Icing And Hybrid Icing Explained by #AskAllison


Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This has been a huge week in hockey with two Stadium Series games played, and two more left to play tomorrow and Saturday, March 1. I received a lot of positive response to #AskAllison and just want to thank you all! One of the first questions asked, and the first question I will answer is: “What is defined by the National Hockey League as icing, and what is this new Hybrid Icing that the NHL has implemented this year?”

Before we discuss icing, it is important to understand the ice layout. The ice is divided into two halves by the red line in the center of the ice. Each half of the ice has a blue line, denoting a team’s zone,  two face off circles in the team’s zones, two face off circles in the neutral zone, and a red goal line on which the goal sits. There is also the goalie crease in front of the goal for the goalie to defend in. The zone between the blue line and the mid-way red line is called the neutral zone, and the zone from the blue line to the goal line is either the defensive zone or the offensive zone depending on which team you are. For those who are visual learners, take a look at this.

Icing occurs when the puck travels from the defending team’s half of the ice to the opposing side’s red goal line without being touched by any of the icing teams players. For example, if Team Red and Team Blue are playing each other and Team Red sends the puck from their end of the ice to beyond Team Blue’s red goal line without anyone touching it, then that is icing. When icing is called, play stops and the puck is dropped for a face off at the opposite end of the ice.

There are some important things to know about icing. First thing to know is that if a goalie touches the puck before it passes the red goal line, then icing is called off. Additionally, if the goalie attempts to play the puck, or skates in the direction of the puck during icing, then the Linesman can call off the icing. Also, icing only occurs when both teams are at equal strength, meaning that if a team that is down a player during a power play clears the puck and it passes the opposing end’s red goal line, there will be no icing called and play will continue. During an icing call, the team that iced the puck is not allowed to substitute players.

This year the National Hockey League also created a new rule called hybrid icing, which was instated to help eliminate board hits and preserve the player’s health. Hybrid icing allows for the Linesmen to call icing when they believe that the puck will pass the goal line, and that the defending player will be the first player to reach the puck. The way they determine which player will reach the puck first is by which ever players skates pass the red face off dots in the end zone. So, for example if Team Red ices the puck to Team Blue’s end of the ice, and the Linesmen see’s that Team Blue’s player will reach the puck before Team Red’s player then he can call icing before the puck passes the goal line in order to minimize board hits to players.

So hopefully this clears up what the term icing means to you, and helps to explain what the hybrid icing rule is for those who don’t quite understand the meaning. Remember, if you have any other questions regarding rules of the game, just hashtag #AskAllison and your question may be answered next time! Thanks for reading, and Go Rangers!