Where can the goalie play the puck? (with pictures)

Ice hockey is among the most distinctive and captivating games to play or watch. In ice hockey, the goaltender is a very amazing position. But newer players will find some of the regulations of the goaltender to be complicated and confusing. 

What are the hockey goalie rules? Between the red line in the center of the ice and the goal line on the other side of the field, a goalkeeper can throw the ball. They can also throw the ball in the triangular region behind the net. A two-minute punishment will be assessed if the goaltender throws the ball beyond these boundaries.

A goaltender must be aware of the rules and regulations of the defensive line and other areas. Let’s go ahead and get to know about these regulations.

goalie play the puck

Where can the goalie play the puck?

A goalie can play the puck in the following two areas:

  • A goaltender has a sizable space for controlling the ball. Between the red center zone and the red goal line, the goaltender is permitted to stride out. It stays near the edge of the icing area between the two boards and passes into the box. They can utilize his goalkeeper pole to catch, throw, or strike the ball.
  • The goalkeeper is also permitted to play the ball in the rectangle behind the frame of his goal. Boundaries start 6 feet from the opponent’s goal and travel across to two end posts 28 feet away. They create the trapezoidal region.
Where can a goalie play the puck

You can read this article: What Happens When a Hockey Goalie Gets a Penalty?

Where can a goalie not play the puck?

Below are the two areas where a goalie cannot play the puck: 

  • Over the red line to the opponent’s half of the rink
  • In the designated areas behind the goal

Over the red line to the opponent’s half of the rink

The goalkeeper is not permitted to participate in the game over the red line into the opposite team’s area. Both handling the ball and hitting an attacker come under this category. The goalkeeper will get a two-minute penalty shot if he goes against these rules. Rule number 27.7 of the NHL regulation contains this regulation.

This regulation was made in the NHL’s early years when goaltenders wear very little protection. The little protection or padding does not limit their mobility. That can result in severe injury to a player. 

It is feasible for a goalkeeper to make a stop and then hurry the ball up the ice. Also, a goaltender can use a roaming method of play. They will spend some time in this position and shooting out.

Now you can understand why this will be difficult in an earlier period of hockey to follow the rules of a goalkeeper. With all the protection and gear available today, a goalkeeper can freely and safely move around the ice.

In the designated areas behind the goal

The goalkeeper is not permitted to touch the ball in two defined areas behind the net. They are situated at the rink’s ends, behind the goal area, and next to the trapezoidal. The placement of the ball would be the decisive factor in these specific regions. 

In the designated areas behind the goal

This implies that once the ball enters these specified regions, the goaltender cannot handle the ball. The goalkeeper is permitted to remain in these regions and handle the ball as far as the ball has not entered the dedicated space.  

The goalkeeper will receive a two-minute minor penalty if he plays the ball after it enters the specified area. The trainer will also select a different skater to perform the goalkeeper’s penalty shot. Thus, this is the case that happens with all goaltenders.

One Caveat to the Rule

If the keeper handled the ball in the specified area while maintaining foot connection with his frame, he would not be given a penalty shot. 

In gameplay, this would resemble the goalkeeper sitting on the ice with his foot in the frame. He will strike his pole at the ball in the appropriate place.

You can read this article: Why do Hockey Goalies Scrape the Ice?

Why do they limit the goal of playing the puck in certain areas?

To boost attack, the goalkeeper was not allowed to play the ball in the designated zones before the 2005–2006 season. There was no such limited space for controlling the ball before this season. 

Also, many people believe that goaltenders’ improved ball-handling skills were one of the major factors contributing to the NHL’s decline in goals. 

goal of playing the puck in certain areas

The goalies are capable of rapidly passing the ball to their defenders. This way, goalkeepers were able to prevent attacks from setting up a strong pass rush. It helps to establish red zone control.

It was expected that implementing in the secure areas would prevent goaltenders from handling many balls shot into the area. It will provide the opposite team with a higher opportunity to reclaim the ball. This will also increase the scoring opportunities.

Advantages of a goalie playing the puck

The defensemen’s safety is the primary benefit of the goalkeeper’s ball handling. Before the attacking player can reach the ball, the goaltender is capable of stopping it. Also, he can send it to one of his defenders. 

This prevents the defenders from being pushed by the attacking side. It lets the defending team instantly change from defensive to offensive. This is essential for avoiding defensive damage from occurring throughout a game or campaign.

Advantages of a goalie playing the puck

A goalkeeper can excel at moving the ball by catching it and passing it to the defenders before they can apply any force. He has troubled several opponents. 

Martin Brodeur and Marty Turco are two of the greatest goaltenders to handle the ball. And recent NHL skaters Carey Price, Ben Bishop, and Mike Smith are famous for their pole skills.

Disadvantages of a goalie playing the puck

The main drawback of a goaltender handling the ball is that if he made any error, it can be a serious issue that results in a penalty.

The main concern is that there will be no one in the box when the goalkeeper exits to play the ball.

Disadvantages of a goalie playing the puck

So, if the goaltender makes a mistake or the forward applies pressure to compel a mistake, it gives the attacking side a clear shot at the target. It means that goals will be scored when goalies make errors in this region.

Conclusion: Where can the goalie play the puck?

According to the hockey goalie rules, a goalkeeper can release the ball between the red line on the ice and the goal line on the other side of the field. But if the goalkeeper throws the ball beyond these boundaries, he/she will have to face a penalty. Make sure to read through the entire article about the hockey goalie rules. So that you can improve your skills and play at the highest level possible!

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