You are here:

Hockey/assist but no +?


Can a player get a point on an even strength (or shorthanded) but NOT have a + added to his +/- total? For example, Player A makes a pass to Player B from his own end and heads off the ice. And while he is already on the bench, Player B either shoots and scores, or passes to Player C who scores. So, Player B would get the assist, but was not on the ice when the goal was scored. That would mean no +. What I am unsure of is if there are allowances in the +/- stat for players who have just gone to, or come off the bench right before a goal was scored. It does seem unfair that a player who is just 2 feet off the bench would get a + for a goal he had nothing to do with. Or on the flip side, get a - for an opponent goal that was not in any way his fault.

And I realize that the +/- stat is a pretty pointless one to begin with. (Even more so that the NBA copied the NHL and starting tallying +/- too.) But since it IS an official stat, complete with its own end of season award, I am curious as to the just how it works in that situation. Because while I'm guessing it is not common, I don't think it is THAT rare either. Teams score while changing lines often enough that there must be several instances where an assist, especially the second assist is by a player who has already exited the ice.


Thanks for writing. Generally what you are talking about is performed by a "non-roster" player sitting in the stands in which the information is then supplied.  Or, at the pro level by the statistician close to the press box.

The official score sheet is where all the information for goals and assist are tallied for the end results.  But, sometime referee, don't count the assist due to the situation that you mentioned.

However, if the assist is important to the player, at the end of the game, the player can talk with the referee to make sure that the assist has been added to the official score sheet.  At this point, the player has it within his right to have this performed.  

I tell all my players that if they got the assist, regardless if they were on the ice when the goal was scored, the assist counts and should be add.

The coach can also, send out the captain, during the game to have the players name added.  Some times in pro games, you will hear the announcer (20 minutes later) says.  Goal scored by #14 "Tim McDonald" was assisted by # 25 John Smith.  That's because the referee was informed to the addition and it was added to the official stats.  At that time, the plus/minus stats should be corrected.

It's very important for the assist to be tallied correctly.  It could mean the difference in the scouting report that a scout will see when reporting to the monitoring team.

That's why Wayne Gretzky was the all time points winner...because of assists!  So if you are keeping Plus/Minus and you see a discrepancy, now's a good time to have the players name added to the official roster.

But, player A passes to player B and leaves the ice, Player B passes to player C and makes a change.  Both player A and Player B should receive and assist for the official roster.  If the puck has not been controlled by the other team during the sequence of events, then both player A and B should get an assist on Players C goal!

I hope this answered your question.
Rob Lopez - Commissioner
University Ice Hockey League - Mexico  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Rob Lopez


I can answer all questions about ice hockey from Mites level to College. I have 15 years as a Goalie Coach, 5 years as an assistant coach, 6 years as a hockey director, and 9 years as a General Manager


I have been in the industry now for over 35 years and I have developed youth and adult programs from Canada to Mexico. Plus, I design 100's of free practice drills for 1000's of coaches worldwide in 41 different countries.

USA Hockey Pass the Puck, Inc.

HF forum International Hockey Forum Pass the Puck Blog

I have a level 5 coaching certification with USA Hockey and a level 3 instructor certification.

Awards and Honors
Level 5 USA Hockey Coaching Certification

Past/Present Clients
Currently I have 3000 coaches from 41 different countries that are register with my web site.

©2017 All rights reserved.