In hockey, it is legal for a player or goaltender to participate in the game because a player or goaltender whose stick has been broken must drop the broken portion to the ice immediately. Failing to drop the stick will result in a minor penalty. It must also be noted that a player is allowed to toss the broken stick to the side of the rink, as long as it does not go over the boards, in order to get it out of the way as long as in so doing he is not interfering with the play.

Sticks take a real beating on the ice. Whether it be from contact with other sticks, the boards, the ice or repeatedly taking shots, sticks do wear down and will break from time to time.  This is not a problem if the player with the broken stick decides to drop the stick immediately and doesn’t participate in the play until he receives a new stick. 

A player that is playing without a stick can only receive a new (non-broken) stick from his players’ bench (not the penalty bench), or from a teammate who is on the ice. He cannot get a stick from the goaltender, since a player cannot participate in the game with a goaltender’s stick.

You may see from time to time a player who has had his blade broken take a swipe at the puck and miss the puck.  Providing that there were no opposing players around the player holding the broken stick, you may not see a penalty called even though the rule states that a penalty should be called.  The reasoning for this goes back to the Game Management factor.  If there are no opposing players that were affected by the attempt to hit the puck with a broken stick and/or the puck’s path was not altered in anyway, why should a penalty be assessed?  It didn’t affect the game so it may not be assessed by a referee who doesn’t always call the game “by the book”.

Stick Thrown To A Teammate

When it was stated above that a player can only receive a stick from the players’ bench, this means that the player must physically go to the bench and grab a stick from a teammate or coach and not receive a stick that was thrown to him from the bench. 

An example of this is when a player is ten (10) feet away from his players’ bench and all of a sudden a teammate throws a stick to this player (just like seeing a javelin being thrown at the Olympics).  Referees may give one or two feet leeway of a stick being thrown to a teammate on the ice, but when it becomes too obvious then a penalty will most likely result. If the player on the ice catches or picks up the thrown stick, then this player will receive a Minor penalty for “Illegally receiving a stick”.  If he doesn’t pick up the stick then no penalty will be assessed to this player. 

Furthermore, if the player or coach can be identified as the person that threw the stick then this person will receive a Bench Minor (2 minute) penalty plus a Game Misconduct.  If he cannot be identified then only the Bench Minor penalty will be assessed.

Goaltender Needs A Stick

 A goaltender who breaks or loses her stick may use a stick of a player handed to him by a player until the next stoppage of play.  In this case the player’s stick will not be considered an illegal stick.  A goaltender may not continue to play with a broken stick of any kind. There was a time when goaltenders were allowed to play with a broken stick, but that was in the past.

Goaltenders tend to have many opposing players coming close to them and bumping into them from time to time throughout the course of a game.  This may cause the goaltender to either have his stick knocked out of his hands or broken.  When this happens you usually see a defenceman from the goaltender’s team hand him a player’s stick.  This is perfectly legal until the first stoppage of play, at which time the goaltender must have one of his teammates bring him a new goaltender’s stick from the players’ bench.  If the goaltender proceeds to his players’ bench during a stoppage of play to receive an alternate goalie stick then a Minor penalty for Delay of Game will be assessed against the goaltender. 

Now, here is a strange one that could come up in Minor Hockey. If the goaltender does not have a spare “Goaltender’s Stick”, then the goalie will be required to resume every stoppage of play without a stick.  Who came up with this rule?

The easy way around that is for the goaltender’s team to always have one of his teammates stand right next to him when the puck is being dropped to resume play. The goaltender would then play with the player’s stick until the next stoppage of play and then you would continue to repeat this process. 

Another option, especially at the Minor Hockey level is to ask the opposing team if they will permit the goaltender to use a player’s stick for the rest of the game.  If the coach agrees, then there should be no problem of allowing the goaltender who doesn’t have a back-up goaltender’s stick to use a player’s stick for the remainder of the game.

Remember that a player cannot throw a goaltender stick from the players’ bench to the goaltender without being assessed the appropriate penalties.

Player ‘Carries’ The Goaltender’s Stick Back To The Goaltender

When a goaltender loses his stick it may end up quite some distance from the net thus making it nearly impossible for him to skate to his stick, pick it up and return to his net without a goal being scored when the play is in the defending zone of the goaltender. 

Therefore, usually a teammate of the goaltender will pick up the goaltender’s stick and bring it back to the goalie.  This is perfectly legal provided the player returning the stick to the goaltender goes directly to the goaltender without participating in play.  If the player participates in play while carrying both the goaltender’s stick and his own stick then a Minor penalty will be assessed for carrying an “Illegal Stick”. 

Once the player makes the commitment to carry the goaltender’s stick back to him, he must complete this commitment or he will be penalized.  For instance, if the player on his way back to the goalie decides to drop the goaltender’s stick and participate in play then he will be assessed a Minor penalty for Interference.  Also, if the player decides to throw or slide the stick to the goaltender then this player will be assessed a Minor penalty for “Throwing the Stick” and if the goalie picks up this thrown stick he will also receive a Minor penalty for “Illegally receiving a stick”.

Player ‘Shoots’ The Goaltender’s Stick Back To The Goaltender

The difference between ‘Carrying’ and ‘Shooting’ a stick is very obvious.  In one case a player has physically picked up a stick and decided to carry it to the goaltender, and in the latter, the player using his stick has decided to shoot the stick (similar to shooting a puck) back to the goaltender.

There will be no penalty assessed to either the shooting player or the goaltender provided that the shot stick does not interfere with the play.  If the stick interferes with an opposing puck carrier or the puck then a Minor penalty for Interference would be assessed to the player who shot the stick along the ice.

A player can also kick any stick to a teammate without being assessed a Minor penalty provided the kicked stick did not interfere with an opposing player or the puck.

Throwing A Stick

 Any player who deliberately throws his stick or any other object at the puck or the puck carrier in any zone will risk receiving a minor penalty, unless the action results in the awarding of a penalty shot or a goal.

The purpose of this rule is to prevent any unnecessary injuries being caused by sticks. Can you imagine if players were allowed to throw their sticks or gloves at the puck carrier or puck during the course of a game.  The ice would be littered with sticks, gloves and bodies that were struck by these flying projectiles.

If a player throws his stick or glove at the puck or puck carrier, the determining factor to which penalty will be assessed is the position of the puck or puck carrier.  If the puck carrier and/or puck is located in the defending zone of the player that shot his stick or glove at the puck or puck carrier, then a Penalty Shot will be awarded if the puck carrier does not score during the time that the Referee has his arm up on delay. 

If the puck carrier or puck is located in any zone other than the defending zone when the stick or glove reaches the puck carrier or puck, then only a Minor penalty will be assessed to the player that shot the stick or glove.

Passing A Stick To A Teammate

A player is on the ice skating around when he realizes that one of his teammates does not have a stick and is trying to fend off an attacking player in front of their net.  He decides to slide the stick along the ice to his teammate.  The player that threw the stick would receive a Minor penalty for “Throwing the Stick” and if the teammate picks up the stick thrown to him then he would also receive a Minor penalty for “Illegally receiving a stick”. If he does not pick up the stick then he would not receive a penalty.