What is Slashing in Hockey?

what is slashing in hockeyIn some cases, hockey games have a few too many connections to horror movies.

From the hockey goalie masks that look like the creepy movies that took place on Fridays to the names of the penalties (slashing anyone?), hockey is certainly a game filled with suspense and danger.

One of the more dangerous plays in hockey is the slashing penalty.

It has a large range as well. From a little tap on the shin, to a broken wrist, and all the way to a potential career ending injury – it’s a very important rule.

What is Slashing?

Slashing is one of the penalties that is meant to keep players safe.

Since all players carry sticks, there is the possibility that the stick could be used to hurt an opponent. To take away the likelihood that players could use their sticks to hurt each other, players are encouraged to keep their sticks on the ice or else they receive penalties called stick fouls.

Slashing can be called on any player who:

  • Swings his stick at an opponent
  • Makes a forceful chop with the stick
  • Does or does not have to make contact

The swing or chop does not have to be on the body, it could be at the opponent’s stick or hands. Players are well aware that the penalty can be called simply if the swing is taken and no contact is made. The attempt at a slash is dangerous enough to merit a penalty.

Slashing the Goalie

Interestingly, the penalty can also be called if an opponent slashes at a goalie in the crease.

Some players will slash at the goalie after the puck has been stopped and is under the goalie. Even though players are covered in pads, slashing is a dangerous action that rightfully should be penalized.

When Referees Do Not Call Slashing

slashing penaltyUnfortunately, slashing is not always called.

Referees tend to overlook slashes to the legs, simply because the pads are so thick that slashes can’t be painful. In some instances if the slash is aggressive enough to make the player fall, a tripping penalty may be called instead. The most commonly penalized slashes are when the edge of the stick is involved, not the flat sides.

Slashing is a penalty that is often committed by accident. At least that’s what the players say. It’s a bit like a baseball pitcher hitting the batter, most say it was accidental…but was it, really?

When the Referees Call the Penalty

Slashing calls are made when the referees see players use their sticks as a mechanism to disrupt an opponent’s puck control. Hooking the stick gets a turnover to happen. But, if a referee sees it in a different way, slashing will be called.

Players usually have to swing or chop to get at the puck. They also tend to get close to the hands of the opponent – that movement gets them into the penalty box.

Enforcing the Penalty

In the 2017-18 season, the slashing call was enforced.

Referees were told that the rule would be enforced as it was written in the rulebook. The change in the NHL was due to players suffering from slashes to the hands that resulted in injuries. Remember when Marc Methot lost a fingertip after a slash from Sidney Crosby?

Avoiding a slashing call is easy

Players simply should keep their sticks down, on the ice.

There are very few moments when the stick needs to come off the ice, but there is no reason to attack an opponent’s hands with the blade edge of a stick. Mini-slashes are still slashes and should be called accordingly. When a stick hits the gloves, the referees will make the chopping motion and the attacking player will spend at least two minutes in the box.

Slashing is not a call that should be ignored by the referees.

Players in all levels of the game should respect the rule and not attempt to injure their opponents. The slashing call results in a two-minute penalty, as it should. But, if the slash injures an opponent, the player gets a five-minute penalty and a misconduct call which results in an ejection from the game.

If the player is deemed to have intentionally tried to injure an opponent, then a game misconduct penalty is given. This is an appropriate response to a potentially dangerous and unnecessary action.

Making the Game Safe

To remove the danger, but to keep the suspense, the rules of the game continue to evolve. Penalty and the rules about them are constantly evaluated to make the game as safe as possible for the players.

Conclusion on Slashing in Hockey

We hope this article has provided you with some detailed insight into the importance of the slashing penalty in hockey. Unfortunately with the speed of the game and players using sticks, slashes are almost inevitable. However it is extremely important for each individual player to respect their fellow opponent to ensure everyone can keep enjoying the game.

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