is covering the puck a penalty 3
is covering the puck a penalty 3

Hey everyone! Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of hockey penalties. Have you ever wondered if covering the puck is against the rules? Well, in this article, we’ll go straight to the source and find out what the official rules have to say about this particular move. So, let’s lace up our skates and get ready to unravel the mystery of whether or not covering the puck is a penalty in the exciting game of hockey!

What is Covering the Puck?

Covering the puck is a term used in ice hockey to describe the action of a goaltender intentionally stopping the puck and holding it against their body or covering it with their glove. This move allows the goaltender to stop play and prevent opponents from gaining possession of the puck. While it may seem like a straightforward action, there are various rules and regulations surrounding covering the puck, as well as potential penalties for violating those rules.

Covering the Puck Rules in Ice Hockey

National Hockey League (NHL)

In the National Hockey League (NHL), there are specific rules pertaining to covering the puck. According to NHL Rule 63.2, a goaltender is prohibited from freezing the puck intentionally to cause a stoppage of play, unless they are being checked by an opponent. If the referee deems that the goalie has intentionally frozen the puck without any pressure from the opposition, a minor penalty for delay of game can be assessed.

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) also has rules in place regarding covering the puck. In IIHF Rule 139, it states that a goalie shall not intentionally hold the puck in any manner that causes a stoppage of play if there is no immediate pressure from the opposing team. Similar to the NHL, this act can result in a minor penalty for delay of game.

Is Covering The Puck A Penalty?

This image is property of

Penalty for Covering the Puck

NHL Rule

In the NHL, if a goaltender is found to have deliberately covered the puck without any pressure from the opponent, a minor penalty for delay of game will be assessed. This penalty can greatly impact the game, as it not only awards the opposing team a power play but also allows them to gain significant momentum.


In the IIHF, the penalty for intentionally covering the puck without immediate pressure from the opposition is also a minor penalty for delay of game. This penalty serves as a deterrent for goalies who may attempt to manipulate the game by stopping play unnecessarily.

Controversies and Interpretations


Despite the clear rules in both the NHL and IIHF regarding covering the puck, there have been instances where players have exploited loopholes in order to gain an advantage. Some goaltenders have been known to intentionally freeze the puck for a split second while under pressure, leading to a stoppage of play. This tactic allows their team to regroup and potentially disrupt the opposing team’s momentum.

Disagreements among Referees

The interpretation of covering the puck can sometimes vary among referees, leading to disagreements on the ice. Some officials may be more lenient and allow goaltenders to get away with momentarily holding the puck, while others may strictly enforce the rules. These discrepancies in enforcement can create frustration for teams, players, and fans alike.

Is Covering The Puck A Penalty?

This image is property of

Effect on Gameplay

Advantages and Disadvantages

Covering the puck can have both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation. From the goaltender’s perspective, covering the puck allows them to gain control, stop play, and prevent any immediate scoring opportunities from the opposing team. It can also buy time for the defense to reset and make necessary adjustments.

However, covering the puck too often or intentionally without immediate pressure from the opposition can lead to penalties, giving the other team a power play and putting the goaltender’s team at a disadvantage. It can disrupt the flow of the game and prevent fast-paced action, potentially frustrating players and fans who prefer a more dynamic style of play.


For goaltenders and teams, the decision to cover the puck is a strategic one. In certain situations, it may be more advantageous to cover the puck and stop play, especially if the opponent is mounting a strong offensive attack. This allows the goalie to regroup and gives the team an opportunity to regain control.

However, it is important for goaltenders to be mindful of the rules surrounding covering the puck and to avoid any deliberate attempts to manipulate the game. By understanding the regulations and using their judgment judiciously, goaltenders can effectively use covering the puck as part of their overall strategy.

Historical Perspective


The concept of covering the puck has been an integral part of ice hockey since the early days of the sport. As the game evolved, so did the rules and regulations surrounding this action. Initially, there were no specific rules in place regarding covering the puck, but as the sport became more organized, governing bodies began implementing penalties for intentional delays of play.

Changes over Time

Over the years, the rules regarding covering the puck have undergone certain modifications to maintain the integrity of the game. These changes have been influenced by advancements in equipment, player safety concerns, and the desire to create a more fast-paced and exciting experience for players and fans.

Is Covering The Puck A Penalty?

This image is property of

Covered Puck Incidents

Famous Examples

Throughout the history of ice hockey, there have been several notable incidents involving covering the puck. One memorable example occurred during the 1980 Winter Olympics, when the United States faced off against the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice” game. In a pivotal moment, the American goaltender, Jim Craig, intentionally covered the puck to prevent a goal, leading to a stoppage in play and allowing his team to regroup.

Impact on Game Outcome

Incidents involving covering the puck can have a significant impact on the outcome of a game. Depending on the timing and context, a goalie’s decision to cover the puck or the subsequent penalties assessed can shift momentum and determine the course of the game. These incidents often spark debates among fans and experts, further highlighting the importance of clear rules and consistent enforcement.

Player Safety Concerns

Risk of Injury

Covering the puck, when done improperly or in dangerous situations, can pose a risk to the safety of players. In moments of high intensity and physicality, players may dive or lunge towards the goalie in an attempt to gain possession of the puck. This can lead to collisions or puck-battles near the goaltender, potentially resulting in injuries to the players involved.

Preventing Dangerous Situations

To mitigate the risk of injuries, it is crucial for players to exercise caution and for referees to enforce the rules consistently. Establishing clear guidelines regarding covering the puck can help minimize dangerous situations near the goaltender. Additionally, educating players on proper techniques and fostering a culture of respect for the safety of all participants can contribute to a safer playing environment.

Is Covering The Puck A Penalty?

This image is property of

Possible Rule Changes

Proposed Modifications

As with any aspect of the game, there have been discussions and proposals for potential rule changes surrounding covering the puck. Some have suggested stricter enforcement of the existing rules to discourage goalies from intentionally stopping play unnecessarily. Others have proposed the introduction of additional penalties for repeated infractions or more severe consequences for deliberate attempts to manipulate the game.

Impact on the Game

Any potential rule changes regarding covering the puck would have a profound impact on the game of ice hockey. Stricter enforcement may lead to more penalties being assessed, potentially slowing down the pace of play. On the other hand, introducing new rules or modifying existing ones could result in a more dynamic and fluid game, emphasizing skill and speed over manipulation.


In conclusion, covering the puck is a crucial aspect of ice hockey, allowing goaltenders to stop play and prevent opponents from gaining possession. However, there are specific rules and regulations in place to govern this action, with penalties for intentional delays of play. While controversies and varying interpretations may arise, it is essential to prioritize player safety and maintain a fair and consistent approach in enforcing the rules. By understanding the implications, advantages, and disadvantages of covering the puck, players, coaches, and fans can appreciate the strategic aspects of the game and the importance of maintaining a balance between skill, strategy, and fair play.

Is Covering The Puck A Penalty?

This image is property of

Previous articleShould You Spray Your Dartboard With Water?
Next articleWhy Is Table Tennis Called Ping-pong?
Richard Nelson
Hello! My name is Richard Nelson and I am thrilled to be sharing my passion for Air Hockey Table tips with you on the website As an avid air hockey enthusiast and player, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience in this exhilarating game. Throughout my journey in the world of air hockey, I have been fortunate enough to achieve multiple awards and prizes. These achievements have not only solidified my credibility in the industry but also motivated me to share my expertise with fellow enthusiasts like yourself.