Confused by some of the penalties the referees are calling on players when you’re watching a game? Here’s a very brief summary of the more common penalties, in alphabetical order. These are certainly not every possible penalty in the NHL, just the ones you’re most likely to come across in a typical game. Depending on the type of and severity of infraction, officials can call a minor penalty (2 minutes in the penalty box), major penalty (5 minutes in the penalty box), game misconduct (ejection from the game), or match penalty (ejection from the game and offending player’s team plays short handed for five minutes).
Checking an opponent into the boards when his back is turned away from the penalized player.
A fight between two players, which results in a major penalty for participating combatants.
When your stick strikes an opponent above the shoulders it is called high-sticking. If the high-stick results in a cut, the violating player may receive a four-minute, double minor penalty.
When a player impedes the progress of an opponent who does not have the puck or is in pursuit of the puck. Also can be called for deliberately knocking away the stick of an opponent who has dropped it.
Roughing is called after a minor altercation or scuffle (such as pushing and shoving), which the referee deems unworthy of a major penalty.