Holding the Stick
off, it is important to must realize that there is no such thing as an “Obstruction” call at the minor hockey level.
They still use this in the NHL, but in minor hockey, referees are
told to simply replace the Obstruction call with Interference, holding,
hooking penalty, etc. This is
why you do not see Referees give the “O” signal before another signal
such as the Interference signal of the arms crossed at chest level.
a player Obstructs or interferes with the progress of a player, it
disrupts the flow of this player and usually denies the player the
opportunity to get involved in a scoring opportunity, or to get in a
position to stop a scoring opportunity.
see this quite often when an attacking player is chasing a defending
player who has the puck in one corner and then begins skating behind his
own net in an attempt to get away from the attacking player.
There is a tendency for the defending team’s defenceman who is
located in front of the net to move away from his position and try to get
in the way of the attacking player who is pursuing the puck carrier. This
defenceman will either use his body or stick to slow down the forward and
allow his teammate with the puck to get away or at least create some
distance between the attacking player and the puck carrier.
Sometimes the goalie will even try to cause some form of
interference on the attacking/chasing forward.
you rarely see this penalty or infraction called by the official unless
the defenceman who obstructed the attacking player makes enough contact to
knock the player to the ice or come to a complete stop.
This is because it becomes a very marginal call if the referee
calls a penalty for interference when the defenceman only nudges or bumps
into the attacking player. If
the attacking player is able to continue his pursuit with a very minimal
amount of contact then the referee is most likely to let this type of
infraction go unpenalized. Yes, by the book it is still a penalty.
However, let us remember what game management is all about.
Basketball on Ice? Not Likely! No Picking.
is not like Basketball. In
basketball, players are allowed to stand in the way of a player of the
other team as long as they are not moving.
The basketball players use the “PICK” to free up a lane for
their teammates to penetrate into and possibly score some points.
In Hockey, this is not allowed.
No player is allowed to intentionally skate in front of an opponent
and stand still in an attempt to stop or slow down the opponent and free
up a skating lane for their teammate to use.
a player happens in just about every shift of hockey.
When two players come close to each other and the puck is nowhere
near them, one player (usually the defending player) will attempt to get
their stick on the other player and try to hook or hold this player in an
attempt to stop or slow down his momentum.
This type of play usually goes unpenalized unless the player being
hooked or interfered with is completely taken out and falls to the ice or
if a pass from a teammate was about to be received by this player being
interfered with and because of the interference the player was unable to
receive the pass (particularly in front of the net).
Don’t Cry Wolf!
is a warning for players who are reading this article. Don’t dive!
Referees know when you are diving and when you have actually been taken
out by an action that deserves a penalty.
If a referee notices that you dive a lot, then he may very well let
actual penalties where you don’t dive, go unpenalized.
It is like the old story of “Don’t cry Wolf!”
The more you dive, the less chance that a referee will actually
assess a penalty to a player who actually did interfere with you.
and hooking go hand in hand. Players
like to use their stick to slow down or impede the progress of opposition
players. Hooking does not
always happen with the blade of the stick. It can also happen with the
butt-end of the stick.
most often occurs when an attacking player gets around a defenceman.
As the defenceman turns to chase the attacking player who is
sometimes right beside him (shoulder to shoulder), the defenceman will
slide his upper hand down the shaft of his stick and use the remainder of
the stick (butt-end) to hook or slow down the attacking player.
Of course this only happens when the defending players butt-end of
the stick is closest to the attacking player.
really sneaky players will also keep their feet moving making it look like
they are in actual fact catching up to the attacking player and not just
hanging on for a ride. The
penalty for this infraction is also considered a stick infraction because
it is called “Butt-End Hooking”.
There have always been the regular five stick infractions
(slashing, high sticking, cross-checking, spearing and butt-ending). Now
this has become the sixth stick infraction.
players who receive this penalty get caught because the stop moving their
feet. By hooking on to the attacking player, you can actually ride along,
coasting as you slow down your opponent. Most players make it quite clear
that they are sliding their hand down the shaft of the stick, thus making
it even easier for the referee to make his decision.
Hooking with the Blade
an attacking player beats the same defenceman on his other side, the
defenceman will usually hold out the entire shaft of his stick to hook or
impede the attacking player. Referees will not often call this a penalty
since it is hard to get a penalize a player for holding out his stick over
the ice. However, if the defenseman uses just the blade of his stick, it
becomes so obvious that the referee once again has no other choice but to
make the call
position of the referee is perhaps the most important factor in the
hooking call or non-call. If the referee is skating behind the players, as
usually happens with the one referee system, it is difficult to see a
butt-end hook or a hook using the shaft of the stick.
The easiest of these hooking penalties for the referee to call is
the hook using the blade of the stick.
Skate Through The Hook
is a tip for hockey players. If you find yourself being hooked by a
defender, make ever attempt to fight your way through the hook. If you
merely give up or look to the referee for help, you will likely not draw a
penalty for your club. The harder you try to escape the hook, the more
difficult it is for a referee to ignore the infraction.
Holding The Stick
hot topic that goes along with the Obstruction aspect of hockey is the
“Holding the Stick” penalty. This penalty has been called more and
more because it usually denies a player a reasonable scoring opportunity
by not allowing the player to get his stick to the puck to get a shot off.
most commonly called “Holding the Stick” penalty occurs in front of
the net. Here is an example.
Mike Peca is standing in front of the Senators’ net and is
battling for position with Wade Redden.
The puck is shot at the net from the blue line and a big rebound
comes out just in front of Peca. As
Peca and Redden were battling, Redden grabbed Peca’s stick around the
lower part of the stick (near the blade) and has positioned the stick
close to his body so that it almost looks like Peca is hooking Redden,
when in actual fact, Peca is trying to free his stick from Redden’s
Peca was unable to get his stick to the puck and was in essence denied a
good scoring opportunity because he was in front of the net with the puck
lying in front of him, a penalty is more likely to be called.
more example would be when an attacking player is trying to get to a loose
puck in the corner. Defending
players have been known to grab hold of the attacking player’s stick in
order to stop that player dead in his tracks.
These are obvious penalties because quite often the attacking
player will try for a couple of seconds to free his stick and then he will
let go of his stick. When he does this, the defending player is usually left
standing alone in the corner with the attacking player’s stick in his
the Obstruction call has been replaced with the normal interference and
hooking calls in minor hockey, it
is still enforced, especially when the infraction may have an impact on
the final outcome of the
instance, when the player in front of the net is unable to get his stick
to a loose puck because the defenceman is holding his stick.
Or when a player provides a pick allowing the attacking player to
gain a free lane to the net thus increasing his chances of scoring. These are the instances when the referee is more likely to
call a penalty for a player obstructing another player.
the next time you see a player holding onto some other player’s stick,
think to yourself about the position of the referee (Was the referee able
to see the player holding the stick?) and the potential impact that such a
play will have on the game (Will this play deny a player a chance to score
or defend a scoring opportunity?). Don’t
forget that a referee must be able to make his decision in a split second.
Giving full consideration for what the referee is going through on the ice
may actually help lower your blood pressure and save your vocal cords.