It’s no secret that I am not well versed in all things hockey. It took me three years to understand icing and offside calls. For the longest time, if I had to ask what the referee was calling, it was offside. This worked really well until this year when I had to teach Boy #2 was offside was in preparation for his first game with his third year IP team. Sigh. We figured it out. However, penalties still escape me a little. I learned this during playoffs. Apparently parents and their players aren’t the only ones that take playoffs seriously, so do the referees.
Turns out that playoffs are a recipe for penalty minutes. So are tournaments, for that matter.
I figured if I’m going to brush up on penalty calls, I may as well share what I learned with you fine folks.
For the sake of simplicity, I kept it to the five common penalty calls I saw over our two years at the novice level. All the penalties below are minor penalties according to the hockey rules. I’ve only ever seen a two minute penalty handed out once, maybe twice. Typically, the penalties are one minute in length and that is long enough, thank you very much. They definitely feel longer.
- Tripping: The hand signal for this one is the referee slashing his right hand across his right shin. At the novice level, you typically know when this one is going to get called because it’s often preceded by someone’s skates going up over their heads while they fall. Either that or you see the stick actually tripping the player.
- Holding: If you see the referee holding his wrist with the opposite hand during a penalty call, it’s holding. Again, this one is usually fairly obvious. The thing is, at this level, kids aren’t doing this intentionally, so there is no attempt at subtlety.
- High-sticking: Definitely one of the less common ones in second year novice players, but it happens. Much like the action itself, the ref calls this by holding both fists clenched together, one on top of the other, at forehead height.
- Hooking: Think tripping but higher. The hand signal is different, the referee makes a series of tugging motions with both arms, as if he was grabbing someone with the great big hook you see pull performers off a stage.
- Slashing: This is the penalty I often think of when I see the ref signal tripping. The difference is where the motion happens. While tripping is across the shin, the signal for slashing is across the arm.
So there you have it, five of the more common referee calls that signal penalty minutes. At some point, I have to figure I have the game figured out. Right?
Of course, by then, one of the boys will have decided to play goalie, or will pick up a new sport and I’ll be starting at square one. At least I won’t ever be bored.
See you at the rink.