The Playing Surface
The game is played on a sheet of ice (the rink), which usually measures 100 feet wide by 200 feet long.
The ice is enclosed by a wall (the boards) and is divided in two halves by a red line across the center of the
ice. Additionally, the rink is divided into two thirds by blue lines, forming two end zones and one neutral
zone. In each end zone, there is a goal cage and a red goal line, which runs the width of the rink. There are
also nine face-off spots, four in each half of the rink and one in the middle.
Each team may have six players on the ice at one time -- three forwards, two defensemen and one
goaltender. In addition to the players on the ice, each team keeps extra players on the bench to use as
substitutes when on-ice players get tired, penalized or injured.
All youth players wear protective helmets with face shields (made of Plexiglas or reinforced wire), gloves
and plenty of padding to help protect their shoulders, ribs, chest, hips, groin and lower back. The goalie's
padding is heavier than that of other players and includes extra-thick shin pads. The goalie also wears a
face guard that is attached to his or her helmet and has a catching glove and a blocker for use in handling
and deflecting the puck.
Deflecting the Puck
Many people think that deflections are mere luck. Actually, players practice deflections by standing off to
the side or in front of the net and deflecting shots from that position to another area of the goal. Seldom
does a goaltender have sufficient time to react to a deflection since the puck suddenly changes direction off
an opposing player's stick.
Kicking the Puck
A puck cannot intentionally be kicked in and still count as a goal. However, a puck can be deflected off a
skate or a player's body and still count as a goal if no attempt was made to deliberately throw or kick it in.
Offside and Offside Passes
A team is offside when any attacking player crosses the blue line before the puck. The puck must always
cross the blue line before an attacking player may legally enter the offensive zone. All players from the
attacking team must have skate contact with the neutral zone at the instant the puck crosses the blue line.
An offside pass occurs when a member of the attacking team passes the puck from behind his or her own
blue line to a teammate who is beyond or across the center red line.
Icing occurs when a player shoots the puck from within his or her own zone across the opponent's goal
line. Icing is nullified if: (1) the team shooting the puck is shorthanded; (2) a player from the defending
team could have played the puck before it crossed the goal line; or (3) a player from the icing team plays
the puck before it crosses the goal line.
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