Table of Contents:
What Is Icing in Hockey? What Does Icing Mean in Hockey?
What is icing in hockey mean? [icing in hockey explained]
Icing happens when a player on the team’s side of the centerline of red shoots the puck throughout the ice before it passes over the goal line red at any time (other than the point of goal). It is not allowed when teams are on equal strength or participating in the power play.
If this happens, the game is stopped and the puck returns to the opposite side of the ice to play an exchange of faces in the offending zone of the opposing team.
Iced pucks are not considered to be:
- If the goalie is not allowed to leave the line to play with the puck, regardless of whether he did play the puck
- If there was an official rule the opposing player may be playing the puck even before they crossed that red goal line.
- An official can absolve the icing charge when he determines that it to be an attempt at passing.
What is the reason icing can be a problem? [icing rule in hockey]
The icing rule was enacted in the NHL to ensure that teams did not lose time even when leading late during the match, mainly when the score was close. This rule was created to prevent teams from “dumping” the puck into their opponent’s zone to make use of time or not play defense.
Before the rule was in place, teams who were within their defensive area for too long could freeze the puck to perform the line change and swap out exhausted players.
In 2005 the NHL changed the rules on icing to stipulate it is the case that five of those on ice of the team that was offending are required to remain in the arena during the face-off that follows. This led to fewer instances of icing since the penalties were too severe and outweighed the benefits.
Please note that the icing rules for hockey that are not professional differ by the league. Most leagues have a “no-touch” icing, in which icing is referred to, and play ceases once the puck is in the goal line regardless of whether an opponent gets it.
There are exceptions to the rule…
A possible exemption to these rules occurs when teams are shorthanded in power-play situations. The team with the shorter player is allowed to drop the puck without penalty for icing being considered.
It is also possible to waive off when the official determines that an opponent might be able to touch the puck before it reaches into the zone of play.
In the AHL and NHL, players on the opposing team, other than the goalie, have to touch the puck to trigger the suspension of play. If the puck is initially touched by the goalie or by a player from the team who iced the puck, the icing is brushed away (cancelled) while play resumes.
The icing rule can be found in three variants:
- Touch icing
- No-touch or automatic frosting
- Hybrid icing
What is hybrid icing/no-touch icing?
One of the most significant aspects of the process of icing is that it’s not automatic. The team who shot the puck on the ice could see the icing removed.
That means that if the team who shot the puck on the ice gets it to the puck before it has crossed the goal line, there won’t be any icing.
In the past, for the icing to be considered, the defensive player had to hold the puck once it was in the goal line before an opponent.
The result was a large number of defense players getting pulled with a lot of force from behind the rush for the puck to call the icing. This has led to a variety of severe injuries throughout the decades.
The NHL has adopted the hybrid icing rule or no-touch icing policy to stop injuries from these games but still keep these hockey races alive.
The policy is that the race will not be longer to the finish boards for players to get their hands on the puck; in fact, the competition will be towards the faceoff dots in the zone of defense.
If the player who is the defensive one can beat the potential icing player to the faceoff spot, officials will whistle to signal the icing. If the prospective icing player is ahead of the faceoff point, the official will allow play to continue.
The person touching the puck will decide whether it’s icing or not. If the player on defense gets it in contact, then it is icing. If, however, the team that shot the puck off the ice first touches it, then the game will continue.
How can players learn how to ice their pucks without icing?
As with every rule change, players are adept at adjusting to the new rules. Instead of icing the puck, the players have learned to do a small trick that gives them the advantage of icing without having to ice the puck.
The player is often seen flicking the puck up to the sky and then air. A puck that is thrown upwards is usually not going to possess enough power to go all the way down ice, and even past the goal line.
However, it should be effective enough to enable the team to be capable of clearing of the zone that is defensive and initiate an offensive line change.
This is icing but without the negative consequences of the process of icing!
Icing while killing a penalty!
There is a time in the game that the player can freeze the puck, without the game being stopped, for instance, in the penalty killing. Because of an injury or penalty, the shorthanded team (with more players) is given the option of icing the puck to help keep the other team from the power play.
A power play that does not have the capability to ice the puck is thought to be too big of a benefit. The rules permit players to freeze the puck to ensure that the scales aren’t tilted too far.
This allows the penalty takers to change more often and to have more fresh players on the skating rink.
Additionally, icing the penalty kill helps keep the game running. It is reasonable to believe that players might still be icing their pucks a lot even if they were playing shorthanded.
They may not change, but they will have a short time off. This could lead to many stops in the game, but it is the case that the NHL is always worried about maintaining the pace of play.
The red line is gaining.
The practice of icing will impact the way a hockey game is played. One of the main aspects to be aware of is players who attempt to move the puck upwards and over the red line in the center. This is referred to as taking that red line.
If a player can cross the red line, they can shoot their puck into the defense zone of the opponent.
The approach to getting the red line accomplishes two things:
After the puck has been shot into the zone, a team will now have time to alter their line without losing any scoring opportunities.
Or, the team may put the ball into the area to create an offensive forward check to score the goal.
This is why you will often see players trying their best to make it to the red line and take the puck to the area during a game. 
Conclusion About Icing in Hockey
In essence, icing takes place during hockey games when one player shoots their puck through the ice and crosses the red line of their opponent.
There is a slight exception to this rule that occurs in the case when one team has to miss an individual due to penalties. If that’s the scenario, the short team may ice the puck to stop the clock and prevent the other team from scoring their goal.
Before icing became a standard in the NHL, teams used to shoot pucks to their opponent’s goal line without a check, constantly striving to score the most exciting breakaway.
In the present, icing can help the game run more smoothly while making the game more fun to observe. In addition, the game can improve, but also the team is working to prevent the risk of injuries. This is important.
FAQs about Icing in Hockey:
What is power play?
A power play is when a team commits an offense and must take down the player.
What is a hat-trick?
A hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals in one game.
What is offside?
Hockey offsides occur when a player crosses that blue line in the zone of attack before the puck gets there.
If the puck is moved from the offensive zone to the neutral zone, which is located between the blue and red lines, it could be redirected back into the offensive zone before the team has cleared the zone.
But, all players must clear from the offensive zone to the neutral zone before the team is allowed to move the puck into an offensive zone.
What is a hockey puck made from?
A hockey puck is constructed from vulcanized rubber to create a solid object.
Can goalies freeze the puck?
Goalies can freeze the puck. If the goalie can shoot the puck to the other side of the ice, just like other players, it is still referred to as the act of icing.
Can a goalie wiggle off icing?
They cannot ward off the possibility of icing, but they could prevent icing by heading out to play a ball. The goalie’s move to play the puck or even touch the puck just before crossing the goal line will eliminate the icing.
What happens when a player from the opposing team gets in touch with the puck?
If a player of the opposing team gets in contact with or touches the puck before reaching the goal line, the icing will be removed, and play will resume.
It is usually observed when the puck is shot from the defensive zone, and it bounces off a player from the opposing team but can go all the way down the surface. There is no need for icing in this instance, and the game continues.
Ice in recreational leagues
In most recreational leagues, the icing process will be initiated automatically whenever the puck is over the goal line.