Some of my favorite hockey rules and a bit of Hockey Etiquette 101. Quoted sections appear in the 2012-2013 AHL Official Rules Book.
Rule 13 – Puck
13.1 Dimensions – The puck shall be made of vulcanized rubber, or other approved material, one inch (1”) thick and three inches (3”) in diameter and shall weigh between five and one-half ounces (5 1/2” oz.) and six ounces (6 oz.).
13.3 Illegal Puck – If at any time while play is in progress, a puck other than the one legally in play shall appear on the playing surface, the play shall not be stopped but shall continue with the legal puck until the play then in progress is completed by change of possession.
We saw this in action last year when a fan tossed a puck back onto the ice while the game was in progress. Dylan Yeo was bringing the puck up ice and Lo and Behold another puck suddenly appeared nearby! The nearest Referee quickly scooped it up and pocketed it, but for a time, the entire arena held their breath waiting to see if mass confusion would ensue.
Hockey Etiquette 101
Here’s the rule that the AHL official rules will not disclose: If a vulcanized puck [see 13.1 above] goes over the glass and hits you upside the head, YOU OWN IT. You get the keep that puck that hits you, or hits your friend, or destroys the drink in your hand, thereby splashing hot cocoa, beer, liquor all over you and your best friends and the people in front of you. YOU KEEP IT!
This is NOT Chuck-A-Puck!
Pocket that puck, gloat over it, tell your friends about the great hockey game where you were hit in the head, and revel in it! But whatever you do, do NOT toss it back onto the ice.
Adjustment to Clothing or Equipment
Rule 14 – Adjustment to Clothing or Equipment
14.1 Adjustment to Clothing or Equipment – Play shall not be stopped nor the game delayed by reasons of adjustments to clothing, equipment, skates or sticks.
The onus of maintaining clothing and equipment in proper condition shall be upon the player. If adjustments are required, the player shall leave the ice and play shall continue with a substitute. No delay shall be permitted for the repair or adjustment of goalkeeper’s equipment. If adjustments are required, the goalkeeper shall leave the ice and his place shall be taken by the substitute goalkeeper immediately.
This is precisely why I love hockey. The game is incredibly fast and as long as the puck is in play, the game continues regardless of equipment issues! A player can lose his shorts on the ice and the game continues. A player can lose a skate blade and the game continues. A player can lose his stick and the game still continues. The game is so fast that there is no time to dilly-dally with this minor stuff. They just keep playing sans shorts or they get off the ice!
Is this a great game, or what!?
Sadly, I have never witnessed any shorts falling off, but I have certainly seen almost every other sort of equipment lost, tossed, crushed, broken, fly into the audience, or slide through the zamboni doors. There have been a few occasions when a team had their pants beaten off of them, but that is another matter entirely.
Hockey Etiquette 101
You get to keep a puck, but what about other equipment flying into the audience? A stick, a helmet, even a player? No. Sadly, all of those items MUST be returned to sender. I know. It doesn’t make any sense, but that’s the unwritten rule. Just when you have possession of said item, and are feeling very proud of your new plundered piece of equipment, a team staff member darts down and demands it back. Give it up gracefully. Sometimes they even give you a puck in return, just for being a good sport about it all. Win some, lose some.
Disclosure: In all fairness there is an exception to the above rule when a goaltender loses his mask. It is far more dangerous for a goaltender and well, they only have two of them on a roster at any given time. You do the math.
9.5 Protective Equipment [….]
When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has possession of the puck, the play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask. When the opposing team has possession of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity. This stoppage of play must be made by the Referee. When play is stopped because the goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask, the ensuing face-off shall take place at one of the defending team’s end zone face-off spots.