What Is Hooking In Hockey

Hooking in hockey refers to a penalty called when a player uses his stick to restrain a player on the opposing team. This penalty is a two-minute minor but can also be assessed as a major penalty if the referee deems the hook resulted in an injury.

Hooking is a fairly touch and go penalty meaning refs will often let it go if the effect of the hook is not significant.

That being said hooking penalties can also be costly for your team as committing this penalty to a player on a breakaway will result in a penalty shot. But before we break down the consequences of this penalty let’s get into the rules themselves.

What is a hooking penalty in the NHL?

The best way to learn the rules in the NHL is to get them straight from the source. Below is the NHL’s official rules regarding hooking.

“Hooking is the act of using the stick in a manner that
enables a player to restrain an opponent.
When a player is checking another in such a way that there is only
stick-to-stick contact, such action is not to be penalized as hooking.” – NHL Rulebook Rule 55

As you can see the main purpose of this rule centers around restrain an opponents ability. Most stick related penalties such as slashing or crosschecking revolve more around the players safety.

A hooking play is a much less dangerous play and more often done in order to gain a competitive advantage. This is why it is called as such.

Another interesting aspect of this rule is that it does not pertain to stick to stick contact. In the NHL it is entirely legal to hook a player so long as you are only contacting his stick.

This is why players are often seen hooking sticks when tying each other up in front of the net. This sort of action does not restrain an opponent but rather just his stick.


Two Minute Minor

A two-minute minor is the most common penalty given out when hooking is committed. This penalty is called when a player is hooked ultimately impeding his progress but not causing any injury or physical harm.

This penalty gives the opposing team a two minute powerplay.

Major Penalty

A five-minute major penalty for hooking is a much more rare occurrence. This penalty takes places when a player is hooked and it results in an injury. If a player is injured from a hook it is mandatory that the referee call a five-minute major.

This penalty carries a sentence of five minutes in the box. Though unlike a minor penalty if the opposing team scores when on a five-minute power play the offending player does not get to leave the box.

This type of powerplay continues until the five minnutes is done, regardless of the number of goals scored.

Additionally, a major penalty for hooking is also accompanied by a game misconduct penalty. A game misconduct penalty will always be called when a major penalty is assessed for hooking.

Game Misconduct Penalty

Similar to charging or cross-checking penalties game misconduct penalties are automatically applied if a player is assessed a five minute major penalty for hooking. The player is then immediaetly ejected from the game and cannot return.

Game miscondcut penalties typically include a fine the offending player must pay.

Penalty Shots And Awarded Goals

In certain situations committing a hooking penalty can result in a penalty shot or an awarded goal.

A penalty shot occurs if a player has a clear breakaway prior to his progress being impeded by a hook.

An awarded goal occurs when a player has an imminent scoring opportunity prior to being hooked. In this situation it must be almost guaranteed that the player would have scored if the hook did not take place.

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