What Is Preseason Hockey? [Updated!]

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Hockey is back! And we’re talking pre-season hockey, which means you’ll be seeing lots of action before the puck even drops on the regular season. Let’s break down what you need to know about this exhilarating time in hockey.

When Does Preseason Start?

The preseason normally starts in mid-August and ends in mid-September, though some leagues and teams start their preseason a bit later than that. Teams that play in the NHL and AHL usually begin their preseason a few days after the conclusion of the NHL and AHL seasons, while the WHL starts its preseason around mid-September. The OHL and KHL start their preseason in early September and end it in October. Finally, the CHL season typically ends in mid-September, and some teams play as early as mid-August and as late as mid-October.

Hockey is back! And we’re talking pre-season hockey, which means you’ll be seeing lots of action before the puck even drops on the regular season. Let’s break down what you need to know about this exhilarating time in hockey.

What Is The Preseason?

The preseason is a time when the NHL, AHL, and some CHL teams play a series of exhibition games, which are generally against other professional teams. The preseason allows players to work on their skating and puck-handling skills in practice, as well as allows teams to scout each other and decide who to play against in the regular season.

The preseason does not count towards your team’s overall regular season standings. However, the standings do count exhibition games, which are typically won by the team that scores the most goals in the match. This exhibition game format is how the NHL, AHL, and some CHL teams will determine their playoff seeding and overall fate.

Why Play Preseason Hockey?

There are actually quite a few reasons why teams play preseason hockey. To name a few:

  • Encourages players to get some physical activity
  • Gives coaches a chance to see their players in game situations
  • Allows fans to see some of their favorite players in action before the start of the regular season
  • Brings back hockey‘s Spring Sale
  • Teams can begin preparing for the regular season
  • Allows players to get some seasoning before being thrown into the regular season
  • Helps teams gauge the strength of their roster for the regular season
  • Teams can work on their chemistry and communication before the start of the season

There are actually quite a few reasons why teams play preseason hockey. To name a few:

  • Encourages players to get some physical activity
  • Gives coaches a chance to see their players in game situations
  • Allows fans to see some of their favorite players in action before the start of the regular season
  • Brings back hockey‘s Spring Sale
  • Teams can begin preparing for the regular season
  • Allows players to get some seasoning before being thrown into the regular season
  • Helps teams gauge the strength of their roster for the regular season
  • Teams can work on their chemistry and communication before the start of the season
  • Helps players get accustomed to the speed of the NHL
  • Allows teams to find the right balance of veterans and youth
  • Allows coaches to work with their players one-on-one after games
  • Games are generally less expensive than regular season games

That’s a mouthful. But you’re going to be seeing a lot of action before the start of the regular season. So it might as well be beneficial to learn the rules and lingo of the NHL.

What Is The Roster?

The roster is the collection of players that a team will enter the season with. To make sure their roster is balanced, organizations usually have a limited number of spots available for each position. The spots are then filled by players either directly from the pro hockey leagues or from lower professional leagues.

Teams will sometimes carry some extra players on their roster to ensure they have enough bodies to field a full team. The rest will be filled in by players from the lower professional leagues once the season begins.

What Is The Puck And Penalty System?

Hockey is a fast-paced game, which means that it involves a lot of action around the puck. While there are rules for how teams should conduct themselves in situations where they don’t have the puck, the vast majority of the action revolves around who has the puck and who is able to put it in the net. This is made easier by using a puck and penalty system.

When a player is assessed a penalty, the referee will signal to the senior ref to throw a puck at the opposing team’s goal pylon. If the opposing team scores a short-handed goal while the puck is in the air, the goal will not be counted, but the player that threw the puck will be assessed a minor penalty. If the puck is shot into the net from beside the goal line, the opposing team will receive a power play, and the play will continue with the teams remaining at even strength.

What Is Scoring?

Scoring in hockey is determined by the faceoff : when the puck crosses the net into the opponent’s zone, the attacking team will try to score on the opportunity. However, unlike other sports, hockey scoring is not just about putting the puck in the net. There are several methods of scoring in hockey, which can be used to create variations of scoring charts.

Some hockey scoring charts only count goals, while other charts include assists, power play goals, and shorthanded goals. Different sports medals (such as the Bowl Championship Series medal) are sometimes given out for hockey scores, which adds an extra level of entertainment to the game.

Playoff Streaks And Ties

One of the most exciting parts of preseason hockey is figuring out which teams are going to be playing in the playoffs. The postseason is decided by regular season records, with the highest seed playing the lowest seed in a playoff round. The winner of the best-of-seven series will then face off against the league champion for the right to claim the Stanley Cup. While it’s great to win playoffs seasons and face off against the best teams in the league, the pain of loss is just as powerful.

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