line change procedure is used in order to give the Home Team an extra
advantage and allow them to match lines with the Visiting Team.
For example, if the Home Team has a particular set of players
(usually the checking line) that they want to play against the top scoring
line of the Visiting Team; the Home Team can use the line change procedure
to ensure that they get this match-up.
Another example is when the Home team sees that the opposition has
their weakest line on the ice; this would be a great opportunity for the
Home Team to put their top scoring line on the ice in order to increase
the chances of scoring a goal.
the referee has given the Visiting Team their five-seconds to change
players, the referee’s arm will go up in the air and now the Visiting
Team can no longer change any players.
So, if the top scoring line is on the ice and they can’t be
changed for another line, the Home Team will have five-seconds to place
their checking line out against this scoring line.
The procedure allows the Home Team to gain an extra advantage in
their home rink.
that the Home team does not have to follow this procedure perfectly. The Home team can change players as soon as the referee has
blown the whistle. Until you get into the upper categories you will rarely
see coaches trying to match lines. For
the most part in minor hockey you will see both teams changing as soon as
the whistle has been blown. This
still does not change the referee’s duties.
The referee must still follow the procedure on every stoppage to
ensure that he doesn’t get caught at some point during the game when a
coach actually wants to follow the line change procedure.
the surface, it is a very simple procedure. However,
as is the case with most rules, coaches stay up nights trying to
find ways of “stretching the rule”.
you will see the Visiting Team’s coach try to get around this line
change procedure by throwing out only a few players from the player’s
bench and having the players coming off the ice stay beside the bench, but
still on the ice. Now you
have anywhere from 5-10 players from the Visiting Team on the ice beside
the five-seconds allowed for the Visiting Team to change has passed, it is
the Home Team’s turn to change their players.
At this point, the Visiting Team can see what players the Home team
is placing on the ice and the coach can now pick from the 5-10 players he
still has on the ice, thus eliminating the Home team’s advantage of last
is up to the referee to recognize that this shifty method of getting
around the line change procedure is taking place and put a stop to it. The
referee must either do one of the following things: (1) Go to the bench
and tell the coach that if this occurs again, where they have players
waiting around the bench for the home team to change before they choose
what players will stay on the ice, a Bench Minor penalty will be assessed,
or; (2) The referee will have to pay attention to what players were on the
ice and what players came off the bench. Since this is somewhat difficult,
as the players tend to mix themselves up in front of the bench, option (1)
is usually the method that most referees will take.
last option to the referee if he does not wish to assess a penalty for
this infraction is to tell the Home Team that regardless of how long it
takes to get a full line of the Visiting Team on the ice, the Home Team
will still get the last change. However,
most referees will lose the respect of both teams if they take this route
so the ref will usually go with the Bench Minor penalty option.
REFEREES FOLLOW THIS RULE BY THE BOOK?
the most part referees will just send the players who are trying to make a
late change back to the bench. You
will often see a referee send players back two or three times throughout
the game before they approach the bench to give the team a warning.
Each team is entitled to one warning before being assessed a Bench
Minor penalty under this rule. This penalty is not anything serious like
an impact penalty (Checking from Behind, High Sticking, etc.), so referees
don’t like to call the bench minor penalty unless the coaches give them
no other choice.
forget that if the Home Team’s five seconds are up (when the referee’s
arm comes down) and they try to change, the referee will send these
players back as well. Both
teams must respect this rule if the game is to proceed with a smooth flow
and end within a reasonable time frame.
though it is up to the referee to enforce this rule, he will usually give
each team a few chances before assessing a penalty.
It is also up to the coaches to know and respect this rule.
Five-seconds gives the coach more than enough time to change players, so
they shouldn’t get mad at referees who are trying to minimize the amount
of time between stoppages of play. They
are only doing their job and the coaches must respect that.
Reducing the time between stoppages of play allows for a quicker
paced game and it makes it more exciting for both the players and the
OOPS! TOO MANY MEN
the Referee is paying attention to the line change procedure, and so is
the coach, it is not unheard of to see 6 players (6 players + 1 goalie) on
the ice immediately after the puck has been dropped to commence play.
This mistake has happened before and will happen again.
correct thing for the Referee to do is blow the whistle immediately after
he has realized that one team started play with too many men on the ice. This is not a penalty if the referee notices this infraction
within a few seconds of the resumption of play.
The referee simply blows the whistle, gets the coach of the team
with the extra player to remove one player and the face-off takes place
once again from the same location.
if the Referee does not notice that one of the teams has an extra player
on the ice, and play continues for a reasonable amount of time before an
official notices that one team has too many men on the ice, a penalty for
“Too Many Men” may be assessed to that team.
the referee will notice this incident immediately after the puck has been
dropped and will blow the whistle to remove the player. If the Referee
doesn’t notice this mistake then the coach usually does and he will yell
at one of his players to come off the ice without the play having to be
stopped and a penalty assessed.