types of penalties in Hockey

What Are The Types of Penalties in Hockey?

The penalty is one vital part of a hockey game and in other sports. Players commit infractions and go against the rules very often. This situation results in penalties in some cases. So, what are the types of penalties in hockey?

There are five significant penalties in a hockey game; minor, major, match, misconduct, and penalty shot. 

Different situations of the game lead to these types of penalties. This article will discuss the types of penalties and what results in them. 

What Is A Major Penalty in hockey?

At its most basic, a major penalty is one of the most serious types of penalty. It’s also usually given to a player who fights or commits a violent act. Most major penalties are given for something that injures another player. If you see a teammate get hurt or an opposing player make an aggressive move on the opponent, a major penalty is imminent. 

Major penalties are also given to players who commit equipment violations—that is, they destroy their gloves or skates after receiving warnings from the referee. 

What Violations Can Lead To A Major Penalty

A major penalty is five minutes of gameplay time and does not allow substitution. This means the team that commits a major penalty must play short-handed for five minutes. A player on the opposing team will head to the penalty box, but his designated substitute is not allowed to come onto the ice to play right away. 

Major penalties typically involve fighting or when a player performs an illegal body check against an opponent that causes injury, such as hitting him from behind or across the back. At the same time, he is in a defenceless position.

Major penalties also are assessed for other severe infractions like butt-ending (hitting with the sharpened end of a stick), checking from behind, cross-checking (hitting with both hands on a stick), elbowing (using an elbow), holding (grabbing a player’s sweater or stick), hooking (using a hockey stick to impede progress), kneeing (using your knees) and slashing (punching another player with a hockey stick).

Is There An Exception To The Punishment of a Major Penalty?

Special exceptions may occur if your team is leading by one goal, in which case you will use less than five minutes of your time at 5-on-4 hockey.

If you’ve been penalized, you’ll have to sit in the penalty box for five minutes. You’ll be out of the game for that whole time, and your entire team has to play with one less person until your time is up. 

What Is A Minor Penalty

When a player is sent to the penalty box, he has to serve 2 minutes—no more and no less. A minor penalty cannot be replaced with another player. If a player gets a minor penalty, he must sit out of the game for 2 minutes. 

Other players can still score and get penalties in the meantime. When the allotted time is up, any players who are still serving their penalties are released from the box, and they can return to play on their respective teams.

What Leads To A Minor Penalty?

Minor penalties are imposed for less severe infractions of the game rules, such as:

  • Holding or hooking an opponent
  • Interference with an opponent (including interference with the goalkeeper)
  • Tripping or kneeing an opponent

During a minor penalty, which lasts two minutes, the offending player must remain in the penalty box (or “sin bin”) near their team’s bench. 

The player can leave the penalty box only when his team regains possession of the puck. If he does so before that time, it is called “leaving the sin bin too early.” 

During this time, a team may not replace a player on the ice but may substitute another player in his place once play has resumed (on-the-fly) if they have fewer than three players on the ice. 

On the other hand, a major penalty cannot be ended on-the-fly; if one is assessed, then normal substitutions are allowed while it is being served.

What Is The Punishment For a Minor Penalty?

If you are given a minor penalty, you will be sent to the penalty box for two minutes. During this time, your team must play shorthanded. 

The opposing team has more players on the ice (called “being on a power play”), and there is now one less player on your team than theirs. 

You cannot leave the penalty box until those two minutes are up against unless your opponent scores a goal first. If they don’t score during that time, you can finish serving your penalty by returning to the ice.

What Is A Match Penalty

If you commit an incident deemed worthy of an automatic ejection, you receive a match penalty, which means you will be ejected from the game, and your team will be shorthanded for the remainder of the game. 

A match penalty is usually given for violence or abuse of officials. Match penalties can also carry subsequent discipline from the league.  

What Leads To Players Getting A Match Penalty?

If two players engage in a fistfight, both are ejected from the game without replacement. They may also be suspended from any further games depending on how severe their actions were.

Misconduct penalty

Minor penalties are two minutes long, and the player sits in the penalty box. A misconduct penalty is a 10-minute minor. This type of penalty is assessed to a player or coach for breaking a rule, but not one that deserves an ejection from the game. 

For example, if a player is angry over a call, he might swear at any official while going to the bench. This would result in a misconduct penalty. 

The player exits the ice, and another team member will serve his two-minute minor while he sits out for 10 minutes. While sitting out, he can be replaced by another skater, but his team must play shorthanded until his return.

What Is A Penalty shot?

Penalty shots are usually when a team commits an infraction that prevents their opponent from having a clear shot on goal (such as tripping) or removes their ability to score (such as holding). The rules governing penalties vary slightly between leagues, but when they do occur, they are very exciting because they give one player a chance to take control of the game 

Hockey Penalty and Time Chart

Penalty Classification Time
Boarding Minor 2 or 5 minutes
Charging Minor 2 minutes
Contact to the Head Minor 2 minutes
Cross-Checking Minor 2 or 5 minutes
Delay of Game Minor 2 minutes
Elbowing Minor 2 or 5 minutes
Slashing Minor 2 or 5 minutes
Roughing Minor 2 minutes
Obstruction Minor 2 minutes
High-Sticking Minor 2 minutes
Kneeing Minor 2 minutes
Holding Minor 2 minutes
Holding the Stick Minor 2 minutes
Interference Minor 2 minutes
Hooking Minor 2 minutes
Unsportsmanlike Conduct Minor 2 minutes
Tripping Minor 2 minutes
Butt-Ending Major 5 minutes
Checking from Behind Major 5 minutes
Fighting Major 5 minutes
Fight Instigator Major 2 minutes
Holding/Grasping the Facemask Major 5 minutes
Pushing-off of Opponent with Skate Major 5 minutes
Misconduct Major 10 minutes
Spearing Major 5 minutes


There is no better way to reduce the rate at which players go against the rules. That is why we have penalties in the first place. The minor, major, misconduct, and penalty shot ensure teams are on their best behaviour. 

I believe this article has given you knowledge about what the types of penalties are and how they come to play.

Found this post interesting? Please share it with your friends and families

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *