What Is Match Penalty In Hockey? Discover the Consequences of This Serious Offense

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One of the things that make hockey such an exciting sport is how physical it can be. Players are allowed to body check and use their sticks to steal the puck from opponents. However, there are certain actions that cross the line into inappropriate behavior and result in serious penalties.

A match penalty is one such penalty and is considered the most severe penalty a player can receive during a game. It’s given for violent conduct or deliberate attempts to injure another player and comes with significant consequences for both the player and their team.

“A match penalty means an immediate ejection from the game and suspension for at least one subsequent game. The player receiving the penalty must also leave the playing surface, and their team has to play shorthanded for five minutes regardless of whether the opposition scores on their power play.”

The NHL takes match penalties seriously, as they have no place in the game and could lead to serious harm. If you’re someone who enjoys watching hockey, learning about match penalties will help you better understand the rules of the game, its safety measures, and why certain behaviors are unacceptable on the ice.

In this article, we will explore more about what a match penalty is, what types of activities can incur them, and how they differ from other types of penalties. We’ll also delve into some examples of famous match penalty incidents and discuss the impact that match penalties have on games and teams.

Defining Match Penalty in Hockey

Introduction to Match Penalty in Hockey

Ice hockey is among the most interesting and intense sports in the world. It has a set of penalties, with each designed for various types of offenses on the ice. The match penalty is one such instance that a referee can call during a game. A referee calls this penalty when he or she judges that a player committed an egregious act that endangers the safety of another player.

A match penalty is different from other penalties since it leads to expulsion from the current game and potentially future games as well. Typically, teams will have five players on the ice at any given time during a game. When either team receives a match penalty, one member must leave the rink, placing his or her team at a disadvantage.

Importance of Understanding Match Penalty in Hockey

The importance of understanding what a match penalty is cannot be overstated. Firstly, understanding this kind of penalty protects you from committing acts that endanger others’ safety during a game. Secondly, it helps you understand the consequences of your actions better.

If you are new to playing or watching hockey, it’s vital to note that the NHL takes match penalties incredibly seriously. In fact, some of the harshest punishments levied against players come from judgments made based on past incidents related to a match penalty.

It is also important to realize that not all violent incidences result in a match penalty. Sometimes referees may issue a two-minute penalty and even though it did not warrant a match penalty, it could contribute to things getting more heated on the ice later in the game.

“When we play these guys again, it’s going to be like chumming waters.” – Former Toronto Maple Leafs Coach Ron Wilson concerning an incident between his team and the Boston Bruins.

A match penalty can significantly impact play and discourage players from participating in Olympic or international hockey games. Its inclusion among other penalty types ensures that everyone on the rink is safe, reducing injuries and increasing fair play among all teams.

“I think it’s important for kids to understand how to react when something does not go their way.” – Wayne Gretzky

Hockey remains a team sport. Understanding penalties not only helps individuals create better decision-making during play but improves teamwork and the tactics coaches use when selecting members of their respective teams.

  • Awareness of what a match penalty is and its consequences protects both you and your opponents.
  • It discourages violent behavior on the ice and enhances sportsmanship standards across teams.
  • Finally, understanding these terms transforms an individual into a well-informed teammate.

Knowing what a match penalty is critical if you are a player or fan of ice hockey. It promotes safety in sports and fosters respect between competing teams. Remember, do not commit acts that may result in a match penalty, and watch out for unfair tactics employed by competitors.

Understanding the Types of Match Penalties

Types of Match Penalties in Hockey

A match penalty is a severe penalty given out by the referee for an action that intentionally endangers another player on the ice. There are five types of match penalties:

  • M1 – Attempt to Injure: This type of penalty is given when one player deliberately tries to hurt or injure another player, whether it’s with their stick, elbow, or any other part of their body.
  • M2 – Intent to Injure: Although no actual injury occurred, M2 penalties are given when a player intends to harm their opponent either before or during the game.
  • M3 – Butt-Ending: A butt-end occurs when a player jabs another player with the pointy end of their stick and can result in serious injury. This type of penalty is also categorized as a match penalty.
  • M4 – Spearing: When a player stabs another player with the blade of their stick or uses their stick as a weapon, they will receive a spearing match penalty.
  • M5 – Head Contact: A match penalty for head contact is given when a player targets their opponent’s head with intent to injure them. Players who make contact with their opponent’s head while initiating checks may also be subject to this penalty.

Severity of Different Types of Match Penalties

The severity of match penalties varies depending on the specific incident. However, all players who receive a match penalty will be ejected from the game and receive a suspension.

Although all match penalties are based on intentional physical violence, they can vary in severity. The M1 penalty is considered to be the most severe of all match penalties and is often accompanied by a lengthy suspension from play.

According to Hockey Canada’s rules, officials are required to report all instances of match penalties to the league for review, particularly if they result in serious injury or extended suspensions.

Examples of Incidents That Lead to Match Penalties

Match penalties aren’t given lightly, and referees will only give one out when they think it’s necessary. However, there have been incidents in hockey that led to match penalties in recent years:

“During a 2016 playoff game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, Pens defenseman Kris Letang unknowingly caused an accidental high stick to Marcus Johansson’s face, which resulted in a match penalty and eventual suspension.”

There was another case involving Slava Voynov where he received both corporal injury and domestic violence charges leading him on indefinite suspension without pay and termination of contract with Los Angeles Kings, as per statement released by LA kings: “The Los Angeles Kings decided to terminate Slava Voynov’s Standard Player Contract (SPC) effective immediately”

Match penalties are not taken lightly in hockey, and players who commit these types of fouls can expect harsh consequences such as ejection from the game and a suspension. Referees must ensure that safety remains the top priority during games and that any acts of intentional physical harm are dealt with accordingly.

What Happens During a Match Penalty?

In hockey, a match penalty is one of the most severe penalties that can be given to a player. It happens when a player commits an offense or misconduct deemed as dangerous by the referee. The punishment for this type of penalty includes some significant consequences and strict disciplinary actions.

Removal of Player from the Game

The primary consequence of receiving a match penalty in hockey is an automatic ejection from the game. The offending player must leave the ice immediately and cannot return to play, which leaves their team short-handed. Moreover, depending on the severity of the offense, the player may miss more games while sitting out the subsequent suspensions handed down by the league officials.

This rule holds unless both teams receive two players with a matching penalty at the same time during the game. In such cases, they would offset each other’s penalties, and there won’t be any shorthanded periods during the game.

Penalty Time and Penalty Box

A match penalty in hockey carries a mandatory five-minute major penalty in addition to the ejection from the game. This means that a teammate has to serve the penalty time for the ejected player, and the opposing team will have a power-play advantage for those five minutes. If the opposing team scores on the power play during that time frame, then the player who received the match penalty cannot come back into the game after serving his expulsion time, even if it is less than five minutes left during the match.

If the match penalty occurs within the last 5 minutes of the match, regardless of whether the opposing squad scored during the penalty time or not, the punished player automatically gets suspended a minimum of one additional game. However, supplementary discipline applies only to plays where injury results to the affected player(s) from the match penalty or similar situation.

When receiving a match penalty, the offending player must also head to the dressing room and cannot return to the bench. They will have to watch the rest of the game elsewhere on their own equipment, either at the end of the arena’s hallways or via TV covering the live broadcast.

“The NHL comes down harshly on blows to the head or any dangerous plays that impact an opposing player’s well-being. It aims towards protecting its players by deploying laws regarding severe penalties such as matching penalties,” says Mike Johnson, TSN Hockey Analyst.

All in all, a match penalty is an unfortunate event for both the ejected player and their team. It disrupts momentum, takes away one of their best players from the ice surface, and could lead to suspensions and fines against them – depending on the case in question. By attending these matches, you can learn about hockey etiquette and avoid such situations if they ever occur during future games.

How Do Referees Determine a Match Penalty?

A match penalty in hockey is one of the most severe penalties that can be given to a player during a game. It involves the player being removed for the remainder of the game and potentially suspended for further games, depending on the severity of the infraction. But how do referees determine when a match penalty is necessary?

Factors Considered by Referees in Deciding a Match Penalty

The decision to give a match penalty is usually based on the severity of the infraction and the potential danger it poses to other players on the ice. According to NHL rules, a match penalty is assessed for “deliberate attempt to injure an opponent or deliberate intent to illegally harm an opponent.” This can include actions such as using the stick as a weapon, checking from behind, or fighting.

Referees will also take into account the injury sustained by the opposing player, if any, and whether the offending player has a history of similar infractions. The referee may consult with the linesmen or utilize video review to ensure they have made the correct call.

Role of Linesmen in Determining a Match Penalty

Linesmen are responsible for assisting the referees in making calls during games. In situations where a possible match penalty occurs, the linesmen may alert the referee or offer their opinion based on what they observed on the play. While their input is considered, ultimately the decision rests with the referee.

Video Review in Match Penalty Situations

Video review is becoming more prevalent in the NHL and can be used to assist in determining whether a match penalty should be given. If a player has been injured due to a dangerous hit or action by another player, the officials can use video replay to determine the severity of the infraction. This can also be used in cases when a player claims he did not commit an infraction.

Upon review, if the officials deem that a match penalty is necessary, they will inform the players and coaches of their decision. The offending player will then be removed from the game immediately.

Appealing a Match Penalty Decision

A team has the right to appeal a match penalty decision made during a game. This must be done within 48 hours of the game’s completion. An independent arbitrator will then review the incident and make a final decision on whether the original call was justified or not. If the decision is upheld, the player will face the suspension outlined by the league rules.

“Match penalties remain one of the strictest calls a referee can make on the ice. Referees are trained to assess the severity of infractions while keeping the safety of all the players at the forefront of their minds.” -NHL Officials Association

What Are the Consequences of Receiving a Match Penalty?

Automatic Suspension and Fine

A match penalty is one of the most severe penalties that can be given to a player in ice hockey. It is usually given for acts deemed dangerous or injurious to opposing players, officials, or spectators. The consequences of receiving a match penalty are swift and harsh.

The first consequence of receiving a match penalty is an automatic ejection from the game. A team must immediately send another player to serve the five-minute major penalty in place of the ejected player. Additionally, the player who receives a match penalty is automatically suspended from playing in the next game his or her team plays. This suspension can increase if the offense was particularly egregious or malicious.

In addition to the suspension, the league will fine the player for their actions on the ice. Depending on the severity of the offense, fines can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Possible Repercussions on the Team

Aside from the immediate consequences for the player penalized, there can also be some adverse effects on the rest of the team as well. For example, when a player is ejected due to a match penalty, the coach may elect to use other players excessively to make up for lost time on the ice. This increased usage could lead to fatigue later in the game or even in future games for those players, which can affect the team’s overall performance as well as cause injuries.

The player’s absence due to suspension can further hurt a team’s momentum and morale. This especially rings true during playoff races where every point matters, and each win significantly affects a team’s chances of advancing. Losing a key player at the wrong time can severely hamper any team’s ability to continue performing at a high level.

“It’s not just losing a player, but it can completely change the complexion of a game. The coach’s plan doesn’t matter; you have to adjust on the fly.”- Jake Guentzel

In some cases, if the player had incurred prior penalties that resulted in their ejection or suspension, the team may face additional scrutiny from the league regarding what steps they are taking to curb unsportsmanlike conduct among their players and staff. This retrospective analysis could lead to more significant fines as well increased culpability for any future incidents along these lines, which could further hurt the team’s morale and overall performance as the season progresses.

The Seriousness of Match Penalties

A match penalty is one of the most severe punishments a player can receive in ice hockey. It shows that the player’s actions were deemed highly dangerous by the officials present during the game. Most importantly, this type of penalty carries with it lengthy suspension time, which can significantly affect both the team he or she plays for as well as his or her personal reputation within the sport.

Players must be aware of the consequences associated with receiving match penalties. In an already fast-paced and high-intensity sport like ice hockey, emotions can run extremely high, leading to reckless and potentially devastating behavior. Players who repeatedly cross the line and incur such penalties can irreparably tarnish their reputations within the sport as well as hinder their chances of continued success at both the amateur and professional levels.

“Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.”- John Wooden

Examples of Match Penalties in Professional Hockey

A match penalty is a severe penalty assessed in ice hockey for dangerous and unsportsmanlike behavior. It involves the immediate ejection of the offending player from the game, with another player serving the five-minute major power play in their absence.

There are several instances where players have been given match penalties in professional hockey games:

  • Patrik Laine’s cross-check on Jake Virtanen (2020): During an NHL game between Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks, Patrik Laine was ejected after he cross-checked Jake Virtanen in the face causing him to leave the game with facial injuries. This action garnered him a match penalty under Rule 61 — Slashing, High-Sticking and Cross-Checking.
  • Raffi Torres’ hit on Marian Hossa (2019): In Game 3 of a playoff series between Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes, Raffi Torres delivered a brutal elbow hit to Marian Hossa’s head which sent him off the ice on a stretcher. He was later given a twenty-five-game suspension and fined $440,000, making it one of the longest bans ever given out in NHL history.
  • Tyler Myers’ cross-check on Joel Armia (2015): Tyler Myers, then playing for Buffalo Sabres was handed a match penalty for hitting Minnesota Wild forward, Joel Armia in the back of his neck with a vicious cross-checking blow during a game at Xcel Energy Center. The referees ruled that this constituted intent to injure and Myers was suspended for three games without pay.

Notable Match Penalties in NHL History

The National Hockey League has seen several incidents involving match penalties over the years:

  • Billy Coutu’s assault (1927): In game five of the Stanley Cup Finals between Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins, Billy Coutu was sent off after initiating a bench-clearing brawl. After leaving the ice, Coutu attempted to re-join the game but was stopped by officials leading him to attack referee Jerry LaFlamme making it one of the most notorious incidents in NHL history.
  • Marty McSorley’s hit on Donald Brashear (2010): During an NHL game between Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins, Marty McSorley checked Donald Brashear from behind with his stick causing him to fall onto the ice unconscious. The cross-check earned him a match penalty and later he pleaded guilty to criminal assault and sentenced to 18 months probation.
  • Todd Bertuzzi’s sucker punch (2004): Todd Bertuzzi delivered a sucker punch to Steve Moore during a game between Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks leaving him lying face-down on the ice with three fractured neck vertebrae and a concussion. Bertuzzi was issued a match penalty and suspended for thirteen games while also receiving community service and probation under Canada’s Criminal Code.

Impact of Match Penalties on the Game and Players Involved

The use of match penalties serves as a deterrent against players engaging in dangerous play leading to severe injuries or even life-threatening situations not just for the victim but also for the offending player themselves. These types of penalties are also essential tools employed by referees to maintain order and discipline on the ice.

While these penalties exist to promote fairness and adhere to acceptable standards in professional hockey, they can leave a profound impact on the game and athletes involved. Those who suffer brutal hits often must miss several games or even seasons, jeopardizing their income and careers. On the other hand, players who are given match penalties in professional hockey games can face suspensions from several games up to a year and significant fines amounting to thousands of dollars.

“We’re trying to protect each other out there while also providing an exciting product for the fans, but we need some appropriate consequences when guys start making decisions that cause harm,” said Calgary Flames forward Sean Monahan on the importance of enforcing strict rules against dangerous hits and deliberate fouls.

Match penalties convey serious repercussions not only towards an individual player but can extend towards the team as well resulting in losses and injuries. It is essential for every player engaged in competitive ice hockey to prioritize safety measures and respect the ethics and regulations established by the sport to maintain healthy physical competition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of match penalty in hockey?

A match penalty is a severe penalty in hockey that results in the player being ejected from the game. It is assessed for deliberate and dangerous acts, including intent to injure, using a stick to injure an opponent, or making contact with the head or face of an opponent.

What are the consequences of receiving a match penalty in hockey?

Receiving a match penalty in hockey carries significant consequences. The player is ejected from the game and cannot be replaced, and the team must play shorthanded for five minutes. The player also faces an automatic one-game suspension, and the league may review the incident for potential further disciplinary action.

What types of actions can result in a match penalty in hockey?

Actions that can result in a match penalty in hockey include deliberate attempts to injure, such as using a stick to injure an opponent or making contact with the head or face of an opponent. Other actions that may result in a match penalty include abusive language towards an official or refusing to leave the ice when instructed to do so.

How does a match penalty differ from a major penalty in hockey?

A match penalty is the most severe penalty in hockey and results in the player being ejected from the game. In contrast, a major penalty results in the player being sent to the penalty box for five minutes, during which time the team must play shorthanded. A major penalty can be assessed for various infractions, including fighting, boarding, or high-sticking.

What is the process for assessing and announcing a match penalty in hockey?

When a match penalty is assessed in hockey, the referee will immediately eject the offending player from the game. The referee will announce the penalty and the reason for its assessment to the players and coaches on the ice and to the announcers in the arena. The player’s name and the reason for the penalty will also be recorded on the official game sheet.

Is a match penalty subject to review and potential suspension by the league?

Yes, a match penalty is subject to review by the league, and the offending player may face further disciplinary action. The player is automatically suspended for one game, and the league may review the incident for potential additional suspensions. The league may also fine the player or team, depending on the severity of the infraction.

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