Week 13 – Stick ID Please!

NHL Rules

Rule / Situation of the week

Welcome back! This week’s column will feature some situations where a player either lost or broke his hockey stick. Rule 10.3 (Broken Stick – Player) is very clear on how a player can get a replacement stick during the course of the play.


Rule 10.3 (Broken Stick – Player) states:

A player who has lost or broken his stick may only receive a stick at his own players’ bench or be handed one from a teammate on the ice. A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to a teammate on the ice. A player may not participate in the play using a goalkeeper’s stick. A minor penalty shall be imposed for an infraction of this rule.


Basically, either the player goes to his player’s bench to get a new stick or he needs to be handed one from a teammate on the ice. But there as been a few situations over the last few years where a player who had lost/broke his stick got penalized for picking up his lost stick on the ice himself or when grabbing it for a player on the ice.

It is also important to know that the goalkeeper’s have their own rule for situations where they get their stick broken. In fact, a goalkeeper may continue to play with a broken stick until a stoppage of play or until he has one legally handed to him by a teammate (Rule 10.4).



Team Blue #10 checks Team White #12 with a legal hit. Both players lose their sticks. In a hurry they both pick up a stick thinking it is theirs. Play continues with Team Blue going down the ice and #10 scores a goal. At this time Team White #12 comes to the officials in protest saying that #10 scored with his stick. What is the call on the ice once the referee does determine that Blue #10 scored with White #12’s stick, Goal or no Goal? Are other penalties assessed on the play?


No Goal. Both players will get a minor penalties for playing with an illegal stick. Rule 10.3.



A Team A player breaks his stick and Team B player happens to lose his during the play. Can the Team A player pick up the Team B player’s stick and use it assuming it is not broken?


No. The Team A player may only receive a replacement stick at his own Players’ Bench or be handed one from a teammate on the ice, otherwise a minor penalty shall be imposed. Rule 10.3. Or, if the Team B player who has lost his stick is still on the ice, Rule 56.2 (Interference) could be applied if the Referee deems the Team A player has prevented the Team B player from regaining possession of his stick.



During a battle in front of the net the attacking player loses his stick, then quickly grabs the defenders stick, he immediately receives a pass, stick handles around the defense, shoots and scores with his “new” stick. Is the goal legal? What would the responsibility of the Linesmen be if this went unobserved by either Referee?


This is not a legal goal, as the player scoring the goal was not in possession of a legal stick. A player who has a lost or broken a stick may only receive another from his Players’ Bench or be handed one by a teammate on the ice. The Linesman should kill the play and have the Referee assess a minor penalty for receiving an illegal stick. Rule 10.3


Stick length, 63” vs 65”

Per Rule 10.1, states that no player shall be allowed to play with a stick that exceed sixty-three inches (63″) in length from the heel to the end of the shaft. Requests for an exception to the length of the shaft (only) may be submitted in writing to and must be approved by the League’s Hockey Operations Department prior to any such stick being approved for use. Only players 6’6” tall or more will be considered for exception. Maximum length of a stick granted an exception under this rule is sixty-five inches (65”). Now let’s see a situation where an exempted player (stick length) hand his stick to a teammate (not exempt) who broke/lost his stick during the play.



Player A#4 breaks his stick during the play. Player A#33, who has a stick exemption for the length of his stick, hands his stick to A#4. A#33 then leaves the ice on a change. When the whistle goes, Team B immediately approaches the Referee and indicates they wish to have the length of A#4’s stick measured. Is this allowed?


No measurement should be undertaken by the Referees. Common sense dictates that player A#4 couldn’t possibly be made responsible for taking a stick that has been deemed fit for use by the League for A#33. Therefore no penalty on this play.

Had he come from the bench with this stick, perhaps this is a different story as he would then be trying to circumvent the spirit of the exemption rule.


See you next Monday!


Every Monday during the regular season schedule, we will explain in this column some bizarre or uncommon game situations/rules. Hockey is a particular game when it comes to the rulebook. Hockey officials need to know their rules but more important they have to know the interpretation and application of them! We will see in the next several months, in this series of articles, that a rule hassometimes two different applications depending on the situation that occurred on the ice. This is not theofficialsdeciding on the outcome of the gameshere, by deciding to apply or not the rule, but is rather the interpretation and the application of that rule along with itsintent that dictatesthe final decision made by the officials on the ice! This is not a column to promote or defend our officials but rather an educational tool for all hockey fans and hockey officials to acquire a better understanding of the game of hockey! So let’s start to see if you know your NHL rules! Wewill help you better understand some decisions made by NHL officials some nights and hopefully making you better “couch” referee!