11 July 2008

Use of the stick in defensive hockey

I got in major trouble at my last hockey game. The opposing player was being extremely aggressive. I was taught that you should harass an attacking threat to make the player know that they can't just walk into your goal area. My primary tactic (I think, though it's hard to remember clearly) was to lift the player's stick even though the puck was nowhere nearby.

The main point is that this incident revealed my complete ignorance of the rules. So I did a little research on USA Hockey rules. I want to summarize what I learned here.
  • The first general guiding principle is that you should use the stick to play the puck or prevent another player from gaining possession of the puck.
  • The second general guiding principle is that you cannot use the stick to interfere with a player's motion.
  • Lifting the stick is always legal as long as you do not commit a high stick or commit interference by preventing the other player from moving. However, lifting the stick is only encouraged to prevent another player from getting the puck or taking the puck away. Those tactics are examples of good hockey. Lifting the stick to "annoy" the opponent is legal, but most people consider it poor taste. In fact, they may retaliate.
  • You are allowed to battle for position in front of the goal and in the corners. You can push and shove with your body. You can also use your stick to move people as long as you hold the stick close in tight to your body (e.g. the stick is so close to you, it's almost like part of your body.)
  • As expected, slashing the player's body is always illegal.
  • Slashing the upper part of a player's stick is always illegal.
  • Pressing down on a player's stick blade is legal only if it is done to prevent the player from playing the puck.
  • Basically, lifting the stick blade is almost always safe, so if you want to attack a player's stick, that is the best tactic to use.
  • Of course, poke checking is always legal, since by definition, you are trying to play the puck.
  • Hooking is illegal, but it's pretty obvious when you see it, so I don't feel like it's necessary to discuss it in detail.
Based on the guiding principles, I draw the following conclusions about faceoffs.
  • You can play the opponent's stick when you are personally taking the faceoff (e.g. hold their stick or lift it) since by definition you are fighting for puck possession.
  • You cannot tie up another player on the faceoff because that would impede their motion. Lifting the stick is legal if it does not impede their motion. It is probably in better taste if you lift the stick only when the puck is coming in your direction. (NOT EXACTLY SURE ABOUT THIS) I have this habit of always lifting the stick of my opposing winger on a faceoff because that is what I was taught.

No comments:

Post a Comment