A Kid’s Guide to the Rules of Ice Hockey

Rules of Ice Hockey

Hey kids, how you are doing? If you are having difficulties understanding those nerdy rules of ice hockey, then it’s time to lighten up. We have come up with a simplified guide to the rules of ice hockey which will specifically cater to all the kids excited about this beautiful game.

So, without further wasting any more time, let’s jump right into our discussion.

Basics Rules of Ice Hockey

Where is Ice Hockey Played?

Ice hockey is played on an ice rink. Simply put, an ice rink is a frozen body of water that is skating-friendly. There is a thick centre line that divides the ice (consider it as a field) in two halves. You can also see two blue lines which divide the rink into three zones – attacking zone, defending zone, and central zone.

What is A Puck?

Unlike many other sports where a ball is used, in ice hockey, a puck is used. A puck is a round-shaped disc-like object. Usually, it is made of rubber.

How Many Players Can Play the Game at A Moment?

There are 10 players in each team, a total of 20. But at the moment, only 6 players can play for each team. Each team consists of three forwards, two defenders, and one goalie.

Playing Time

The duration of a game is a total of 60 minutes. The game is divided into three periods, each having a duration of 20 minutes. The team which will have the most number of goals will be declared the winner.

Overtime Period

If there comes a situation in which the game has to have a winner (a tie is not allowed), time must be extended by 5, 10, or 20 minutes.


When a referee drops the puck between two opposing players, it’s called face-off. A face-off takes place at the centre-ice face-off spot under the following situations.

  • At the start of each period
  • When a goal is scored
  • An error by a match official
  • If skaters from both teams freeze the puck along the boards near the centre red line


Both teams are given one minute thirty seconds timeout. Timeout is a halt (for a specified amount of time) in the game so that a coach can communicate with the players of the respective team – devise a strategy, for example.

Penalty Box

A penalty box, also known as the bad box, is a small area in ice hockey. When a player commits an offence that is not severe enough to get expelled from the game, he will be sent to the penalty box for a specified amount of time. When a player is sent to the penalty box, it gives the opposing team an advantage as the penalized team has to play with one less player. 


Players often commit different sorts of infractions. If a player commits any specified infractions, a penalty will be called for. There are several types of penalty in ice hockey. 

  • A minor penalty is a two-minute penalty assessed to any player/skater. For infractions such as hooking, tripping, roughing, elbowing, interference, delay of the game, kneeing, spearing, check from behind, slashing, a minor penalty will be assessed. 
  • A major penalty will be declared when any of the stronger infractions take place. A minor penalty’s duration is 5 minutes. For violations such as fighting, charging, hits to the head, hit from behind, etc., a skater/player will be sent to the penalty box for 5 minutes. 
  • A minor bench penalty is also a two-minute penalty assessed to the team as opposed to a minor penalty which is assessed to specific players. Any player of the team can serve it.
  • game-penalty results in expulsion from the game. If a player recklessly endangers an opponent, he will be immediately expelled from the game, and a teammate will also be sent to the penalty box for 5 minutes. More serious infractions such as head-butt and kicking result in a game penalty. 
  • game misconduct penalty is assessed when offences such as throwing objects from the bench, fighting, or leaving the penalty box. A player will be immediately ejected from the game. However, he can also be replaced. 

Penalty Shot

A penalty shot is rewarded when a player uses any illegal means to deny the opponent a reasonable scoring chance. Consider a player is running with the puck in his possession and he is about to shoot the puck toward the opponent’s goal. At that moment, a defender fouls him from behind, denying him a reasonable scoring opportunity. A penalty shot will be rewarded.


It’s similar to offside rules in football. When a team is attacking, the puck must cross the opponent’s blue line (defending zone) before any other player of the attacking team crosses it. If any other player crosses the blue line before the puck, it will be offside. A face-off will take place.

Final Words

So, kids, these are some of the most common rules of ice hockey. If you are considering playing ice hockey, you should be informed about these rules. Even if you don’t intend to play the game, but you like watching It, knowing these rules of the game will manifold your excitement.

And if you are a parent searching for a simple guide to ice hockey for your kids, hopefully, this will help your kid(s).


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