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How Penalties Work in Hockey

Terry Chucas

Terry Chucas is a self-employed attorney who draws upon 28 years of experience in representing parents and children in dependency court appeals. Beyond his professional pursuits, Terry Chucas is a fan of hockey who played the sport until he was 45 years old and represented Canada in an international old-timers tournament.

Hockey is a physical sport, and to keep things relatively safe, players are issued penalties for committing various infractions. A player can receive a two-minute minor penalty for cross-checking, charging, tripping, hooking, and slashing, among other infractions. Five-minute major penalties are reserved for more serious offenses such as fighting or a deliberate attempt to injure another player. Moreover, players can also receive 10-minute misconducts for unsportsmanlike behavior or for incurring their second five-minute major of the game.

Players committing the offenses are required to serve the duration of their penalty in the penalty box, unless the opposing team scores before the end of the power-play, in which case the penalized player is allowed to go back on the ice. However, if a player takes a five-minute major penalty, he must spend the whole five minutes in the penalty box regardless of how many power-play goals the opposition scores. Additionally, if a goaltender is called for a penalty, one of his teammates must serve the time on his behalf.

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