player shall be permitted to stop or ‘bat’ a puck in the air with her
open hand, or to push it along the ice with her hand and play shall not be
stopped, unless the player has directed the puck to a team-mate in the
neutral or attacking zone.
When this occurs play shall be stopped and the puck faced-off at
the spot where the offense occurred, unless the offending team gains a
territorial advantage, then the face-off shall be where the stoppage of
play occurred, unless otherwise covered in the rules.
Play shall not be stopped for any hand pass by players in their own
defending zone.” (Canadian Hockey Referee’s Case Book/Rule
Combination, 2001, pg. 170).
rule is one of the most commonly disputed calls during the course of a
game, especially at the minor hockey level.
The rule is very simple to understand if one takes the time to
logically think about some situations that may happen during a game.
instance, the puck can be passed by a player to a team-mate as long as the
player receiving the pass does so in the defending zone. You must also
remember that it is the location of the puck and not the skates
when the pass is received that determines whether or not the play is
called for a hand pass.
is an example: Tie Domi is up near the red line and the puck is floating
in the air towards him.
Instead of using his stick to hit the puck that is above his
shoulders (potential high stick infraction), he uses his hand and passes
it back towards Darcy Tucker who is located with both of his skates inside
his own blue line.
The determining factor as to whether or not the pass from Tie Domi
is whistled down depends on where Tucker receives the puck, not where
Tie Domi hit the puck with his hands nor where Tucker's skates are
instance, if Tucker receives the puck on his stick and his stick is
located inside his own end zone (where his skates are currently located)
then the play will continue because the receiver of the hand pass received
the puck in his own defending zone.
However, if Tucker receives the pass on his stick that is located
in the neutral zone then the play would be whistled down and the face-off
would take place where Tucker received the pass because it penalizes the
team more than it would if the face-off was taken where Tie Domi was
located (closer to the other team’s net).
& Control (Hand Passes):
is the key issue that confuses the majority of the parents, coaches and
refers to the puck hitting a player or touching a player’s stick.
belongs to the last team that the puck has touched.
control aspect is whether or not, in the referee’s opinion, the
player could manoeuvre the puck either with his stick or skates and not
lose control of the puck or just have the puck touch the stick and then
is an example:
Paul Kariya is located in front of the Montreal Canadians’ net
and Jose Theodore is in net for the Habs.
The puck is shot in the air at about chest level and Paul Kariya
sees that the puck is going to miss the net so he hits the puck out of
mid-air with his hand towards
The puck hits Theodore in the chest but Theodore was never able to
gain control of the puck (either shoot the puck or catch the puck), it
just hit him and then bounced off to Jeff Friesen (a team-mate of Kariya)
and Friesen was able to shoot the puck into the net.
Does the goal count?
The goal would not count because this is still considered a hand pass.
The hand pass is called because first of all the receiver of the
pass received the puck on his stick in the attacking zone, and secondly,
the opposing team (Habs) never gained control of the puck. They had
possession of the puck when it hit Theodore, but they never had control.
Therefore, the face-off would take place in the neutral zone just
outside of the Habs defending zone as this penalizes the Mighty Ducks more
than having the face-off inside the Habs defending zone.
example would be if Paul Kariya batted the puck towards the net and the
puck deflected off of either a team-mate, a Montreal player, or the
goaltender (Theodore) and the puck went into the net.
This would not be considered a goal because there was no clear
‘distinct shooting action’ putting the puck into the net.
Even if Kariya’s team-mate was to intentionally deflect the puck
with his stick into the net after Kariya passed the puck with his hand, no
goal would count because now an illegal hand pass would have occurred and
the play would be stopped.
The ensuring face-off would take place in the neutral zone nearest
to the Habs end zone.
Zone to the Neutral (or Attacking) Zone:
example of a hand pass that occurs quite frequently is when a player in
their own defending zone passes the puck with their hand to a team-mate in
the neutral (or attacking) zone.
is an example: Al
MacInnis (defenceman for St. Louis) has been tripped and is now laying on
the ice near the hash marks in his own defending zone and the puck is
beside him on the ice.
Then with his hand, MacInnis bats the puck forward into the neutral
zone where Doug Weight picks up the puck on his stick.
This would be called for a hand pass because the receiver of the
hand pass received the puck on his stick in the neutral zone.
The face-off would take place at the spot where Al MacInnis batted
the puck forward (in this instance it would take place at the end zone
face-off dot in the St. Louis end).
is where the player picks up the puck that is the determining factor.
Often in a game a player will push the puck with his hand while in his
defending zone. However, even if his team mate was standing beside him
when the puck was pushed with the hand, if the player does not touch the
puck until it is in the neutral zone, it is considered a hand pass.
are not passes!
often you will see a defending player try to shoot the puck out of his
zone or pass the puck in the air to a team-mate by the red line.
When this occurs the defencemen of the attacking team try to catch
or stop the puck with their hands.
Then after the puck hits their hands it may deflect to a team-mate.
This is perfectly legal.
The puck is in Vancouver’s end zone and Ed Jovanovski is being
pressured by and Edmonton forward, Ryan Smyth.
Jovanovski feels the pressure and he has been out on the ice for
over a minute and is getting tired.
Jovanovski shoots the puck high and off the glass.
A defenceman for Edmonton jumps up in the air and the puck nicks
his glove and continues on down the ice just over the centre red line when
another Edmonton player picks up the puck, which is still in the neutral
you call this a hand pass because it hit the glove of the Edmonton
answer is a straight NO!
The Edmonton defenceman made no clear hand passing motion, the puck
simply deflected off of his glove and went to a team-mate.
Since the player made no distinct hand pass motion the play would
be allowed to continue.
situation that confuses some fans is when a player bats the puck out of
the air to himself.
This is not a hand pass because players are allowed to pass the
puck to themselves with the glove.
Corson is cutting across the ice when the puck comes to him at eye
catches or hits the puck out of the air with his hand and bats or throws
the puck a couple of meters ahead of him.
If a team-mate picks up the puck then the play would be called and
a face-off would take place at either the spot where Corson batted the
puck or where the team-mate received the puck (which ever position
penalizes Corson’s team more – puts the puck closer to their net).
Corson now picks up the puck and continues to skate down the ice.
This is legal because Corson passed the puck to himself and not a
Another way to relate to this would be to look at a player kicking
the puck with his skate forward to his stick.
This is entirely within the rules and the play would be allowed to
THE OFFICIALS A BREAK NEXT TIME...
So next time you are watching a game and you feel the urge to yell
at the linesman or referee to call a hand pass, hold your tongue for a
second. Take a good look and see where the pass originated; where it was
picked up; whether or not possession or control came into play; whether
there was motion; etc., etc. Then remember that the official has to make
his call in a split second and has to take everything into consideration.
next time people in the stands around you question the calling of a hand
pass, you can now sound like an expert.