1 – Competition Standards
2 – The Rink
3 – Teams and Players
4 – Skaters’ Equipment
5 – Playing Rules / General
6 – Playing Rules / Stoppages of Play
7 – Playing Rules / Player Changes
8 – Playing Rules / Goals
9 – Game Penalties / Duration and Situations
10 – Description of Game Penalties
11 – Penalty Shots and Awarded Goals
12 – Rules specific to Goaltenders
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2014-2018 IIHF Rule Book
Section 1 - Competition Standards
Standards of play ensure fairness of competition at all levels. These rules recognize the need for a level playing field and the responsibility of member national associations, players, and officials to adhere to these standards.
Section 2 - The Rink
Ice hockey is played on an enclosed sheet of ice with markings specific to the rules of play. The rink must be made fair and safe for players and set up in a way which also considers spectator safety to be of paramount importance. The only markings allowed on any and all parts of the rink are those outlined in these rules or in the IIHF’s Marketing Regulations. For arena guidelines and facility requirements, see relevant manuals.
Section 3 - Teams and Players
A hockey game is contested between two teams which play under the direction of on-ice officials. For consistency, all references in this rule book are in the masculine (he), but all rules apply equally to women’s hockey except where noted.
Section 4 - Skaters' Equipment
Skaters' equipment consists of sticks, skates, protective equipment, and uniforms. All protective equipment, except gloves, helmets, and skates must be worn entirely underneath the uniform. Equipment must conform to safety standards and be used only to protect skaters, not to enhance or improve playing ability or to cause injury to an opponent. Full equipment, including helmets, must be worn properly during the pre-game warmup.
Section 5 - Playing Rules / General
Rules form the very basis for playing a hockey game and must be respected and adhered to at all times. Although every effort has been made to outline all infractions on ice, on-ice officials have the right to assess penalties for other violations which they deem contrary to the spirit of fair play and the integrity of the sport in accordance with this rule book, but which are not set out in the rules below.
Section 6 - Playing Rules / Stoppages of Play
Game action begins once the puck is faced off by an on-ice official. It is stopped by a whistle from an on-ice official because of a violation of one of the rules set out below or by an event which prevents play from continuing (puck out of play, puck frozen, etc.)
Section 7 - Playing Rules / Player Changes
Players can be changed during a game in two ways: during a stoppage of play and during game action. In either case, specific rules apply as to how these changes may be carried out and under what circumstances they may not be carried out.
Section 8 - Playing Rules / Goals
Specific rules apply for how goals can be scored and under what circumstances they can be disallowed.
Section 9 - Game Penalties / Duration and Situations
Game penalties are assessed at the discretion of the on-ice officials. For all infractions related to goaltenders, see Section 12 - Rules specific to Goaltenders.
Section 10 - Description of Game Penalties
These are definitions, explanations, and interpretations of fouls during a game (which constitutes 60 minutes of regulation time, overtime, penalty-shot shootout, and the time immediately after the end of the game when players leave the ice and go to their respective dressing rooms).
Section 11 - Penalty Shots and Awarded Goals
In situations where a member of the defending team uses illegal means to deny an opponent a reasonable scoring chance, with the goaltender on the ice, the referee has the option to award the opponent a penalty shot. In situations where a member of the defending team uses illegal means to deny an opponent a reasonable scoring chance, with the goaltender off the ice, the referee has the option to award the opponent a goal. The intention of these rules is to restore a reasonable scoring opportunity which was mitigated by a foul from behind by an opponent or by a clear breach of rules which would otherwise have resulted in a reasonable scoring opportunity or a goal.
Section 12 - Rules specific to Goaltenders
This section includes all rules and regulations which pertain to goaltenders. Any reference to "goaltender" refers equally to "backup goaltender".