Checking (ice hockey)
There are various types of checking:
- Body checking
- Using the body to knock an opponent against the boards or to the ice. This is often referred to as simply checking or hitting and is only permitted on an opponent with possession of the puck. Body checking can be penalized when performed recklessly. Charging, hitting from behind and boarding are examples of illegal hits, due to their dangerous nature and increased likelihood of causing serious injury. In women's ice hockey, any body checking is a penalty and is also usually not allowed in amateur leagues and leagues with young children. Some intramural university leagues do not permit bodychecking, in order to avoid injury and incidents of fighting. "Leaning" against opponents is an alternative to body checking but can be penalized for holding if abused.
- When a player drops to a near-crouching stance and swings his hips toward an opposing player, sending the opponent off balance, often falling to the ice. Mostly done up against the boards. A hit below the knees is considered an infraction in the National Hockey League, and called "clipping".
- The most common type of body-check, in which a player puts his shoulder into his opponent to muscle the opponent out of position. The elbow must be tucked in, or the player risks taking a penalty for elbowing.
- Poke checking
- Using the stick to poke the puck away from an opponent. Mostly done while the defensive player goes straight at the puck carrier and hitting the puck out of his possession before making physical contact.
- Sweep checking
- Using the stick in a sweeping motion to knock the puck away from opponents or deter them from passing.
- Stick checking
- Using the stick to interfere with an opponent's stick.
- Checking in the offensive zone, with the intention of gaining control of the puck and setting up a scoring opportunity.
- Rushing back to the defensive zone in response to an opposing team's attack. Players often try to 'rub up' behind the player with the puck to bother them. At the same time they try to hit the puck away with their stick.
- The act of checking an opponent with the shaft of the stick held in both hands and with arms extended. This is illegal and earns a minor or major penalty depending on the severity of the infraction.
- Lift checking
- A player lifts or knocks an opponent's stick upwards with his/her stick followed immediately by an attempt to steal the puck. This may also be used by a defenseman to keep an opposing player from deflecting shots when both players are positioned in front of the net.
- Press checking
- A type of stick check used to stop or control the movement of an opponent's stick by placing stick pressure over top of the opponent's stick.
New NHL standard of rule enforcement, 2005–2006
For the 2005–2006 season, the NHL instituted stricter enforcement of many checking violations that in previous seasons would not have been penalized. The intent of the new standard of enforcement was to fundamentally alter the way ice hockey is played, rewarding speed and agility over brute strength, as well as increasing opportunities for scoring and minimizing stoppage of play. However, it is unclear how expanding the definition of a penalty will minimize the stoppage of play, as penalty calls entail play stoppage. One explanation may be that more clearly defined rules gives players more distinct boundaries on penalties, resulting in fewer penalties. The intended result is a faster-paced game with generally higher scores than in previous years.
- ^ [NHL Rules Changes: Probing The Brave New Hockey World], http://proicehockey.about.com/cs/rules/a/04_rule_changes.htm
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