Slashing in Hockey: A Guide to the NHL’s Slashing Penalty!

Slashing is a term that resonates within hockey, often accompanied by a flurry of penalties and heated on-ice confrontations.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the world of slashing in hockey, exploring its definition, rules, penalties, and video example of slashing to understand better.

What is Slashing in Hockey?

Slashing is a penalty in hockey when a player deliberately strikes an opponent with their stick. The primary intent behind slashing is to interfere with an opponent’s movements, impair their control over the puck, or retaliate against a perceived offense. However, it is essential to note that slashing is strictly prohibited and carries consequences.

The Official NHL Slashing Rule Text (Rule 61)

Slashing is when a player swings their stick at an opponent, regardless of whether they make contact or not. It’s important to note that minor stick contact with the pants or front of the shin pads should not be considered slashing and penalized. However, any strong or forceful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, their stick, or near their hands that the Referee deems not an attempt to play the puck, will be penalized as slashing.

The Rules and Penalties

Hockey leagues have established strict rules regarding slashing to maintain fairness and ensure player safety. These rules vary depending on the league, so you must familiarize yourself with your game’s specific regulations. Common penalties for slashing include:

  1. Minor Penalty: A minor slashing penalty results in the offending player serving two minutes in the penalty box. During this time, their team must play with a player short.
  2. Major Penalty: A major slashing penalty carries a more severe punishment, resulting in the offender serving five minutes in the penalty box. Additionally, if the officials deem the slash excessively violent, the player may receive game misconduct or a match penalty.
  3. Misconduct Penalty: In some instances, officials may assess a misconduct penalty for slashing. This penalty results in the offending player being temporarily removed from the game, serving a 10-minute penalty in the penalty box.
  4. Match Penalty: The most severe penalty for slashing, a match penalty, is assessed for intentionally injuring an opponent. This penalty results in the offending player being ejected from the game and potentially facing further disciplinary action.

Video Example of Slashing

In the video, you can see Gudas, who plays for the Flyers and is wearing a white jersey, getting tangled up with Perrault, who plays for the Jets and is wearing a blue jersey. Perrault falls to the ice during the incident. While Perrault is on the ice, Gudas forcefully brings his stick down with both hands and hits Perrault’s neck.

This strong chopping action against a player who couldn’t defend himself led to Gudas receiving a five-minute Major Penalty.

NHL Slashing Rule History

The NHL slashing rule has been changed several times to protect players and keep the game safe. The original rule, adopted in 1917, stated that players could be penalized for slashing if they “struck an opponent with his stick.” This rule was very vague and left a lot of room for interpretation by the referees.

The NHL has continued to tweak the slashing rule in recent years to find the right balance between protecting players and allowing for physical play. As a result, the slashing rule is one of the most controversial rules in the NHL.

Here are some of the most common criticisms of the NHL slashing rule:

  • The rule is too vague and leaves too much room for referee interpretation.
  • The rule is inconsistently enforced, leading to frustration for players and fans.
  • The rule can be used to target star players, who are often more likely to be called for slashing penalties.


In conclusion, slashing is a penalty in hockey that carries serious consequences. Understanding the rules, penalties, and effective defensive strategies is essential for players at all levels. Players can enhance their game by focusing on legal techniques, developing offensive skills, and promoting fair play while avoiding unnecessary penalties.

Austin Taylor

Who is Austin Taylor?

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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