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What is a Hand Pass?

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Our previous articles discussed offside and icing penalties in the National Hockey League (NHL). This article in our NHL ladies sports talk series on common rules and regulations in the NHL covers the hand pass.

The rules associated with a player touching the puck with their hands have three elements:

  1. No player, except the goalkeeper, is allowed to close their hand (grasp) on the puck. If the puck is in the air, a player may catch the puck but must immediately drop the puck to the ice where it is played with the stick.  A puck cannot be picked up from the ice by any player, except the goalkeeper while play is in progress.  A puck caught or picked up by the goalkeeper and held for three seconds stops play and results in a faceoff.
  2. No player is allowed to bat the puck in the air or push the puck along the ice with their hand directly to a teammate (a hand pass) unless the pass is initiated and received in the players defensive zone. A goalkeeper may not hand pass the puck forward to a teammate after being caught.
  3. No goal can be scored from a puck being propelled by the hand of an offensive player, even if the puck is deflected by another player.

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