Understanding the Icing Call in Hockey

Terry Chucas

Terry Chucas, a California-based attorney with nearly 30 years of experience, represents San Diego area parents and children in dependency court appeals. Beyond his work as an attorney, Terry Chucas enjoys watching hockey, including games at international tournaments.

In the sport of ice hockey, “icing” is a commonly seen infraction. Despite the frequency with which icing calls are made at the professional and collegiate levels, newcomers to the sport may not fully understand the penalty.

Similar to hockey’s offside rule, icing was developed to preserve the flow, quality, and integrity of the game. Without the icing penalty, players would be able to fling the puck to the opposite end of the floor and give chase as the puck slides, or flies, toward the opposing goal.

To prevent this, the icing rule dictates that no player can pass the puck from behind the center red line across the opposing side’s goal line. If the puck follows this trajectory and is not touched by any player, icing should be called.

A notable loophole is that if the puck travels beyond the goal line for a score, the goal is counted, and icing is not called. Similarly, teams playing down a man cannot be called for icing.