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Basic Rules of Ice Hockey

Get your skates on and learn how to play the fastest team game. These 10 basic ice hockey rules simplified for beginners is the ideal start for all newcomers.

This is only a simple snapshot of the basic fundamentals. But, it is an ideal place to start if you want to learn how to play ice hockey in 5 to 10 minutes of reading.

BASIC ICE HOCKEY RULES: We start off with the top ten professional playing regulations and match tactics.

They have been simplified from the official ice hockey rules UK version.

Ice hockey is a pacey indoor sport played on an ice rink. Understanding these 10 ice hockey rules is the essential start for all newcomers.

First-time observers and novices may find it confusing in the beginning.

But, you will soon identify and grasp the ten basic rules in ice hockey.

The guide lists 10 regulations in a simple cheat sheet format for dummies. Your game will improve and the fast-paced icy rink sport will start to make sense.

10 Basic Rules of Ice Hockey

1. Aim of the Game

The objective in a game of ice hockey is to score more goals than your opponent. That simple aim is similar to that in field hockey games.

You score goals by placing the puck in your opponents’ goal area using sticks. You cannot touch the puck with your hands in ice hockey.

2. Rink and Equipment

Ice hockey requires the wearing of protective safety equipment by the players. The ice rink divides into three zones marked off with blue lines:

  1. Defence Section: Defending zone containing half-circle crease.
  2. Neutral Zone: Middle third containing red center line.
  3. Attacking Section: Scoring zone for attackers.

3. Ice Hockey Players

Basic ice hockey rules allow six players in each team. The players, one goalie and 5 outfield players, have a specific position and role within the game.

ice hockey player positions try to score goals. The squad’s defenders protect their team’s goal area from the opponent’s attackers.

4. General Play: Ice Hockey Basics

A ‘face-off‘ starts the game as well as any following periods of play (e.g. after penalties or goals).

The referee drops the puck inside the center circle of the neutral zone. One player from each team will position themselves inside the circle.

Players tussle for control of the puck. They do this without touching each other with their sticks or any body parts.

Unlike most sports, general play often occurs behind the goal in ice hockey. That’s because the playing area extends up to the perimeter boarding.

Attacking players are not allowed to enter their opponents’ defending zone until the puck gets played past the defending line.

No player can enter the goalkeeper’s crease unless the puck has already passed the line. The standard goalie position is inside their team’s crease. Basic ice hockey rules allow them to use their hands or any other part of their body to keep the puck from entering the goal.

Substitutions take place regularly in ice hockey. The team coach rotates players often to achieve strategic objectives and rest any tired team members.

5. Shooting and Passing the Puck

You cannot win an ice hockey game unless you score goals. Accurate passing and skillful shooting is the best way to place the puck into your challenger’s goal.

As a rule, passing the puck along the ice is the best technique. But, when players elevate the puck, they try to make it land flat when it hits the ice. This tactic makes it easier to receive.

6. Fouls in Ice Hockey

Players who commit offenses are temporarily removed from play. The offending player gets placed in the penalty box. The location for the box is on the sidelines and close to the center line of the rink.

7. Penalties

Rules infringements result in a penalty. The two most common rule offences are:

  • Minor offences which include tripping, charging, elbowing, hooking, holding, boarding, checking from behind, high sticks, interference, roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Major offences result in a 5 minute removal from the ice and include inflicting serious injury, fighting, or for making repeated minor violations.
8. Basic Ice Hockey Regulations

A basic list of ice hockey regulations:

  • You cannot use physical force or body checking to win the puck off your opponent.
  • You cannot pass the puck over two lines.
  • The ice hockey offside rule states no player can have both skates in the attacking zone when the puck crosses over that blue line.
  • Players can stop the puck with a hand, body part, or skate at any time.
  • You can only push the puck forwards using a skate or the stick.

9. Ice Hockey Officials

One referee and two linesmen officiate the codified ice hockey rules and regulations. This is a general rule in ice hockey and depends on the league you are playing.

10. Winning the Match

Each goal scored earns one point for your team. The team with the most goals at the end of the game are the winners of the match. The first team to score in overtime, if there is a tie, gets crowned the match winners.

10 Basic Rules of Ice Hockey Played in the United Kingdom