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the professorCommon hockey signals

Boarding: When an official strikes a closed fist in the palm of the opposite hand, he is calling a two-minute minor for boarding, which is a vicious check into the boards.

Charging: When an official rotates his arms in front of another similar to a traveling call in basketball, he is signaling a two-minute minor for charging, which is a check that a player uses more than two strides to create.

 box score
zamboni
The Zamboni

The particulars: Zambonis are four-wheeled vehicles that clean and flood the ice surface with hot water before each game and after each period.

The creation: Frank Zamboni, a rink operator in California, tested a tractor equipped with a sled across a surface in 1949. It worked. By the 1950s, Zambonis were used in all NHL rinks.

Cross checking: When an official clenches both fists and symmetrically pushes them forward and immediately back, he is signaling a two-minute minor of cross checking, the act in which the player picks up his stick and whacks an opponent across the back.

Delayed penalty: When an official raises his non-whistle hand straight up while play continues, he is alerting the teams, fans and timekeepers that a penalty will be called once the guilty team gains possession of the puck.

Delay of game: When an official waves his non-whistle hand in a sweeping motion into his chest and then out, he is calling a two-minute minor for delay of the game, a wide-ranging infraction that includes goalies shooting the pucks into the seats.

Elbowing:
When an official taps an elbow with his other hand, he is calling a two-minute minor for elbowing, an act in which a player gains leverage on an opponent by sticking an elbow into his upper body.

Fighting: When an official makes a punching gesture away from his body, he is signaling a five-minute major for fighting. Most times, these are matching penalties, good for five minutes.

Goal scored: When an official points down at the back of the net with his non-whistle hand, he is signaling a goal. This is especially useful when a pile of players gathers around the net and it's tough to see the goalie, much less the puck.

Hand pass: When an official opens his palm and pushes it toward his face, he is signaling a hand pass, which is a stoppage in play and a faceoff, not a minor.

High sticking: When an official holds one arm at shoulder level and grabs that wrist with the other hand, he is signaling either a two- or four-minute minor for high sticking. If blood is drawn, the guilty party sits out for four.

Holding: When an official grabs the opposite wrist at waist level, he is signaling a two-minute minor for holding, an act in which the player deliberately impedes an opponent's progress with his gloves or stick.

Hooking: When an official holds clenched fists at waist level and symmetrically pulls them back, he is calling a two-minute minor for hooking, an act in which the player uses his stick to corral an opponent at waist level.

Icing: When an official holds his non-whistle hand straight up and there is no penalty to be called, he is signaling icing, which is a stoppage in play and a faceoff because a team deliberately cleared the zone to get a line change or to take pressure off the goalie.

Interference: When an official crosses one arm over the other in front of his chest, he is calling a two-minute minor for interference, an infraction that features a player deliberately checking or impeding an opponent who does not have the puck.

Offside: When an official holds his non-whistle hand straight up and there is no penalty or icing to be called, he is signaling offside, an infraction that features any player in the attack zone before the puck reaches it.


Penalty shot: When an official joins his hands above his head similar to a safety call in football, he is signaling a penalty shot. Immediately after the call, he'll point to center ice and a player is awarded a one-on-one chance against the goaltender.


Slashing: When an official makes a chopping gesture with one hand over another, he is calling a two-minute minor for slashing, an infraction that features a player using his stick in a swinging motion across an opponent's body.

Timeout: When an official joins hands and makes a T, he is signalling a 30-second timeout. Both teams have the ability to call one per game.

Tripping: When an official strikes his leg with his non-whistle hand, he is calling a two-minute minor for tripping, which is similar to hooking but doesn't always require a stick. Players trip with their hands, skates, whatever is most convenient.

Washout: When an official extends both arms out symmetrically, he is signifying a washout, which means the play continues even though it seemed a whistle was needed. This is particularly useful with scrums in the front of the net or would-be penalty calls. When controversy arises, players, coaches and fans usually look to the official for guidance. When they see the washout call, it means keep playing.

– Compiled by Tim Sullivan
– Times graphics by Steve Madden
Sources: howstuffworks.com, Hockey for Dummies

 
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