Search This Blog

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Hockey vs. NHL Hockey: Rules edition

I got into a fairly heated conversation the other day with a hockey naysayer regarding the importance of hockey in the Olympics. I get into heated discussions almost on a weekly basis with various people about the merits of hockey and why it is better than other sports. Although it gets old having to defend a sport that you love, I will continue to do so until I convert the world to my opinion. That's what being a fan is.

So as a fan, it is my duty to educate the un-educated. With the Olympics well under way, I felt it was necessary to highlight the subtle nuanced differences between the NHL style of play and Olympic play. Didn't know there was a difference? Then this is for you. These are some of the differences that I can think of. If anyone knows of anything else, feel free to share.

1. NHL rinks are 200'x85' with 11' behind each goal. Olympic ice is 210'x98' with 13' behind each goal. This is why defense is key in most Olympic hockey. Since this year is in Canada, the games are going to be played on NHL style rinks.

2. Regular season NHL ties are broken with a three per side shootout. Playoff hockey has overtime until someone scores. In the Olympics, ties are followed by a 10 minute, sudden death overtime. If it is still tied, then they go to a shoot out using five per side.

3. In the Olympics, goaltenders have free reign behind the net. The NHL has the goalie limited to the trapezoid behind the net.

4. Icing is called after the opposing team touches the puck in the NHL. The Olympics and International play in general uses a "no touch" icing rule where as soon as it is behind the goal line, it is whistled. The NHL needs to go to this.

5. Five minute penalties for fighting in the NHL. Olympic play fighting gets you a match penalty and a game ejection.

6. If a penalty shot is called, the NHL player takes his own shot. In Olympic play, anyone can take the shot, which makes for some interesting matchups.

7. Not really a rule rather than a trend but you tend to see more tripping, boarding, and cross checking penalties in Olympic play. On the flip side, you don't see as many interference calls or slashing and hooking calls.

At this point, I can't really think of anything else. Let me know if I missed anything.


  1. is there a shoot out?

  2. Yes but only if no one scores after the first 10 minute overtime. They do it five per side instead of four like the NHL.


Do you think I actually care what you think?
I might. So leave a comment and find out.