What is a hand pass in hockey?

What is a Hand Pass in Hockey?

Anaheim ducks vs the San Jose sharks, 
article is about hand pass in hockey
By Elliot

What is a hand pass in hockey?

A hand pass occurs when a player stops or “bats” the puck in the air with an open hand or pushes it along the ice using their hand.

The play will continue unless the on-ice Officials determine that a player intentionally passed the puck to a teammate or allowed their team to gain an unfair advantage by gaining possession of the puck.

This subsequent possession may be obtained by a player of the offending team, either directly or after being deflected off any player or official.

When is a hand pass in hockey legal?

The details matter here: If a hand pass takes place between two players in their defensive zone (near their net), the game will continue without interruption as this play is permitted.

The puck’s location at the moment it is contacted by either the player making the hand pass or the player receiving the hand pass will determine the zone it is in.

Hand passes are part of the game, and players must have a good understanding of the rules surrounding them to avoid costly penalties.

What happens if a hand pass violates the NHL rules?

If a hand pass is executed in the offensive zone (opposing team’s goal end) or neutral zone (center ice), the play is immediately whistled down. A faceoff will ensue.

The placement of the faceoff spot is determined by the referee. It will be positioned at the closest face-off spot within the zone where the violation took place. Nevertheless, if the team responsible for the violation would gain a territorial advantage, the face-off would occur at the nearest face-off spot in the zone where the play was halted.

When a team commits a hand pass violation in their attacking zone, the resulting face-off will take place at one of the face-off spots located outside the defending team’s blue line in the neutral zone.

This rule ensures fairness and maintains the integrity of the game.

Can coaches challenge a missed hand pass call?

We all know hockey is a game of inches. So in 2019 the NHL revised its “Official Rules” book to include video replay on hand passes as an option for a coach’s challenge to prevent disputed goals from being scored.

This has already provided greater clarity and accuracy on some of those missed calls during a game, such as hand passes that may not be seen by the referee.

2019, St. Louis loses in Game 3 in OT with this controversial (hand pass) goal.

How long are you allowed to hold onto the puck if you catch it?

When it comes to catching the puck out of the air, a player can also do so. However, they must immediately place it on the ice or deftly knock it down to skillfully stick handle the puck.

A player is not allowed to catch the puck and subsequently throw it to their teammate, nor can they skate with the puck after catching it.

If a player catches the puck and skates with it, to avoid a check or gain an advantage over their opponent a penalty will be called.

Furthermore, if a player covers the puck with his hand while it’s on the ice to hide it from or prevent an opponent from playing it, it will also result in a penalty.

A minor penalty (2mins) will be given for “closing their hand on the puck”. This information comes from the Official NHL’s rulebook.


In conclusion, hand passing is allowed in hockey as long as it meets the rules and regulations set forth by the game’s governing body. Violating these rules can result in costly penalties for your team, so it is important to become familiar with the legality of hand-passing before taking to the ice.

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