Icing is common call that can be very confusing to new hockey fans as it can often seem inconsistent.

The rule was created to prevent teams from hitting the puck from one side of the ice to the other, disturbing the flow of the game.

What is Icing?

Icing occurs whenever a team hits the puck out of their half of the rink and it travels past both the red (center) line, and the opposing team’s goal line untouched.

Why don’t the refs call this every time?

There are exceptions to this rule that allow the referee to “wave off” the icing:

  1. If the referee believes that the opposing defender was capable of getting to the puck before it crossed the goal line.
  2. Icing is always waved off when a team is short a player because of a penalty (this team would be on a “penalty kill”).

What happens when an Icing call is made?

The offending team immediately has a face-off in their defensive zone.  The offending team is not able to swap out any players in between the icing call and the face-off.  This can be a very dangerous position to be in as it puts the opposing team in a good scoring position if they win the face-off.