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Olympics Ice Hockey

What is the difference between Olympic hockey and traditional hockey?

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2010-03-13 19:02:22
2010-03-13 19:02:22

The Shootout:

The NHL has adopted the shootout for regular season games only.

During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, teams play overtime until a tie-breaking goal is scored.

In the Olympics, tied playoff games are followed by ten minutes of sudden death overtime.

If the game remains tied, it is decided by a shootout.

If the game remains tied after the first three shooters, any player can be chosen to shoot any number of times.

Goalies with the Puck:

Under NHL rules, goaltenders cannot handle the puck behind the goal line, except in an area directly behind the net.

Goaltenders in international hockey can play the puck anywhere behind the net.


If an NHL player shoots the puck down the ice from his own half of the center line, an opposing player must touch the puck first before icing is called.

International hockey uses "no touch" icing.

The play is whistled down as soon as the puck crosses the goal line.

Protecting the Head:

In the NHL, there is no 'specific rule' against checking to the head.

International hockey calls checking to the head as a minor penalty with a ten-minute misconduct, or a major (5 minute) penalty with a game misconduct.

Penalty Shots:

In the NHL, the player who was the victim of a foul must take the penalty shot, unless he is injured.

When a penalty shot is called during Olympic hockey, any player on the shooting team may be selected to take it.

Crease Violations:

NHL players are allowed to stand in the goal crease as long as they don't interfere with the goaltender.

International referees will blow the whistle and move the faceoff out of the attacking zone if an attacking player is standing in the crease.


NHL players are penalized five minutes for fighting.

Players fighting in Olympic hockey receive a match penalty and are ejected from the game.

Rules Against Obstruction:

Since the NHL's crackdown on obstruction in 2005, some international tournaments have featured more hooking, holding and interference than an average NHL game. The international standard and NHL standard remain out of step.

Normally, Olympic hockey rinks are actually larger than those in the NHL, but this was not the case for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

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