By Dave Zednik, IHOA Registrar
QUESTION: An offensive player in possession of the puck is racing to the net with a defender trailing him. The offensive player makes a hard cut across the front of the goal immediately in front of the crease. The offensive player loses his edge (due to no action by the defensive player) and slides hard into the goalkeeper dislodging the goal (he did not get a shot off). Should a penalty for interference be called for an unavoidable collision with the goalkeeper?
ANSWER: Rule 607(c) & (d) in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“(c) A minor plus a misconduct or a major plus a game misconduct penalty shall be assessed to a player who body checks or charges a goalkeeper while the goalkeeper is within his goal crease or privileged area.
(d) A goalkeeper is NOT “fair game” because he is outside his privileged area. A penalty for interference or charging should be called in every case where an opposing player makes unnecessary contact with a goalkeeper. Likewise, Referees should be alert to penalize goalkeepers for any infractions they commit in the vicinity of the goal.
(Note 1) For the purpose of this rule, any accidental or unavoidable contact that occurs with the goalkeeper shall be penalized under the Interference rule. Any deliberate body contact or check that is delivered to the goalkeeper shall be penalized as Charging.”
An attacking player is always responsible for maintaining control of themselves and cannot make reckless contact with the goalkeeper.