What Is Icing in Hockey?

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Ice hockey is a fast and thrilling sport, and players, referees, and fans would all prefer that it stay that way. So there are some rules and regulations that ensure consistent gameplay, so as to keep the action in constant motion (basically the opposite of football!) For a new fan, however, some of the rules can seem a little confusing. So let's take a look at one of the rules that ​ensure continuous gameplay.

What Is Icing?

The definition of icing is when a player shoots the puck to the end of the ice from behind the center ice red line.

If the puck crosses the opposing goal line untouched and is then retrieved by an opposing player, icing is called.

Considered a delaying tactic, it results in a stoppage in play and a faceoff in the offending team's defensive zone.

If in the opinion of the linesman any player of the opposing team is able to play the puck before it passes his goal line but does not do so, the linesman can "wave off" icing, allowing play to continue.

The purpose of the rule is to encourage continuous action. Referees and Linesmen interpret and apply the rule to produce that result.