Hockey 101


A Hockey Game: Consists of three 20-minute periods with two 18-minute intermissions.

Players: Each team has six players on the ice at any given time (except when a penalty occurs): center, right wing, left wing, two defensemen and a goalie. Each team can dress a maximum of 18 skaters and 2 goalies (20 total).

The Puck: Is a six-ounce piece of vulcanized rubber. It is three inches in diameter and one inch thick and is frozen before games to minimize bouncing.

The Rink: 200 feet long and 85 feet wide.

The Goal: Is four-feet high by six-feet wide. Goals are worth one point each and are scored when the puck crosses the goal line and goes into the net.

Charlotte Checkers Hockey 101 Rules

Offside: No player may precede the puck into the offensive zone. I.e.: When Player 1 (see diagram above) has the puck in what is called the neutral zone and Player 2 crosses the blue line before the puck is in the offensive zone, he is considered offside. *In a delayed offside situation, the offending player(s) will be permitted to negate the offside by “tagging up” at the blue line by returning to the blue line to touch and clear the zone.

Icing: When Player 3 (see diagram above) plays the puck from behind the center line to a point beyond the opponent’s goal line (into the offensive zone). Icing is not called when the team is playing short-handed. A team that is guilty of an icing violation will be prohibited from making a line change prior to the ensuing faceoff.

Hockey positions: THE SIX MEN AND WHAT THEY DO

Each team plays six men at one time (unless someone has been put in the penalty box) and an active roster can include as many as 20 players. Substitutions are made while play is in progress. The positions are goaltender, left/right defense, center, and left/right wings.

Goaltender: The goalie’s responsibility is to keep the opposition from putting the puck into his goal. Offensively, he can start his team down the ice with a pass, but he seldom leaves the net for other reasons.

Defensemen: Defensemen try to stop the incoming play, block shots, cover opposing forwards and clear the puck from in front of their own goal. On offense they get the puck to the center and wings and follow the play into the attacking zone to maintain the offensive momentum.

Center: The center takes faceoffs and leads the attack by carrying the puck on offense. He exchanges passes with the wings to steer the play toward the enemy goal. On defense he tries to break up a play before it gets on his teams side of the ice and continues to harass their play in the neutral and defensive zone.

Wings: Moving up and down the sides of the ice with the direction of the play, the wings work with the center on the attack to set up shots at the goal. Defensively, they try to disrupt plays by the opposing wings and block their shots.

Hockey does not employ a variety of set plays like football does. Instead, the players must react instantaneously to a variety of situations.



Minor penalties are two minutes in length and include: Tripping, hooking, boarding, spearing, slashing, roughing, holding, high sticking, elbowing and charging.


Major penalties are five minutes long and are usually called for fighting or when a minor penalty is committed with deliberate attempt to injure.


For deliberately injuring an opponent. The team must play shorthanded for five to 10 minutes, with the severity of the injury determining the length of the assessment. The offending player is ejected from the game.

Penalty Shot

A free shot, unopposed except by the goalie, is given to a player who is illegally impeded from behind when in possession of the puck and with no opponent between him and the goal except for the goalie. The team that comiits the offense is not penalized beyond the penalty shot, whether it is successful or not.



The supervisor and official authority of the game. He calls the penalties, determines goals and handles the faceoffs at center ice taht start each period of play. Officials wear a black and white vertically-striped shirt when on the ice and have solid orange armbands. The AHL is phasing in a two-referee system that will eventually be used for every game, but for now, some games still only use one referee.


There are two linesmen that are responsible for calling offsides and icing and handling all faceoffs that do not take place at center ice. They do not call penalties, but can recommend to the referee that a penalty be called.

Goal judges

One judge sits off-ice behind each goal and signals when a goal has been scored by turning on a red light above his station. The referee can ask his recommendation on disputed goals, but the referee has the final decision and is able to overrule the goal judge.


Referee Signals


  • STK – winning or losing streak
  • GP – Games played – number of games a team has played
  • W – Wins – Games the team has won, either in regulation or overtime
  • L – Losses – Games the team has lost in regulation
  • OTL – Overtime losses – Games the team has lost during the five-minute, four-on-four overtime period
  • SOL – Shootout losses – Games the team has lost in a shootout
  • PTS – Points – Team points, calculated from W, L, OTL and SOL. Used to determine standings. Most leagues award two points for a W and one point for an OTL or a SOL.
  • GF – Goals for – Number of goals the team has scored
  • GA – Goals against – Number of goals scored against the team
  • SO – Shutouts – Number of games the team held the opposition scoreless
  • ROW – Regulation plus overtime wins – A variant of wins, discarding those obtained in the shootout

player statistics

  • GP – Games played – Number of games in wihch the player has played at least one second
  • G – Goals – Total number of goals the player has scored
  • A – Assists – Number of goals the player has assisted on. Up to two players may earn an assist on any goal
  • PTS – Points – Scoring points, calculated as the sum of G and A
  • PIM – Penalties in minutes – Number of penalty minuts a player has earned
  • PPG – Power-play goals – Number of goals a player has scored while his team was on the power play
  • PPA – Power-play assists – Number of assists a player has earned while his team was on the power play
  • SHG – Shorthanded goals – Number of goals the player has scored while the other team was on the power play
  • SHA – Shorthanded assists – Number of assists the player has earned while the other team was on the power play
  • GWG – Game-winning goals – A goal is considered to be game-winning when the team would win the game without scoring any additional goals. For example, the third goal in a 5-2 win
  • ENG – Empty-net goals – Number of goals scored into an empty net while the opposing goaltender had been pulled for an extra attacker
  • +/- or P/M – Plus/minus – The number of even-strength or shorthanded goals scored while a player is on the ice minus the number of even-strength or shorthanded goals scored against while the player is on the ice
  • TOI – Time on ice – Total time the player has been on the ice
  • ATOI – Average time on ice – The average amount of time the player spent on the ice in the games he played (total time on ice divided by games played)
  • SOG – Shots on goal – The number of shots a player takes on goal, including goals scored and those blocked by the goaltender. Shots that are blocked on the way to the net or miss the net do not count


  • GP, G, A – Same as above. Note that +/- is not recorded for goaltenders
  • GS – Games started – The number of games the goaltender has started. If a goaltender enters a game in relief, he earns a GP but not a GS
  • MIN – Total number of minutes the goaltender has played. Excludes time elapsed when a goaltender has left the ice for an extra attacker
  • GA – Goals against – Number of goals the goaltender has allowed
  • GAA – Goals against average – The average amount of goals a goaltender allowed per game. Calculated by multiplying GA by 60 and dividing by MIN
  • W – Wins – Games the goaltender has won. If multiple goalies play for the same team during a win, the win goes to the goalie who was in the game when the GWG was scored
  • L – Losses – Games the goaltender has lost. If multiple goalies play for the same team during a loss, the loss goes to the goalie who allowed the GWG
  • SA – Shots against – The total number of shots on goal against one goaltender
  • SV – Saves – The number of SOG a goaltender has blocked
  • SV% – Percentage of total shots the goaltender has saved. Calculated as SV divided by SA
  • SO – Shutouts – Number of games where the goaltender stopped all shots faced and was the only goaltender from his team to play in the game


  • Backcheck – Attempt by a forwards on his way back to the defending zone to regain the puck
  • Body Check – Using the hip and/or shoulder to slow or stop an opponent with the puck
  • Breakaway – The puck carrier getting in front of all opponents except the goalkeeper
  • Breakout – When a team comes out of its defensive zone and starts up the ice toward the opponent’s goal
  • Drop Pass – Puck carrier leaves the puck behind for a trailing teammate to pick up
  • Forecheck – Keeping opponents at their end of the rink while attempting to regain possession of the puck
  • Freezing the Puck – Holding the puck against the boards using sticks or skates
  • Hat Trick – Three goals scored by one player in one game
  • Headmanning – Passing the puck forward to a leading teammate
  • Neutral Zone – Center ice between attacking and defending areas
  • Penalty Box – Area off ice at red line where penalized players serve their “sentences” and feel much shame
  • Pokecheck – Stabbing at the puck with the blade of the stick to take it away from the puck carrier
  • Power Play – While an opponent is shorthanded due to a penalty, the team with the manpower advantage has a power play
  • Slap Shot – Bringing the stick back and quickly forward, slapping the puck ahead
  • Splitting the Defense – Man with the puck goes between two defenders
  • Stickhandling – Carrying the puck along the ice with the stick
  • Sweep Check – Using the entire length of the stick while laying it flat on the ice in order to take the puck away from the carrier
  • Wrist Shot – Flicking motion of the wrist to propel the puck off the blade

hockey chatter

  • Barn – Hockey arena
  • Biscuit – Hockey puck
  • Biscuit in the basket – The puck hitting the back of the net on a goal
  • Cherry picking – When a player, generally a forward, stays behind the play and does not defend while waiting for a outlet pass so that he can have a breakaway
  • Chicklets – Teeth
  • Chippy – Players are getting irritated with one another
  • Coast to coast – When a player carries the puck from his own end into the offensive end
  • Deke – To fake an opponent out of position with a movement of the head or body
  • Dump and chase – A style of hockey where a team shoots the puck into one of the corners of the offensive zone and then pursues it. This is opposed to carrying the puck into the zone
  • Five hole – Placing a shot between the goalie’s legs
  • Freezing the puck – To hold the puck against the boards with either the stick or skate, or keeping the possession of the puck as a goaltender, to get a stoppage of play
  • Glove hand – The hand that the goalie catches the puck with, in contrast to his stick hand, which is the hand that the goalie holds his stick in
  • Goon – A player who has little purpose on the ice other than to get in fights or deliver illegal hits
  • Grinder – A type of player known for his checking ability and work ethic. Often associated with a player who is strong defensively but doesn’t score many points
  • Hash marks – The straight lines emerging from the two big circles in front of both nets. These lines direct players where to line up for faceoffs
  • Lumber – Hockey stick
  • Mucker – Similar to a grinder, but one who adds a more physical temperament to his game. This player tends to stir up trouble
  • One timer – The act of shooting the puck directly off a pass. The offensive player takes his backswing while the puck is on its way to him and tries to time his swing with the arrival of the puck
  • Rubber or frozen rubber – Hockey puck
  • Screened shot – Goaltender’s view is blocked by players between he and the shooter
  • Sin bin – Penalty box
  • Warm up the bus – The outcome of the game has pretty much been decided and the visitor is going to lose. The crowd will ask them to “warm up the bus” for the trip home