There are several reasons why play could be stopped in a hockey game and then restarted. These stoppages are not always obvious to the new or casual hockey fan. Sometimes, they aren’t even obvious to the players on the ice. Sometimes, players will question the officials about the reason of a stoppage as is occurring in this photo.


It should be noted that even in top level hockey in Australia, the use of video replays at the arena is extremely limited and that there is no review process from off the ice unlike other competitions overseas. The only review on the ice may be if the referee (orange armbands) asks the linesmen for their opinion of an incident.












Common stoppages include:


  • Goal tender stops the puck – Goal tender catches the puck in their glove or covers the puck if it is on the ice. Game restarts with a face-off at the face-off circle closest to the goal tender, usually on the side that the shot came from.


  • Puck leaves the playing area – Sometimes the puck escapes from the playing area. After obtaining a new puck, the game restarts with a face-off close to where the puck left the playing area. This depends on how/why the puck left the playing area. In venues that have glass protective panels, hitting the puck into the glass is OK and play will continue. However, play stops when it hits netting above the glass. All Sydney venues do not have glass but have protective nets around the rink. At these venues, hitting the puck into any netting is OK and play will continue. 


  • Penalty – Play usually resumes with a face-off near the goal tender of the penalised team. This can vary with complex/multiple penalties. [More Info]


  • Icing – Player hits the puck from their end of the ice (defensive zone or neutral ice before the centre red line – see diagram below) and over the goal line at the attacking zone without being touched by the other team. Play restarts with a face-off in front of the goal tender of the team who iced the puck.


  • Offside – Player crosses the blue line to enter the attacking zone (see diagram below) before the puck. Face-off location depends on location of skaters and intent (deliberate/accidental). This stops a team from having their best player in front of the opposing goal tender for the whole game.


  • Goal – Play resumes with a face-off at centre ice. [More Info]


  • Goals dislodged – The net is moved. A face-off will restart play with the face-off location depending on who was judged to have moved the net. For safety, the goal nets move when a person makes enough contact with the goal posts or net. Many years ago hockey goals were concreted into the ground which led to serious injuries when players collided with the posts.


  • End of period – Play stops. Players return to their benches (and dressing room if time allows). Play restarts at centre ice after teams switch directions. Because there are 3 periods and not 2 halves or 4 quarters, a team will play towards one goal in periods 1 & 3. They play towards the opposite goal in period 2. The locations of the dressing rooms, penalty boxes and benches do not change direction with the team.





Graphic – Zones on the rink assuming team running from left to right. Zones reversed for opposing team.


Page last updated 02 May 2017