Avoiding Penalties In Hockey

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Avoiding Penalties In Hockey by Jason Tarasi

Hockey is really a pretty rough sport considering the fact that there are twelve players on the ice who are seemingly fighting over a tiny little rubber puck that's only an inch thick and three inches in diameter. Add the fact that they knock the puck around the ice with big sticks while wearing skates and you've got a game that can seem somewhat brutal at times. The truth of the matter is, accidents happen in hockey and it isn't unusual for players to get roughed up a little. However, the sport is really disciplined with precise rules and penalty assessment for infractions. Penalties, depending on their nature, may result in a player being temporarily or permanently put out of a game while more severe penalties may lead to a player being suspended or fined.

Because unintentional events can happen on the rink, penalties can't be altogether avoided in hockey. However, by playing by the rules, a player can prevent unnecessary penalties from being assessed against him and his team.

Players, other than the goaltender, are not allowed to enter the crease - the blue area in front of a goal - unless they are in control of the puck shooting it or carrying it into the crease. If another team member is in the crease when a player scores a goal, the referee may assess an interference penalty for interfering with the goaltender as well as disallowing the score for the goal. Additionally, goaltenders cannot be checked even if they are outside of the crease.

Boarding is a pretty serious violation of hockey rules which occurs when an opposing team member checks a player and forces him into the boards of the rink. Boarding can result in minor, major or severe penalties depending on the circumstances and the referee's assessment of the situation. Charging is another infraction that has penalties associated with it because it is the act of charging at a player from a long distance before checking the player which can be pretty violent in practice. High-sticking, elbowing and head-butting are taken pretty serious in the game of hockey. Such actions may result in a major penalty, a game misconduct penalty, suspension or fines.

Some behaviors are allowable to some extent but may result in penalties if they get out of hand. These include cross-checking, hooking, roughing, and slashing. Cross-checking occurs when a player rams into another player while holding his stick in front of his body with both hands. With hooking, a player interferes with another player's movement using his stick. Roughing - pushing, shoving and minor wrestling - usually doesn't result in a penalty unless it gets out of hand. Slashing - hitting another player with a hockey stick - doesn't usually result in penalties unless it appears to be an intentional and malicious act or results in injury to the player being slashed. Holding or grabbing another player is not allowed and will result in a minor penalty as will tripping another player.

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