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Hockey/line change specifics


Hello there!

I am an amateur spectator and have been starting to enjoy watching the NHL. I was just wondering:

1) How do the players know and communicate a line change? Do they have sounds/hand signals? It just seems that it would be difficult to watch/communicate with the bench while keeping their eyes on the opponent in a game that goes 100 miles per hour!

2) What is the average/preferred amount of time that any player is typically on the ice before they get tired and would like a sub? Can you recall any records where a player has been on the ice for too long because the opposing team kept them busy?

3) What are the rules for "too many men on the ice" penalties? Do they have to be perfect in line changes where one guy steps over the wall EXACTLY when a tired player exits the ice? It seems to me that would be very difficult!

Thank you for your time! I really think hockey is an intriguing sport because it combines the grace and strategy of chess with the physicality of football while going super fast!

I appreciate any help!

Sincerely, Joe

Hello Joe - sort for slow reply - my son got married over weekend...  Family just leaving now!

1. The coach will usually signal the line change with a "change em up" type of shout.  Most guys won't last more that 90 seconds if they are working real hard.  If they aren't, they may get benched!!

2. 90 seconds is ideal average - of course some will stay longer if in "trouble" in their own zone or "on a roll" in the offensive zone.  Many times this can happen!

3. a player is not suppose to jump on before the other player arrives at the bench -- there is sometimes a 6' grace...  it happens fast indeed.

it is a GREAT sport - feel free to follow up with any more questions!




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I have been playing amateur hockey for 48 years... from Youth hockey up to Jr. "B", and now still play in adult leagues. I have coached youth hockey for 10+ years and have been an "active student" of all aspects of learning, playing and coaching hockey for past 8 years. I offer not only some X`s & O`s about hockey but also some experience in practical, philosophical, spiritual and motivational aspects of playing and learning the game. My son is now 26 - just done with his carreer through College. He went through all the hurdles to get to Juniors and played there for 3 years, then College for 4. I am happy to share our experience during that journey.


Now in my 49th year involved with this awesome ever evolving sport! I am USA Hockey Certified as Intermediate Level Coach. I have a BA degree in Psychology with minor in business (Brock University), as well as a LLB (law degree) from Ottawa University. I have owned and operated my family business for 30+ years now. I have co-parented 3 great kids!

Social Studies Diploma CEGEP - Marianopolis College, Montreal Quebec BA - Psychology, Minor in Business - Brock University Law Degree - Ottawa University

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