Hockey is one of the fastest games which makes it more fun. Line change is a factor that makes a hockey game faster and more exciting. Line changing is a unique rule in a hockey game that keeps the players energetic for a long time.
If you have never missed a hockey game you must be confused to see the fast exchange between the players. And now, you must be curious to know How do line changes work in hockey? Simply, the players are free to exchange their positions during the game or at a break. If players exchange their position while in the game the term “ Changing on the fly” is used. One shift of players approximately lasts for 45 seconds. Coaches keep their teams updated about the next lines.
Let’s discuss the line change working in detail.
How a team is organized for line changes?
Before the start of every game, every hockey team is organized in a specific manner. Each team is managed in a manner like 12 forward players, 6 defensemen, and two goalies. One of both goalies plays during the game and the other act as a backup player. The team organizes four lines with three forward players and two defensemen.
Twelve forward players are divided into four lines of three players each. Every forward line contains one left-wing, one center, and one right-wing player. There are 3 pairs of defensemen each with left defensemen and right defensemen. This whole organization disarranges due to a penalty and the players from the penalized team will decrease.
If there is no penalty arrangement will remain the same. Players are also arranged when they sit on the bench. They organized to sit on the bench like Forwarding players on the one side and the defencemen on the other. The forwards sit nearby the goaltender of the opposing team while the defencemen sit nearby their own team’s goalie.
Once the team is organized and the game starts coach will decide which line will go first and which will go after the playing line. These all substitutions not only occur during the play but also occur while stoppage in the game.
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What kind of line changes occurs during the game?
When the players exchange their positions while the game is happening a term is used called “Changing on the fly”. This kind of line changing is essential while a hockey game because changing on the fly refreshes the players. Changing on the fly prevents plenty of stops during the game and keeps the game flow. Hockey is not one of the games that need a stoppage for substitution.
In hockey, game players do not need to stop again and again to change their positions. Players sit or play on the ice without any stop and the game remains smooth and flows well. Another reason why changing on the fly is essential is to keep the game maintain without any disturbance repeatedly. If changing on the fly does not occur during the game the player would have to stop the game and exchange many times.
A hockey game does not stop for 5-10 minutes continuously due to these changes in the flay factor. Playing on the ice is not an easy task so the players get tired in less than 1 minute. Therefore, players keep changing their positions (sitting on the bench or playing). If the players do not follow changing on the fly rule they will not be able to play the game for a long time.
How the change in fly actually works?
As we know players change positions on the fly so now let’s discuss how players change their positions during the game. Before going back to the ice a player should be 5 feet away from the player’s box. This is because due to the change on the fly rule, both players will be present on the ice at the same time.
Players have to perform substitution carefully because it can lead to a penalty. Men Minor penalty occurs when a player comes on the ice before completing 5 feet. When players are present on the ice they are not able to touch the puck. If any of the players touch the puck even within 5 feet (from the player’s box) there will be a Men minor penalty.
Coaches inform their teams which line has to go first and which line has the second turn and so on. Players also have to be conscious of their turn so they wait for their turn to come on the ice or go off the ice. For example, When centermen on the ice and centermen on the bench are ready for the sudden change.
Similarly, the left wings and right wings players do the same. The teams try to exchange as many as positions they can. Sometimes they are just able to change their position just one or two times in one game. The coach also exchanges the players from one line to another to create a spark during the game.
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Line change during a game stoppage?
One type of line change occurs while the stoppage of the game. Stoppage allows the players to decide which line will enter the game. There is a very short time to make the line changes to maintain the game flow. If players take a long time to change lines the game would be longer due to long stoppage. The “Last change” is always for the home team. This allows the team to line up their lines as they want.
Line change during the stoppage gives the energy to replay the game actively. A team is free to change any of its players on the ice. The teams can change the players into pairs or individual players. The away team starts substitution by changing their first player. The lineman helps him to enter the ice by holding his arm up. This shows the line changing during the game stoppage.
Right after 5 seconds lineman slightly bends his hand and the line changed the end instantly. Then home team calls the line they want according to their plans. There is a case When a team cannot change their players during the stoppages. This happens when a team is penalized because they iced the puck. Due to this penalty, the penalized team will not be allowed to change the players while the opposing team can freely change their players.
Why does a home team get a last-line change or a substitution?
A home team gets the last line change mainly to perform a match of their players. Last-line changes allow the home team to observe the situation carefully and match their different line players to play.
Most of the time coaches select the top players and match them to organize lines. Top players are decided to play against their opponent team. Coaches do this to make a good defense against their opponent’s team. A home team gets an amazing chance to match their teams.
Zone starts: Where does a coach decide to start a line?
A team coach decided on lines mostly according to the faceoff zone location. In the case of weaker lines, teams prefer to take a start in the offensive zone during the game. The team coaches become ready to sacrifice their offense to save the goals scored by other teams.
If you wanna see a good zone strat must watch Patrice Bergeron or Ryan O’ Reily. These players are amazing at winning faceoffs and gaining the puck from the other team. Teams take the puck and try to through the puck out of their defensive zone as soon as they can.
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When the teams are not allowed to change lines after a whistle?
Sometimes teams are not allowed to change the lines. This often happens when a team mistakenly or consciously ices the puck down the ice in the defensive zone of the opponent team. The NHL observed all penalties and penalize the team who hit the puck to decrease the number of this type of penalty.
NHL introduced the penalties to stop the players from icing the puck into the defensive zone of the opposing team. As a result, the game whistled down, and the team face out in the defensive zone of the penalized team. The team who iced the puck will not be able to change their line during the game or during stoppages.
Penalty due to bad line changes
Occasionally the players of one team forget to change their position properly. Mostly, one player goes to the bench but the other one forgets to come back, and vice versa. In this case, a big confusion will occur and a penalty for the team will be called. This may happen while making a goal and the penalized team will lose their goal and player as well. So, the players should be alert so they can be saved from a bad line change.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the rules or changing lines in hockey?
A visiting team gets 5 seconds for a line change while the home team gets 8 seconds for a line change. A lineman blows the whistle and takes just 5 seconds to drop the puck. When the center does not present at faceoff (again) lineman drops the puck.
How are hockey lines determined?
The first line in a hockey line remains full of the top players of the team. These players generate the highest score for their team. The top players are part of the first line to get their team toward the winning side.
How do NHL players change skates?
How players change their skates depends upon the players. Some players change and get new skates after a short time and some get skates after a long time. For instance: Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning gets a new pair after ten games. While Patrick Marleau of the San Jase Sharks gets new skates 4-5 times a season.
Conclusion: How do Line changes work in ice Hockey?
Hockey is one of the fastest games in the world and life-changing is a factor that makes it more exciting and entertaining. Before line changing and starting the game there is a specific organization o 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, and two goalies. Line changing occurs during the game as well as during the stoppage. The line changing during the game is called “ Change on the fly”.