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“No control without possession”: a curiosity of the IIHF rules

“No control without possession”: a curiosity of the IIHF rules

Every couple of years review the rulebook from cover to cover – you’ll often find surprising changes, but also renewals of rules that have been around for a long time.

In recent years, the IIHF rulebook has become clearer and many NHL rules have been adopted, sometimes literally. However, we are still a long way from football, where the rule book applies worldwide – leagues like ICE still like to deal with an additional case book that goes beyond or supplements some of the IIHF rules.

When not, international rules apply and they have some goodies in store. No, first-Expert Bernd Freimüller presents some special features of the IIHF rulebook:

33.2 “Goals and assists”

In ice hockey there is a special feature of the “goal awarded”, that is, when a foul is committed on a player before he finishes the goal left by the goalkeeper. The puck never crosses the line, but the target is still set. So far, so good, but I would have missed the fact that referees can also hand out assists.

38.10 “Coach Challenge”

In international ice hockey, this is only allowed in the World Cup A Finals, unlike the ICE Championship, where coaches can contest all goals with almost complete safety. In both cases, there are options to resume a ‘missed stop’, i.e. not blowing the whistle before the goal (but only in the attacking third).

This includes high stick assists, hand passes or pucks that bounce off the back net. The rule still leaves an open loophole that could include other unspecified rule violations, but certainly not “too many players on the ice.”

An event like what happened years ago in an EBEL game, when people at the Ebensee command center were wondering why six players were allowed to celebrate a goal (the goalkeeper was also on the ice), could not be corrected by TV evidence.

44.1 “Shot”

Cutting is a rare attack and therefore completely unknown to fans and media. It is about low checks at or below knee height, that is, when a player reduces himself in order to dangerously check the opponent.

So far, so good, which is questionable to me but add: “A player may not make himself smaller along the boards to avoid body checking and thus injuring players who fall on top of him.”

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This means that, for example, if a player sees Mike Halmo or Sam Antonich flying at him Superman style, then they turn away and the opponent crashes straight into the boards, he is the one in the game, not the aggressor.

48 “Check the head or neck”

It is also interesting how the penalty range is changing: for years, a head scan meant at least 2 + 10 minutes (in EBEL 2 + 2), and now 2 minutes can be enough again.

Conversely, if you’re wondering why “back checks” (Rule 43), which were often whistled in the past, aren’t penalized or turned into frisks or perimeter checks, just take a look at the rule book – there’s no There are no small penalties, only 5+ playing time. Referees often don’t want to go that far.

An example of changing the level of penalty is obstruction (Rule 56): previously there were only small penalties, now large penalties can also be imposed and this happens relatively often.

Also just briefly in the rule book: Mandatory match penalties for goalies who hit an opponent in the bag with a blocker (under Rule 51 “Roughing”): This is an optional provision today.



53 “Throwing Equipment”

A situation I wouldn’t wish on any referee: a player from the home team experiences a breakaway, a can thrown from the crowd knocks him out of the game, he loses the puck. The referee must award a penalty kick here, even if there is not a single fan in the entire hall.

60.1 “High adhesion”

Commentators and pundits always say this parrot-like phrase: “A player is responsible for his stick.” There is something similar written in the rule book, where it also talks about controlling the racket.

Only: The player drives towards the block, and the opponent from behind violently kicks the two blocks away. Upon falling, the player at fault grabs the offender’s stick (unintentionally, of course) in the face. Do they both really have to go? Maybe just with the referee walking around with the rule book under his arm…

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63.4 “Delay whistle”

From last year’s home international: Mario Fischer joined the attack, but slipped and shot over the opposing goalkeeper and the goal. Referee Stefan Hronski did not interrupt the match because the opponent had a fast break – that’s what this rule says.

Hronski went to great lengths just by allowing the game to drag on for so long, that the team replaced the goalkeeper with a sixth field player, and no goals could be conceded due to the delayed goal. Not taking any advantage away from a team is one thing, but giving them an extra advantage is overkill.

Also from Vienna from a youth match: KAC in the attacking third, Vienna’s goal (obviously) jumping off its anchor. Instead of interrupting the match, the referee (who will remain anonymous) allowed the match to continue and wanted to put the box back in place himself while the match was in progress.

Meanwhile, KAC continued to press and also shot at goal – just as the referee was holding the box in his hands (away from where it was already installed) in the middle of the clean-up. Of course he had to disallow the goal.

63.6 “Late Game” and 74 “Too Many Players on Ice”

Be careful of referees who stay on too long: the last two minutes of the match meant some rule changes. Intentionally moving the goal or intentionally having too many players on the ice automatically resulted in a penalty kick being awarded instead of a penalty kick.

This can also happen earlier in the day, that is, if these second minutes can no longer be completed in full. If a team is playing three-on-five skaters with four minutes remaining due to two big penalties, this situation will occur. This always applies in overtime anyway.

85.4 “Pok hits the referee”

Basically: If the puck goes directly into the goal from the referee or linesman, the goal is disallowed (Rule 78.5). However: Templates apply through references, and this happens from time to time.

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This can lead to a situation where the puck bounces toward the goal from the referee and is poked over the goal line from close range. The referee goes to the screen and has to indicate whether the puck he cleared was actually in the goal (“No Goal”) or was introduced while it was still on the line (“Goal”).

No referee wants a scene like that, but he has to face it. At the beginning of Seitz’s reign, the referee provided an assist for a goal, but did not recognize the goal. His first division career was soon over…

“…but he cannot control without possession.”

Even the explanation of terms at the end of the rulebook offers some tidbits. This is also the only area where the term “blind side hit(d)” is used.

There is no basic penalty for these checks, which is difficult for the offending player to predict. Sanctions for the “blind strikes” so often requested by commentators should be directed at the salt office; This is at best an explanation of the types of “charging” or “checks against the head”.

My favorite phrase in the entire rulebook can also be found in the explanations: “Possession” and “control” are important terms when it comes to late checks or offsides in particular. Especially in the NHL, you can read some great discussions about late offsides and whether a player has possession and control of the puck.

Here’s the great sentence copied from the NHL to the IIHF rule book: “A player can have possession of the puck without having control of it, but he cannot have control without having possession of it.” It’s nice that even the dry rule book has room for Dada…



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