What Is Icing In Hockey?

Even though the purpose of hockey is to get the ball into the goal of the other team, there are a lot of rules and terms that might be confusing to novices.

One of them has icing. Even more confusing is the fact that there are a variety of frosting types, including standard icing, hybrid icing, and no-touch icing.

An icing happens in hockey when a player shoots the puck over the centerline and over the goal line of the opposing team, but a defensive player prevents it from entering the net.

What Is Icing In Hockey?

A no-touch icing rule dictates that icing must be called as soon as the puck crosses the goal line.

If you do not know what icing is, read this article.

We shall explain what icing is, why it was created, and why linesmen sometimes request it rather than it occurring automatically.

In addition, the differential between icing and offsides will be discussed.

What Is Icing?

Icing happens when a player shoots the puck from his side of the rink past the goal line of the other team.

The puck must cross both the red center line and the opposing team’s goal line for the icing to be called.

The puck must cross both lines for there to be icing if the player is on the opposite side of the centerline from his team’s goalkeeper.

Additionally, icing occurs when the puck crosses the goal line without scoring.

If a goal is scored or the goalkeeper plays the puck, this is not icing.

Without entering the net, the ball must cross the goal line and be played by a defender other than the goalie.

When icing occurs, the game is paused and a faceoff is held in the zone of the offending side.

Is Icing A Type Of Penalty?

Icing is not considered a penalty. However, this will result in a face-off in the offending team’s zone.

While not a penalty, this infraction can have serious consequences, since the other team now has a good chance of winning the face-off and perhaps scoring.

Why Is Icing An Infraction?

The “icing rule” was created to prevent teams from shooting the puck along the centerline to extend time at the end of a game.

First introduced in 1937, the NHL’s icing rule dates back to that year.

Without an icing rule, winning teams might squander time at the end of a game by shooting the puck over the centerline.

Despite the fact that this would retain the winning team’s lead, viewers would find the game somewhat monotonous.

Who wants to see a team spend time maintaining its lead without taking any action?

The goal of the icing rule was to discourage teams from engaging in this practice.

Instead, players would be required to cross the center line before shooting the puck into the other team’s zone.

What Is Hybrid Icing?

To prevent accidents on the field, hybrid icing was established as a modification to the icing rule.

We stated that icing occurs when a defender touches the ball after crossing the goal line and center line.

However, what happens if an offensive player gets to the puck first? There was no frosting.

When a situation involving icing occurred, offensive players would endeavor to get the puck before their defensive counterparts in order to avoid a penalty (You might also want to check out Top Hockey Chirps That Won’t Get You Yellowed Carded).

This may result in accidents. The NHL and several other leagues currently employ hybrid icing.

The linesmen will assess whether or not ice is required for each situation. Sometimes it is obvious, but other times the linesmen must make the determination.

In order to minimize collisions in possible icing scenarios, the linesmen will immediately call icing if the defensive team is closer to the offensive team than the offensive team.

Alternately, icing is automatically waived and does not occur if the offensive player is plainly closer to and will reach the puck before the defensive player.

Normal play will continue without a face-off. There are times, though, when it is uncertain who will reach the puck first.

Under such conditions, authorities may let a race proceed.

The authorities may also opt to stop the race in order to prevent collisions and injuries. The decision is ultimately theirs to make.

What Is No-Touch Ice?

Earlier in this article, we said that icing occurs only when an opponent non-goalie defender stops the puck before a goal is declared.

Nonetheless, some leagues have implemented no-touch icing to prevent a rush to the ball and the resulting collisions.

No-touch icing indicates that the puck is iced as soon as it passes the goal line (after crossing the red centerline).

In other words, no defensive player is required to make contact with the puck in any way.

Is Icing An Enforced Rule?

Is Icing An Enforced Rule?

The enforcement of icing is at the discretion of the league. As noted earlier, the NHL currently employs hybrid icing.

As we have seen, hybrid icing suggests that frosting will not always be referred to as frosting (for instance, if it is evident that an offensive player will arrive before a defensive player).

A linesman may also decide not to call icing if a defender had the chance to get the puck before the goal line but opted not to.

In this circumstance, there is no icing, and the defending team does not earn a faceoff in the offending side’s zone.

The explanation is uncomplicated.

If this situation was still deemed icing, defensive players would let the puck cross the goal line and ice without interfering, leading to an icing call and a faceoff in the other team’s zone.

They ensured that such a situation would not necessitate icing, pushing the defensemen to attempt to get the puck back into play so the game could continue.

In addition, when a team is down a player because of a penalty, icing will not be enforced, and the short team may shoot the puck across both lines without penalty.

Occasionally, an icing call may be useful for the attacking team since it provides a little reprieve as everyone prepares for the upcoming face-off.

When the line has been active for some time and is beginning to tire, this might be effective.

To understand why this is crucial, you may like to read our essay on why hockey players have short shifts.

Is Icing Ever Not Enforced?

There are several remarkable aspects of icing. When a team is down to one player due to a penalty, they may ice the puck without penalty.

Occasionally, it appears like a team has iced the puck, but the official does not blow the whistle.

This occurs when a defender reaches the puck prior to crossing the red line.

In accordance with the game’s natural flow, the defender must play the puck whenever available.

This is a judgment call made by the linesmen.

No-touch icing is an additional significant differential between the NHL and other leagues with regard to icing terminology.

In the NHL, a defender must touch the puck before an offensive player for the icing to be called. If the person assaulting arrives first, play continues.

In a few other leagues, icing is a mandatory call, and play is halted when the puck crosses the goal line.

No contact is necessary between the defensemen and the puck, thus the phrase “no-touch” icing.

What Are Some Examples Of Icing?

In this section, we will present instances of what icing is and what it is not.

It is referred to as frosting when:

  • An attacking player blasted the puck past both the center line and the goal line from behind the center line. If a defender, other than the goalkeeper, touches the puck after it has passed the goal line but before it enters the net, it is icing.
  • To constitute no-touch icing, the puck must have crossed both the center line and the goal line. In this instance, icing happens when the puck crosses the goal line entirely.
  • In the case of hybrid icing, icing occurs after the puck crosses the goal line (after crossing the centerline) if it is clear that a defender (other than the goalkeeper) would have stopped it before. In this situation, defensive player touch with the puck is not necessary for the icing to occur.

The following do not qualify as frosting:

  • The offensive player shot the puck from in front of the center line. In other words, if an offensive player in the defensive zone fired the puck across the blue line and the goal line, he would not score (without the puck crossing the center line first).
  • If the offensive player shoots the puck from below the center line across both the center line and the goal line when their team is shorthanded, the ball is regarded to have crossed both lines. The absence of a player from the team is not icing on the cake.
  • If the offensive player shoots the puck between the center line and the goal line when hybrid icing is in place, the offensive player will reach the puck before the defensive player.
  • The puck crosses the center line and comes near to crossing the goal line, but is stopped by a defensive player or collides with a defensive player before reaching the goal line, and therefore never does.
  • A defensive player other than the goalkeeper could have prevented the puck from crossing the goal line after it crossed the center line, but instead allowed it to cross. This will result in the loss of an icing call, as mentioned.
  • After crossing the center line, a defender touches the puck, but it continues to cross the goal line. For icing to occur, the puck must cross both lines without being touched or stopped.
  • The puck enters the net. If the puck crosses both lines and is not touched between the center line and the goal line, but then enters the net and a goal is scored, there will be no icing penalty or faceoff. Instead, the attacking team will have scored a goal.
  • A representative verifies that a pass attempt was made. If an official determines that the player who shot the puck meant to pass it rather than cross the goal line, the icing call may be overturned and play may resume as usual.

Should The NHL Introduce A No-Touch Icing Rule?

The NHL has yet to implement no-touch icing. Despite this, it is the standard in many international leagues, including European ones.

According to an opinion article, the NHL should immediately implement no-touch icing.

The NHL has embraced hybrid icing as a compromise between regular icing and no-touch icing, but according to David Poile, general manager of the Nashville Predators, hybrid icing would not provide enough scoring chances.

The NHL should instead implement no-touch icing to reduce injuries and ensure player safety.

How To Prevent An Ice Infraction

Avoiding a violation for icing is simple. If you are already over the centerline, you need to merely shoot the puck.

If not, the puck must cross the centerline prior to being fired toward the other team’s goal line.

We’ve also published a second blog article that is also worth reading, detailing bad hockey behaviors that should be avoided.

If frequent icing is the norm, you may use icing as a defensive strategy if the other team shoots the puck across both the center line and the goal line (as opposed to no-touch icing).

You may instigate a face-off in the other team’s zone by stopping the puck from crossing the goal line.

What Is The Difference Between Offside And Icing?

Occasionally, offsides and icing are confused with one another. Nonetheless, the regulations and conditions are radically diverse.

The sole similarity is that both endings include a confrontation. Nonetheless, this clash may not always occur in the same spot.

Icing happens when an offensive player shoots the puck from below the center line across both the center line and the goal line.

Offsides are different.

When an offensive player is in the defensive zone (behind the blue line) when the puck is in the offensive zone, offside is called (not in the offensive zone).

If another offensive player plays the puck and pushes it into the offensive zone while another offensive player is already in the offensive zone, this constitutes an offside.

The offensive player who transfers the puck into the offensive zone must move the puck into the offensive zone prior to crossing the blue line.

The position of a player’s skates will determine whether or not he is offside.

If the player has only one foot in the attacking zone or is still touching the blue line, he is not offside.

The placement of a player’s hockey stick has no bearing on the offside status of a play.

Even though the hockey stick is not in the offensive zone, the player is offside if his full body is in the offensive zone.

To be ruled offside, the puck must cross the blue line and completely enter the offensive zone with the player already there.

There is an exception to the offside rule if the offensive player in the offensive zone had control of the puck before entering the offensive zone.

In this circumstance, there is no offside. When an offside occurs, the game is halted and a face-off is conducted.

This face-off takes place at the neutral zone face-off site nearest to the opponent.

If an official determined that the offside was intentional, the faceoff would be held in the offensive team’s defensive zone.

This is the only similarity between an offside and icing. Aside from that, they are entirely separate regulations.

Avoiding offsides is straightforward.

Before playing the puck if you are in the offensive zone, confirm that it has completely passed the blue line and entered the offensive zone.

The player must precede the puck, not the other way around.

The puck would not be judged offside if it crossed the blue line before both skates of the attacking player.

This is why offsides may sometimes be deceiving and refereeing can be challenging.

It might be tough to identify whether the puck or skates crossed the goal line first.

Some professional sportsmen have been spotted with one foot in the offensive zone while straddling the blue line.

This is a common tactic that permits players to touch the puck before it crosses the blue line without committing an offsides infraction.

These players must avoid crossing the blue line in front of the puck.

Professional players move the puck repeatedly over the blue line to a teammate who is pacing himself so that he does not cross the line before the puck.

Final Thoughts

Actually, icing is not that tough to grasp.

Prior to shooting the puck towards the opposing goal line in a hockey league that enforces icing (standard icing, no-touch icing, or hybrid icing), the puck must have passed the center line.

If your league employs traditional icing and the other team shoots the puck from behind the centerline, stop the puck after it crosses the goal line.

This will result in an icing call and a faceoff in the opponent’s zone, presumably making it easier to score.

When a referee calls icing, the guilty team is penalized. They are not penalized since this is the lesser of two evils.

The penalty is a faceoff near the offending team’s goalkeeper in its own zone.

If the opposite team wins this faceoff and gets a good scoring opportunity, this situation might become devastating.

Tom Danier
Latest posts by Tom Danier (see all)