What is the Trapezoid in Hockey

The Ultimate Guide to What is the Trapezoid in Hockey?

Being a person who likes ice hockey, you will know that the ice rink for hockey has many blue and red lines on it, and the lines that are drawn behind the goalie crease are called the trapezoid. These are the lines where the goalie plays the puck to make the opposing team lose the goal.

However, playing the puck in the trapezoid has some restrictions that the goalie needs to follow. If the goalie starts skating on the other side of the red line, called the goal line, he must face a penalty of two minutes for a minor aspect.

ice hockey goalie trapezoid

In the figure above, the shaded portion of the ice rick is the area where the goalie can play the puck according to the rules, but the area that is not shown to be shaded is the one that will cause the minor penalty of two minutes to the goalie if he skates out there. This unshaded area is called the trapezoid in ice hockey, a prohibited area for the goalie.

History of Trapezoid

Till 1980’s the ice hockey was all about scoring high in the matches, and the teams had many veteran players who used to score high because of their talent. But the players’ skills in the 1900s suffered a steep downfall, and they started to overcome the talented players by doing a solid defense. This was called the neutral trap zone. In this zone, the defense used to be very strict that the opposing teams could not score much in the games, and this resulted in the “Dead puck Era” era.

In that era, it was usual for the games to be low scoring, and it also suffered a lack of interest from the fans. The weak team used to take advantage of any minor weakness of the strong team and will use it for its benefit. All this misery made the scoring rate drop by thirty to forty percent, and the era lasted till the start of the 2000s.

At the beginning of the 2000s, around 2005, the National Hockey league revised its rule book for better offense in the match and to increase the scoring rate in the games. Among many rules that get manipulated, there was also the addition of trapezoid in the ice rink.

Trapezoid increase offense

We know that the goalie was allowed to play the puck so that the defense in the match increased. Thus, the freedom of playing the puck resulted in developing the habit of goalies playing mostly outside their crease. But when the goalie is prohibited in the trapezoid area of the rink, it becomes easy for the offense-man to shoot the puck from the trapezoid, and he can also get hold of the puck from the corner of the crease when needed. Thus, limiting the goalie’s action and movement in the trapezoid will surely increase the team’s offense in a match.

The Martin Brodeur Rule

The trapezoid rule is also termed The Martin Brodeur Rule. And why his name called the rule is explained as; Brodeur, M., who has been the champion twice for the Stanley Cup and is known as the Hall of Fame of hockey and the best goalie of all time. He had a match with New Jersey’s devils, again the best team of the dead puck era. During their game, Brodeur gave the devils a perfect match. If he did not catch the puck in the corners of the net, then there were chances that the Devils would take advantage of his mistakes.

Does trapezoid increase score?

It is not clear that the rule of a trapezoid has increased the overall score in the match after its implementation. But, we can say that with all the rules that were adopted in the session 2005-2006 of hockey matches, the score definitely increased to some extent. Overall, the revised regulations led the team to more exciting games with good teams onboard.

Conspiracy about Trapezoid

There was also some conspiracy about the trapezoid, and people got their disagreement about the new rule. Some of them are listed as:

  • It will create confusion for the spectaculars: more lines in the rink will confuse the fans, and they will not understand the new rules easily. It was the very first objection to a trapezoid.
  • Goalies cannot handle their sticks properly: not every goalie is a pro in handling their stick to play the puck. Thus, it will be embarrassing for the goalie to lose the puck when he is out skating to prevent a goal. His morale will damage.
  • Defensemen might get injured: if the goalie is chasing the puck outside his crease, it is more likely that he will get bumped into any defensemen chasing the puck. So, this rule will cause more chances of defensemen getting injuries more often. 
  • There will be a typical dump and chase scenario: hockey looks fantastic when the players shoot a puck, then go after it to retrieve it. But in the case of the trapezoid in the rink, the players will hit the puck and rush to the corners to retrieve it just because the goalie cannot enter that corner. Does it make any logic other than a dump and chase trick? It was another disagreement on the trapezoid in the rink.

The Bottom Line on What is the Trapezoid in Hockey?

To summarize, I will say that the trapezoid in hockey was instructed, keeping in view many critical issues and benefits. No doubt it created better offense in the game between the teams and helped increase the percentage of scores in the matches. Every good change always faces some criticism in the beginning, but at one point, people get the idea clear; the same happened with the trapezoid. This blog perfectly describes the trapezoid in hock, its history, and its different terminologies. The fun fact is that this blog also covers the controversies against the trapezoid. So, you will definitely like it!

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