What Is Hybrid Icing In Hockey?

A hybrid icing in hockey is a rule that allows the officials to call an icing if the puck is going to cross the goal line and the defending player is winning the race to the puck.

Without hybrid icing, a player on the defending team aside from the goaltender must touch the puck in order for icing to be called.

If a player on the team that iced the puck is able to touch it first then the icing will be waived off. This often results in two players, one from each team racing down the rink in order to touch the puck first.

During this race for the puck, the official will hold his hand in the air to signify a pending icing call. If a player on the defending team touches the puck first after it crosses the goal line then an icing will be called.

If the player on the team that iced the puck gets there first the official will lower his hand and play will go on.

What hybrid icing does is allow this call to be made without forcing the players to see out their race for the puck. If an official can see that the opposing team is going to win the race to the puck he can blow his whistle and call the icing early.

Benefits Of Hybrid Icing

Now that you understand what hybrid icing is in hockey you may be wondering why this rule was added. Below we will break down the biggest benefits of adding hybrid icing to hockey.

Injury Risks

The main reason that hybrid icing is used in hockey is to improve player safety in the league. The majority of iced pucks are going to find their way into the corner of the rink.

This means that when players are racing towards a puck to determine whether or not it is icing they are going to be heading right into the boards.

Since these players are going to be coming from their own end they are usually going to be moving with a lot of speed.

This ultimately results in some ugly hits and falls into the boards when racing for the icing call. This is especially common when one player is following the other into the corner at a high speed.

What hybrid icing does is allow the official to blow this play dead a large portion of the time. Each time the player going into his defensive zone is winning the race the official will call the icing early.

This way the defenseman will not have to go right into the corner and touch the puck in order to get the call.

Since the defending player is often the one leading this race the number of icing calls that are waived off is quite high.

This ultimately reduces the number of injuries that occur due to players racing for iced pucks.

Wasted Energy

Though the main reason for this rule in hockey is the decreased injury risks it also plays a role in keeping players fresh. Hockey is already a tiring sport in which players have limited energy they can use throughout the sixty minutes of play.

Without hybrid icing, players will often skate over half the length of the rink in order to get the call. This results in both defenseman and forwards blowing energy on relatively inconsequential plays.

By using hybrid icing these races will be blown dead early leaving more energy for the players to use in the rest of the game.

When Was Hybrid Icing Added To The NHL?

Prior to the 2013-2014 NHL season touch icing was used by the NHL to determine who would get an icing call. In the offseason in 2013 the NHLPA which is the players union voted for this rule to be changed in the league.

The NHL agreed with this rule change and ultimately implemented in the game in the 2013-2014 season. The officials practised with the new rules throughout the preseason and once the regular season started they were ready to use this rule in an NHL game.

Leave a Comment