Getting to Know the Rulebook: Episode 2 - Let's Finish Marking the Rink

Look at her faithfully observing Rule 1.10.(i). - Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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Welcome to another WIIM series where the authors read big, boring NHL documents so you don't have to. Today's GtK: The Rulebook episode finishes rink markings and includes ice cleaning.

NHL 2013-14 Official Rules here. (Downloads as PDF.)

Section 1 - Playing Area: Rule 1: The Rink (cont'd)

I'll be honest with you all. As much as I will try to make this comprehensive, I drafted this week's post, looked at it, then told myself, "Self, are you really going to use that many words to talk about faceoff dots and creases?" Nope. So some of these sections will go by more quickly than others.

I will say that the big takeaway from this section of the rulebook is that the NHL is standardizing the playing surface to equalize as much as possible the game experience for the players. Imagine if you were playing back-to-backs in one city where the rink is 200' x 95, then the next night where the rink is 200' x 85' with only 55' offensive zones (as opposed to the current 64'). Now imagine playing one night in Town of Hockey which has a different-shaped goal crease from City of Hockey, so which goals are going to be disallowed based on where you screen and make contact with the goalie changes from building to building.

Lack of standardization to that extent makes for an unbalanced playing scheme and cheapens the results so that they're not as directly comparable; if wins and losses aren't directly comparable, then good luck convincing me that my borderline fringe team I support doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs while your team barely made it because of a home ice quirk it exploited. Standardization helps us avoid those stupid conversations and instead lets us complain about unbalanced schedules and divisions instead.

1.7 Goal Crease / Referee Crease: Lays out the dimensions of the blue goal crease and the referee’s crease between the penalty boxes. The crease extends 1’ beyond the posts along the goal line, and the sides of the crease are 4’6". The arc at the top is from a 6' radius circle.

The rulebook explicitly states that the ice inside of the net has to be white. So now we can’t try any trickery like painting it black to hide the puck and make video reviews take forever. But it’s also a change from a time when the goal crease and the ice inside the net were both blue.

In front of the Penalty Timekeeper is the referee’s crease. I didn’t even know this thing existed until about a couple years ago. It’s a simple semi-circle with 10’ radius.

1.8 Goalkeeper’s Restricted Area: Outlines the trapezoid used since the season after cancelled season. Go 6’ from each goal frame post, then find the point on the end boards 11’ away from each goal post. Connect the dots, and voilà! The trapezoid! The rulebook also states that these lines marking the trapezoid have to extend vertically up the kick plate in the same way the blue lines and center red line extend vertically up the boards.

Note also that this section of the rulebook simply defines the area but doesn’t say which area of the ice--inside or outside the trapezoid--is actually the one where goalies are restricted from handling the puck.

1.9 Face-off Spots and Circles: Denotes the faceoff dots on the ice. Center ice dot is blue, and 1’ in diameter. All the other neutral zone dots are 5’ from the blue line, 2’ in diameter, 44’ apart from each other along the width of the ice, and the same distance from the boards. So at 85’, *mathmathmath* the dots are 18.5’ from the side boards.

The end zone faceoff dots essentially combine the general outlines of the center dot (large circle with 15’ radius) and other neutral zone dots (2’ in diameter, 44’ apart). The wrinkle with these dots deals with the right angle lines that the linesmen love to make sure centermen stand on exactly OR ELSE I WILL THROW YOU OUT OF THE FACEOFF OR I’LL JUST THROW YOU OUT ANYWAY BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT. There's a helpful detail diagram of the faceoff configuration preceding the table of contents.

I will say that I'm glad we can see the markings on the ice and know what they mean and where they're supposed to be. I present to you this mangled mess, talking about the end zone faceoff dots:

The location of the face-off spots shall be fixed in the following manner: Along a line twenty feet (20') from each goal line and parallel to it, mark two points twenty-two feet (22') on both sides of the straight line joining the center of the two goals. Each such point shall be the center of a face-off spot and circle.

--NHL Official Rules 2013-14, Rule 1.9

Please tell me there's a better way to write this.

1.10 Ice Cleaning: The first subsection tells the ice cleaning crew where to shovel the snow from: goal crease, in front of the players' and penalty benches, and "ideally, the entire end zone from the blue lines in." The next subsection says to do the same thing but also before overtime at the end of regulation (during the regular season). The third subsection tells the zambonis to resurface the middle of the rink to prepare for shootouts. The last subsection tells the ice crew to do the same thing as in (i) but at the first stoppage after the 10:00 mark of a playoff overtime. This rule supercedes any icing or power play, so if the Red Wings ice the puck in a playoff overtime, and it just passed the 10:00 mark, they WILL get a break and a chance to catch their breath because the ice crew must clear some snow.

We are now done with Rule 1! Rejoice because next time, we get to talk about goal posts (again!), nets, and benches too! And who knows, if we're really lucky, we might even get to talk about signal and timing devices.

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