Rules

The Olympic Winter Games are officiated according to IIHF Rule Book. The North American ice size will be used for the Olympic Ice Hockey Tournaments (as both Olympic venues in Vancouver are of North American ice size).

The Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament will be officiated according to the four-man system.

The IIHF Rule Book (PDFs):

Table of Contents

Sections 1-4

Section 5

Annexes & Signals


Find below more information about the ice size, rule differences between the IIHF Rule Book and the NHL Rule Book, and links to other documents.

Rink Size Comparison

The following graphic outlines the differences between the regular IIHF rink and the NHL rinks.

IIHF-NHL Rule Differences

Here's a list of the major differences between the IIHF Rule Book and the NHL Rule Book apart from the ice rink (see above).

RULE

IIHF

 

NHL

 

 

Players Dressed

A maximum of 20 players and 2 goalkeepers can be dressed and on the Game Sheet

A maximum of 18 players and 2 goalkeepers can be dressed and on the Game Sheet

 

 

Icing the Puck

Icing is called automatically as soon as the puck crosses the goal line

Touch icing is called as soon as a player of the non-offending team touches the puck first once it has crossed the goal line

 

 

No such ruling

An attempted pass that has been deemed receivable by a Linesman can be waived off to prevent icing

 

 

Face-offs

The attacking team player must put their stick on the ice first for any face-off in the attacking half of the ice

The visiting team player must put their stick on the ice first for any face-off

 

 

Goalkeeper Restricted Area Back of Net

No such ruling

If a goalkeeper who plays the puck outside of the trapezoid lines located back of the goal net is assessed a minor penalty

 

 

High Sticking the Puck

The ensuing face-off will be held at the nearest spot where the foul was committed regardless of team strength at the time of the foul

The ensuing face-off will be held at the nearest spot where the foul was committed. If the foul was committed by the team of greater strength, the face off shall be conducted in their own end zone

 

 

Offside

On a delayed offside, any shot on goal will bring about a stoppage

On a delayed offside, any shot on goal will not bring about a stoppage

 

 

Change of Players

Each team is allowed 5 seconds to change their players following a stoppage throughout the entire game

The visiting team is allowed 5 seconds to change and the home team is allowed 8 seconds to change players following a stoppage. This ruling does not apply in overtime or in the last 2 minutes of regulation time

 

 

Protective Equipment

The first violation of any equipment by any player after a warning to a team by the Referee will result in a misconduct penalty being assessed to the player

A second violation of the same player who was previously warned for his equipment by the Referee will result in a minor penalty being assessed to that player

 

 

Helmet

A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play and who does not put the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened and continues to play without a helmet shall be assessed a minor penalty

A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play is permitted to continue to play without a helmet

 

 

A player must wear a helmet in both the pre-game warm-up and in the game

A player may participate without a helmet in the pre-game warm-up

 

 

Visors

Players born after December 31, 1974 must wear a visor

Visors are not compulsory

 

 

Tinted visors are not permitted

Tinted visors are permitted

 

 

Goalkeeper Stick

No such ruling

A minimum ½” knob of tape or protective covering must be at the top of the shaft

 

 

Stick Measurement

Only one measurement for one team per stoppage is allowed

Only one measurement per team per stoppage is allowed

 

 

Time-Outs

Both teams may request team time-outs during the same stoppage

Only one team may request a team time-out during a stoppage

 

 

Kicking the Puck

A goal is only allowed if the kicked puck deflects off of a stick of an attacking player and goes into the net

A goal is only allowed if the kicked puck deflects off of any stick except the goalkeeper stick and goes into the net

 

 

Penalty Shot

Any player from the team fouled can take the penalty shot

The player fouled must take the penalty shot

 

 

A player must have control of the puck for the team to be awarded a Penalty Shot

A player must be in control or could have obtained control of the puck to be awarded a Penalty Shot

 

 

Protection of Goalkeeper

The play is stopped if an attacking player stands in the goal crease

No such rule

 

 

Penalties

No such ruling

In the last 5 minutes or in overtime differential then play 3 minutes or 1 minute shorthanded

 

 

Checking to the Head

A minor penalty plus a 10 minute Misconduct, or a 5 minute major plus an automatic Game Misconduct or a Match penalty

No such ruling but called as related penalty

 

 

Checking from Behind

A minor penalty plus a 10 minute Misconduct, or a 5 minute major plus an automatic Game Misconduct or a Match penalty

No Minor penalty options only a 5 minute major plus a Game Misconduct or a Match penalty

 

 

Fighting

A 5 minute major for roughing plus an Automatic Game Misconduct or a Match penalty

A 5 minute major penalty but player remains in the game

 

 

Referee may order players to their benches

Players must go to their benches

 

 

No such ruling

A Game Misconduct if the jersey is not “tied down”

 

 

Goalkeeper Penalty

Any player on the ice at the stoppage of play following the foul is to serve the penalty

Any player on the ice at the time when the foul was committed is to serve the penalty

 

 

Major Penalty

The replacement player must be in the Penalty Box immediately

The replacement player must be in the Penalty Box before the penalty is terminated

 

 

Physical Abuse of Officials

A player is assessed a Match and the Disciplinary Panel decides the length of suspension

A player is assessed a Game Misconduct. and officials decide on the category

 

 

Slew Footing

A minor penalty, or a 5 minute major plus an automatic Game Misconduct or a Match penalty, all called under the tripping rule

A Match penalty

 

Further information

Click here for further information on officiating including:

  • Officials Procedure Manual
  • Four-Man Officiating Procedures
  • Video Goal Judge System
  • Goalkeeper Equipment Measurements
  • Goal Break Procedure
  • Frozen Game Puck Regulation
  • Snow Clearing Service
  • Rules Bulletin
  • Game Officials Handbook
  • Off-Ice Officials Handbook
  • 2006-2010 IIHF Case Book

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