a more severe infraction, such as high-sticking, that results in injury or blood to an opponent. The penalty is also given when a player continues to commit the same infraction, such as slashing or roughing, after already having received a minor penalty.

How long does a player have to serve a double minor penalty in hockey?

A player has to serve a double minor penalty in hockey for a total of four minutes. This means that if the opposing team scores a goal during the first two minutes of the penalty, the player will still have to serve the remaining two minutes of the penalty.

What are the consequences of receiving a double minor penalty in hockey?

The consequences of receiving a double minor penalty in hockey include having to serve a four-minute penalty, which means the team will be shorthanded for twice as long as a minor penalty, and the opposing team will have a better chance to score. The player may also face additional disciplinary action, such as a fine or suspension, depending on the severity of the infraction.

Can a team still score while they are on a penalty kill for a double minor in hockey?

Yes, a team can still score while they are on a penalty kill for a double minor in hockey. If the opposing team scores a goal during the first two minutes of the penalty, the player will still have to serve the remaining two minutes of the penalty. If the shorthanded team scores a goal during the penalty, the penalty will be over, and the player will be allowed to return to the ice.

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