Can you Hit the Goalie in Hockey?

Can you Hit the Goalie in Hockey

We discussed in our previous article that the goalie could play the puck outside his crease. He can skate out of the net and play the puck to avoid the opposing team’s goals. But he still holds his superior status outside the crease also. Whether he is out skating, he cannot be considered a regular team member. Many limited actions can are allowed between the goalies and regular players. For instance, the players cannot check the goalie. They cannot hit him; they cannot consider the goalie as ‘fair game. Thus, hitting and checking the goalie on the ice is prohibited.

In ice hockey, players are prohibited from hitting a goalie. Whether a goalie is inside or outside the crease, a goaltender cannot be taken as a ‘fair game’ and treated like other skaters and hit him. It is always against the NHL rule to create physical contact with the goalie. Although there is sometimes accidental contact between the goalie and players, it is up to the referee to decide whether to give a penalty based on the physical connection. But body-checking a goalie always warrants a penalty.   

This blog will focus on those situations when the players contact their goalie inside and outside the crease and the reason for the urge to hit the goalie. So, read till the end to clear all your misunderstandings. We have another blog on the topic of penalties where we addressed the Match penalty, which is given to every player who intentionally hits another player, do check it out!

Contacting the Goalie! Let’s talk about different situations when contact with the goalie is possible and what happens next to the touch.

Contact With a Goalie Outside of the Crease

We know that the goalie is allowed to play the puck outside his crease, but he will not be considered a regular player. And have the privilege to exempt the rules made for another team member of body checking. Players who try to check the goalie outside the crease will be penalized. The players in the rink can take control of the hockey from the goalie when he has it. This is possible that the players will use their sticks to snatch the puck from the goalie without touching the goalie.

Contact With a Goalie Inside the Crease

The goalie can get hit inside his crease both intentionally and accidentally. If the couch is recognized as intentional, the referee will give the player the penalty of goalie interference. The referee will allow the game to continue as expected if the verdict is as if the incidentally touched the goalie.

Usually, the players station themselves close to the crease, and when the goalie tries to reach out of the crease, there are chances of contact between them. Also, the players remain very cautious about the slight touch as it may cause a penalty. However, if the subtle touch results in the goal by revoking the goalie’s action of stopping the goal, then the goal will be dismissed.

Moreover, players can touch the goalie when they try to skate into the crease while chasing the puck. If the player is after the puck and not the goalie, then the penalty will not apply. Finally, it also happens when two players try to push one another, and accidentally the goalie gets hit. In this case, the penalty is not called. But some players play tricks and manipulate the referee with accidental pushes and try to reach a goal while getting pushed.

Players Want to Hit the Goalie, but Why?

The goalie is the most valued position in the National Hockey League. It would not be wrong to say that the NHL might change the league’s name to goalie’s league! While the players are in a rush to score more goals for their team, they try all kinds of tactics.

Firstly, the players cut off the goalie’s front view so their team members could score the goal. When blocking the view, they may bump into the goalie. They have the risk of getting a penalty, but sometimes the way they referee, nothing happens. Secondly, the goalies get stuck into any player by themselves as he has the tough job of handling the puck while skating in and out of the crease with breakneck speed. So the unintentional touch lies in the category. Lastly, the rule favours the goalie when he is outside the crease. He is with much heavy gear that hinders his actions, so the body checking of the goalie is not allowed.

Are Goalies Allowed To Hit A Player In A Hockey Game?

We have discussed that players cannot hit a goalie in any case, but what is in the case of a goalie? Can a goaltender hit a player?

In ice hockey, goalkeepers can hit a player as long as it is under the NHL rules of hitting, implying no interference and no charging. Hence, if a player has the puck, he can get hit by any player, including a goalie.

Why Does Goalie’s Protection Matter To The Players?

Hockey players are so protective of their goalkeeper. This concerns many reasons explained below.

  • The goalies’ gear can break while playing with a puck against the opponents.
  • A goalie can get hit by a player on shooting time.
  • When a goaltender runs or gets screwed by players, there is a chance of him getting injured. So, to protect him, a goalie needs protective materials and players.
  • Also, a goalie is like a game-changer. He can reverse the game at any time. So, opponents’ anger and luring target is mostly a goalie. Thus, to defend points and goals, the team players protect their goalie from any tough situation and save him from getting injured.

Frequently Asked Question

Is a player allowed to screen a goaltender?

Yes, players are allowed to block a goaltender’s view making it difficult for him to stop and save the puck. So, a player from the team screens the goaltender enabling his team to shoot a puck onto the net.

Can a player hit a goaltender in the trapezoid?

The trapezoid is behind the net area, and a goaltender can play and handle the puck here. Even outside the goalie’s crease, no one is allowed to hit him, but opposing players can attack him in the trapezoid area.


This blog declares that the goalies are not fair plays and can never be body checked. So, if you misunderstood that players can hit the goalie, you were wrong. The goalies have the level of privilege that the NHL can be renamed ‘Goalies’ league,’ and you think of hitting the goalie. The goalie maintains his royal status inside and outside his net. Thus, the players in the rink should not challenge the royal highness of ice hockey.

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Meet Austin Taylor, your go-to source for everything ice hockey! With a passion for the sport that’s as deep as the ice itself, Austin Taylor brings you concise, expert insights and nitty-gritty details on all things hockey. From gear reviews to strategy breakdowns, Austin Taylor is your trusted guide to navigating the exhilarating world of ice hockey. Get ready to lace up your skates and dive into the game with Austin Taylor as your ultimate companion.

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