By Dave Zednik, IHOA Rules & Ethics
QUESTION: The first principle of the Standard of Play is “the use of the stick will be limited to only playing the puck.” Does this mean that any time a player uses their stick to contact the opponent, a penalty must be called?
ANSWER: No. Even though the principle encourages players to only play the puck with the stick, an actual rule must still have been violated in order for a penalty to be assessed. There may be instances where the stick may contact the opponent’s body or stick, but no competitive advantage has been gained by an act that is in violation of the rules. However, when delivering a body check, the purpose of the body check must be to gain possession of the puck and therefore the stick must be below the knees. When a body check is delivered with the stick above the knees, Rule 640(d) has been violated and a penalty should be assessed. It is important to recognize that, in essence, stick to lower stick contact that prevents the opponent from playing the puck could be considered an effort to play the puck.