What is Icing In Hockey

The Ultimate Guide on What is Icing In Hockey?

“Ice” what comes to your mind on hearing the word? A different feeling in winter and another in summers? And what if you hear “icing”? Did you have that mouth-watering reminder of cake icing?

If not, then you must be a knowledgeable person about sports. And if yes, then let me tell you; icing has other meanings, too, and hockey has its terms. So, icing is an important concept you must know in hockey, whether you are a spectator or a player.

Together in this article, we will learn more about this essential rule in hockey.

Gaining the Red Line

On the hockey field, there is a centerline marked in red. It divides the rink into two halves for the two teams playing the game. If a player from any team goes to shoot the puck from his own team’s side of the central red line where the team’s goalie is, down past the other opposite team’s goal line, this will result in icing being called. The puck needs to gain the red line.

What is the Icing Rule in Hockey?

Shooting before the center red line – no matter where it was done, is considered icing. But if a player shoots the puck before this center red line and fails to make it to the center red line, this will not be considered icing.

Icing In Hockey

As a result of this icing, the gameplay is automatically stopped, and a faceoff is called on the team’s side that iced the puck. It is a little difficult to understand, but it is a necessary rule in hockey for a fair faster game. Even in the recreational leagues, icing is called if the puck crosses the red line.

Why was the Icing Rule Introduced?

It happened when the players in the NHL teams started using delaying tactics in the game to prolong it by shooting the puck down the ice near the end of the game, especially when they were leading.

At that time, the clock would continue to go on with a team merely shooting the puck down the other side. This became annoying for the audience who would come to watch the game since it was a time waste.

Therefore, to cope with this issue, the icing rule was introduced in which if you puck the ice down this way, it will result in a faceoff in your own team’s zone, which may pave the way for the other team to score. Hence, this rule was an effective way to stop icing and ultimately fulfil the goal of keeping hockey a thrilling and attention-grabbing game.

When Did Icing Become an Official NHL Rule?

Icing became an official NHL rule in 1937.

And to further ensure that the game stays this way, in 2004 – 2005, the NHL made further amendments to the icing rule and made it stricter with more significant repercussions for the teams who ice the puck.

No Line Changes After Icing

According to the new revision of the rule, it was decided that any team which would be involved in icing the puck would not be allowed to make any change in the line on the whistling down of the play.

Now, this was a severe consequence because the other side would be able to change with fresh players while the team who iced would have to stay on the field with tired players. Hence, the advantage goes to the other side. Therefore, players became more conscious of icing the puck to avoid the consequences.

What is Hybrid or No Touch Icing?

No-touch icing occurs when icing occurs automatically when the puck has crossed the line. This results in stopping the play. While in the case of hybrid icing, a player races toward the defensive faceoff circle to trigger the icing. These means are adopted to make hockey a safer game and prevent injuries.

How is Icing Different from Offsides?

Icing is explained in detail above. Icing occurs when a player shoots the puck from one red line to the other one without touching it, due to which the other opponent side cannot play the puck out of their side without any direction.

Hence, this results in a penalty to the team that iced the puck and the NHL has serious regulations for this.

On the other hand, offside is called when the player crosses the blue line when he is attacking before the puck does. It usually happens when the player has passed the puck from behind the blue line to a player from his team behind the red line.

This gives the attacking side an unfair advantage and stops the players from picking the ice.

Who Calls Offsides on Icing?

The offside rule was introduced so that players from the attacking team do not stay in the defending side’s zone for much time. Because if a player stays in the defending zone for a longer time, this will affect the neutrality of the game and affect the game’s quality.

Therefore, offside is called by the officials in such a situation. The referee will make the offside decision and blow his whistle, upon which the game will stop. Faceoff is held at the same place where the infraction has taken place.

When can Hockey Teams Ice the Puck?

We learned that icing the puck is a severe offence and has dire consequences for the team that iced the puck. But there are some exceptions too. In some situations, a team is allowed to ice the puck. If the puck enters the goal, then icing is not considered, and the goal is allowed.

Mentioned below are the reasons.

If the referee feels that any player from the other team except the goalie was able to play the shot but has not, then icing is not called, and the game is continued as before.

Also, when the faceoff is being called, then if the puck is iced, it will not be considered icing.

Moreover, this is not icing when shooting the puck results in rebounding from an opponent in their zone and crossing the goal line. Face off also does not result in icing being called.

A crucial instant when icing is not called is when the puck touches either an opposing player or the goalie before crossing the goal line.

Icing While killing the Penalty

Another instance when the players can ice the puck without any resulting infractions is during a penalty. Icing is not called when the other team has lesser players than the opposing side at the time while shooting the puck during a penalty. This is done to stop the other team’s powerplay.

What Happens After an Icing or Offsides in NHL?

In the case of icing, the referee whistles, and the game is stopped. A faceoff is then held for the defensive team responsible for this icing infraction.

In the case of offsides, when the blue line is crossed by the player who has the puck and has entered the offensive zone, the referee whistles and stops the game. An offside is then called. After which, the puck is carried to the neutral zone, and a faceoff occurs. This is how icing and offsides are dealt with in hockey.

In theory, the rules might look complicated and challenging to comprehend. Still, things become more straightforward and understandable once you start playing under an experienced coach and experience the actual game. Because it is the practice and the face-to-face exposure to the real world that makes a man perfect.

So, go out there and watch the beautiful game unfold itself and reveal its secrets to you!

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