Each team plays with five skaters and one goaltender on the ice at a time.
The five skaters are made up of: three forwards (one center, a left wing, and a right wing) and two defensemen.
Substitutions occur frequently throughout the game and can take place while play is going on or during a stoppage in play.
Teams in the ECHL may dress a maximum of 18 players for a game. The 18 players are typically comprised of: 10 forwards, six defensemen, a starting goalie and a backup goalie.
Teams may be required to play with fewer than five players for a period of time if they committ a penalty or multiple penalties. Players guilty of penalties must sit in the penalty box. The team that loses a player(s) to the box is called shorthanded while the team with more players on the ice is on a power play
Games consist of three 20-minute periods and two 18-minute intermissions. The ice is resurfaced at each intermission.
The game clock stops when the puck leaves play, a goalie freezes the puck, a goal is scored, or a penalty or other infraction is committed.
Each team is allowed one timeout per game.
Offsides: When an attacking player enters the attack zone before the puck. Results in a stoppage of play and neutral zone faceoff.
Icing: When a defending player sends the puck, untouched, from behind the center red line across the goal line in the attacking zone. Results in a stoppage of play and a faceoff in the offending team’s zone. Offending team may also not make any substitutions.
Hand Pass: When a player moves the puck to a teammate with his hand. Results in a faceoff at the position where the puck was passed from. Hand passes are legal in a team’s defensive zone.
High Stick on the Puck: When the puck is played out of mid-air by a player whose stick is above his shoulders and his team regains control of the puck.
Boarding: When a player checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously.
Charging: Violently checking an opposing player due to excessive distance traveled (usually defined as more than three full strides) before the check. Leaving the feet while making a check is also considered charging.
Cross Checking: Using the shaft of the stick, while both hands are on the stick, to check an opposing player.
Delay of Game: When a referee judges that a player deliberately attempted to cause a stoppage of play. Examples include when a player shoots the puck out of play, or knocks the goal off its moorings.
Elbowing: Using the elbow to hit or check an opponent.
Interference: Impeding any opposing player who does not have the puck.
Goaltender Interference: An attacking player deliberately making contact with the opposing team’s goalie either inside or outside of the crease. When a player makes incidental contact with the goalie, it is not a penalty so long as the player made an attempt to avoid the contact. If a goal is scored due to a player impeding a goalie’s ability to move in the crease the goal will be disallowed, but the player will not be penalized with time in the penalty box.
High-sticking: Any contact with a stick on opposing player’s head or neck. May result in a double minor penalty if opposing player is injured as a result of the penalty.
Roughing: Using a punching motion with a gloved hand against an opponent. Usually happens in a minor altercation between opposing players. If the referees judge an altercation worthy of a major penalty, the player(s) will be given major fighting penalties.
Slashing: Act of a player swinging his stick at an opposing player’s body or stick.
Tripping: Act of a player using his stick or any part of his body to trip an opposing player. If two players trip each other simultaneously no penalty will be assessed. If a player makes contact first with the puck and subsequently trips an opposing player, no penalty will be assessed.
Handling the Puck: Any player may use his hand to push the puck on the ice or bat the puck out of the air. When a non-goalie player closes his hand on the puck while the puck is on the ice, it results in a penalty. When a player closes his hand on the puck while the puck is in his goalie’s crease, it results in a penalty shot for the opposing team. A player is allowed to catch the puck in the air and then drop it down on the ice. If a player catches the puck and then carries it, it results in a penalty.
Too many men on the Ice: Team having more than six players (including the goalie) on the ice and involved in the play at one time. A player attempting to get off the ice is no longer considered part of the play when he gets within five feet of his team’s bench. A penalty is assessed if a substituted player makes contact with the puck before the player he substituted for has left the ice. The penalized team may choose any of its players to serve the penalty in the penalty box.
Barn: Slang term for a hockey arena.
Backcheck: Player(s) in their own defensive zone pressuring the opposing team’s puck carrier.
Breakaway: When an attacking player has the puck on a scoring chance with no one between him and the opposing team’s goalie.
Breakout: When a team gains possession of the puck in its own defensive zone and looks to move onto the offensive.
Butterfly: A style of goaltending in which the goalie tends to drop to his knees to cover the lower half of the net with his legs.
Changing on the Fly: Making player substitutions while the game is in play.
Cherry Picking: When an attacking player purposely stays near his opponent’s defensive zone for the purpose of receiving a breakaway pass.
Clearing the puck: Moving the puck out of the defensive zone or out of a dangerous area on the ice.
Dangling: When a player maneuvers the puck through traffic effectively while maintaining possession of the puck.
Dive: When a player embellishes being checked for purposes of drawing a penalty.
Five-hole: The open area located between a goaltender’s leg pads. A popular space for shooters to try to score goals.
Forecheck: Player(s) pressuring the opposing team when they have the puck in their own defensive zone, usually to try to delay them or to force a turnover.
Hat trick: When a player scores 3 goals in a single game. It is hockey tradition for fans to throw their hats on the ice when this occurs.
Light the Lamp: Slang term for scoring a goal. Refers to the light behind the net that goes on when a player scores.
One-timer: When a player shoots the puck immediately upon receiving it from a teammate.
Pipe: Slang term for hockey goal post.
Poke check: When a player or goalie uses a quick thrust of his stick to poke the puck away from an opposing player.
Saucer Pass: An airborne pass from one player to another. Making a saucer pass is referred to as dishing the sauce.
Sieve: Slang term for a goalie who lets in a lot of goals.
Sin Bin: Slang term for the penalty box.
Sniper: A player with a hard and accurate shot that is skilled at scoring goals. A sniper can either be a forward or defenseman.
Standing on his head: Slang term for a goalie that is having a great game/making great saves.
The Slot: The area on the ice directly in front of the goalie and between the faceoff circles. The slot is a very high-percentage scoring area.
Top shelf: When a player aims a shot for the top part of the goal.
Wholesale Change: When every player on the ice goes to the bench for a substitution at the same time. Usually occurs during a stoppage in play.
Wrap-around: When a player takes puck around behind the net and tries to score on the other side.
Minor Penalties: If a player is assessed a minor penalty, he must serve two minutes in the penalty box. His team must play with one less man on the ice during those two minutes. If the opposing team scores during the two minutes, the player’s penalty is over and the team is allowed to play at full strength again.
Double Minor Penalties: If a player is assessed a double minor penalty, he must serve four minutes in the penalty box. His team must play with one less man on the ice during those four minutes. If the opposing team scores during the first two minutes of the penalty, the player must only serve two more minutes in the box following the goal. If the opposing team scores during the last two minutes of the penalty, the player’s penalty is over and the team is allowed to play at full strength again.
Major Penalties: If a player is assessed a major penalty, he must serve five minutes in the penalty box. His team must play with one less man on the ice during those five minutes. He must serve the full five minutes, and his team must remain shorthanded even if the opposing team scores.
Match Penalty: A player is given a match penalty if the referees judge he deliberately injured another player. The offending player must sit out the remainder of the game and his team will be assessed a penalty depending on the severity of the infraction.
Game Misconduct: When a player is given a game misconduct penalty he is forced to sit out the remainder of the game.
Misconduct: If a player is given a misconduct penalty, he must remain off the ice for 10 minutes. His team remains at full strength during those 10 minutes.
Penalty Shot: When a player on a breakaway loses his scoring opportunity as a result of an illegal infraction from an opposing player, he is awarded a penalty shot. A penalty shot is a skater going one-on-one with the opposing team’s goaltender.