Kicking The Puck

Players are allowed to kick the puck anywhere on the ice surface whether or not the puck is on the ice or if the puck is in the air.  Players can also pass the puck with their skates at any time throughout the game but the only time that players cannot kick the puck is if they try to kick the puck into the net.

No goal may be scored if a player makes a ‘DISTINCT KICKING MOTION’ in an attempt to put the puck in the opposing team’s net.  If a player kicks the puck into his own net then the goal will count. 

Here is an example:  Todd Bertuzzi has broken his stick in the corner of the opposition’s end zone and he is on his way to the bench to get a new stick.   As he is going from the corner to his bench, he crosses in front of the opposing teams net when the puck comes to him.  So trying to sneak one past the referee’s he makes a ‘distinct kicking motion’ and scores a goal.  The referee has not seen Bertuzzi commit this infraction of the rules and points to the net for a goal.  The opposing team argues that Bertuzzi kicked the puck into the net, so after consulting with his two linesmen the referee signals that the goal will not count because Bertuzzi used a ‘distinct kicking motion’ to score the goal.  The ensuing face-off will take place in the neutral zone at the nearest face-off dot just outside the defending team’s blue line.

This example also shows that linesmen can help the referee to make these decisions as the referee may not have seen the play because he was looking somewhere else on the ice or possibly he had his view obstructed by other players on the ice.  The bottom line is that any ‘distinct kicking motion’ will not be allowed for the scoring of goals.

Directing Puck into net using Skate


Rule 60d:

“….The goal shall not be allowed if the puck is deliberately directed into the net by any part of the body of an attacking player other than his skate.” (Canadian Hockey Referee’s Case Book/Rule Combination, 2001, pg. 166).

This rule is debated every time a situation happens during the course of a game when a goal has occurred after the puck went off of an attacking player’s skates.  The key point to remember is that the goal will count as long as there was no ‘distinct kicking motion’, but only a ‘distinct deflection’ with the player’s skate.

For example, a player is allowed to place his foot in such a way that the puck that is coming towards him will hit the skate and be directed into the net. This is perfectly legal but the debate as to whether or not the player kicked the puck still comes up all the time.

Whenever this happens, the referee usually has to go to each of the coaches to explain why the call was made. Of course this is a subjective decision and the coach will often make an attempt at pleading his case, but he won’t win. The goal will be disallowed and the face-off will take place in the neutral zone at the face-off dot nearest to the defending team’s zone.

EXAMPLE: Jaromir Jagr has positioned himself in front of the net and is now screening the goalie.  One of his defencemen shoots the puck from the point (near the blue line) and the puck is traveling along the ice.  Chris Pronger who is the defenceman of the opposition team is holding onto Jagr’s stick and Jagr is unable to get his stick on the ice to deflect the puck that is coming towards him.

So using some quick thinking, Jagr positions his skate in such a manner the the puck will hit the skate and change directions (hopefully into the net).  The puck deflects off of Jagr’s skate and fools the goalie.  The puck goes into the net and Pronger’s team starts to yell that Jagr kicked the puck into the net and that the goal should not count.

The referee signals a goal and communicates to Pronger’s team that the goal will count because Jagr did not kick the puck into the net, he only deflected the puck into the net with his skate therefore the goal will stand.

What would be the call if Jagr intentionally deflected the puck into the net with his shin or leg (not the skate)?

Existing rules indicate that the goal would not count.  The only way that a player can intentionally deflect the puck into the net without using his stick is by using his skate.  So, if Jagr positioned his leg in such a manner that the puck would switch directions after hitting his leg and thus trick the goalie then the goal would not count.

This is where the referee’s judgment really comes into effect.  The referee must now determine whether or not Jagr intentionally positioned his leg or if the puck hit Jagr’s leg accidentally.  It is much easier to make this call from the stands or when you get to look at the play on a television that shows the play over and over.  The only thing is that the referee does not have these luxuries. Refs have to make these decisions based on a split-second reaction and through the use of the other on-ice officials.  They also may not be in the most optimal position to decide whether or not a player intentionally directed the puck with their leg or if the puck hit the leg accidentally.

For instance, the referee may be in the right position to see all the players in perfect view but he may not have seen Jagr intentionally deflect the puck into the net with his leg because you must remember that Jagr isn’t the only player on the ice.  There may be anywhere from one to eight players other than Jagr and the shooter between the ref and Jagr. In these instances the referee will most often ask the linesmen for their input but this may still not produce the proper call.  So the next time you see this situation on the ice, remember that the referee and his partners will do everything in their power to make the right call.

Whenever a goal is scored after deflecting off some part of the body, the referee will usually allow the goal. Only if he is absolutely sure that the player intentionally moved in such a manner so as to cause the deflection will it be called back.

However, keep in mind that a player can move his skate anywhere he wants to deflect the puck into the net, as long as he doesn’t deliberately direct the puck with his skate.