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A Beginner’s Guide to ND Hockey

“Halloweek” is upon us, which means the Notre Dame hockey (Big 10 Defending Champs!) season has begun in full force. Hockey and football are neck-in-neck for my absolute favorite Notre Dame sporting events to attend. Between the Hockey Band, proximity to the ice, and strong Irish team, hockey is a great spectator sport. Unlike football, games never last longer than two hours, game day doesn’t leave you devoid of the ability to be productive, and tickets are free! Also, your chance of being on the big screen is way higher at a hockey game, just saying. I know hockey might not be as familiar a sport as football is, so I’ve compiled a list of the basic rules, penalties, and practices that I think are most fundamental to understanding the game. In addition, I’ve also included a quick rundown of which stellar Irish players to keep an eye on throughout the season.


How many players are on the ice at a time?

Each team has five players on the ice at a time, not including the goaltender (that makes six), except in the case of a power play or overtime, which I’ll get to in a moment.


How long does a hockey game last?

Hockey is played in three twenty-minute periods. Games typically last about two hours given breaks between periods and brief stoppages to clear the ice.


What is a power play?

When a player commits a penalty, they are typically sent to the penalty box for a set amount of time. The amount of time they spend in the box depends on the penalty and is often two minutes. Their team is not allowed to replace them, which leaves them shorthanded for the remainder of the penalty time. The team with more players on the ice is then on power play and the team with fewer players on the ice is said to be “on the penalty kill”. This is why the Band will shout “penalty kill” when we’re down a player. (There are some more details on ice hockey penalties here, if you’re interested.)



Some frequent penalties that result in penalty minutes are:

  • Hooking – when a player uses their stick to restrain their opponent

  • Slashing – basically, any aggressive stick contact not aimed at winning possession of the puck. severity of penalty depends on severity of the foul

  • Boarding – when someone pushes, trips, or checks an opponent into the boards in a dangerous manner, especially without intending to go for the puck. This is often called when players are slammed into the boards from behind rather than checked from the side


What is icing?

Icing is a frequent and sometimes unclear occurrence. Icing is called when the puck is played from behind the center red line and across the opposing team’s goal line (the other red line) without it being touched. The diagram below shows two scenarios. A is not icing, as the puck is released from past the half. B is icing. Icing results in a face off in the defending zone of the team who committed the infraction. However, icing is permitted during a power play for the team who is short-handed, or “on the penalty kill”. The team on power play (the team with more players on the ice) must still abide by this rule.



There have been some recent rule changes regarding overtime protocol and point awarding for OT games – you can find details here if you’re interested.


If you’re now feeling super thorough and invested, you can find the full rule book for college hockey here.


So… Are we any good at hockey?

Heck yeah, we’re good at hockey! Our ND boys are currently defending Big 10 Conference Champs! Our goaltender Cale Morris #32 is one particular standout; last year he was awarded the Mike Richter Award, was a Hobey Baker Finalist, Big 10 Player of the Year, Big 10 Goaltender of the Year, and Big 10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. So basically, he’s awesome. Some others to keep an eye on this season are our captain Andrew Peeke #22, Cal Burke #11, Cam Morrison #26, and many more because overall our team is quite a force on the ice.


See you in Compton next week; Go Irish Beat Ohio State!


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Reina Koran

Notre Dame '20

I'm a junior biochemistry major at the University of Notre Dame. I'm currently working on an undergraduate research project in molecular genetics and regeneration, which I'd love to continue studying in graduate school. Another very rewarding activity I participate in is college advising for high achieving low income high school students. Addtionally, I love playing soccer, which I do at the club level for my university, music, movies (quoting and watching them), and I like to draw.
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