A legal body check is one in which a player checks an opponent who is in possession of the puck, by using his hip or body.
Legitimate body contact must be done for the purpose of separating the opponent from the puck, with a regard for the puck, only with the trunk of the body (hip and shoulder) and must be above the opponent's knees and at or below the shoulders.
KEY TERM - Excessive force
Key Awareness Points:
· Body Checks deemed using excessive force
· Body Checks with body elevation
· Body Checks with no regard for the puck
· Body Checks with hands/forearms high to make principal contact, using excessive force
· Body Checks with distance travelled for the purpose of excessive force
IIHF Rule 119 - BOARDING:
DEFINITION: A player who body checks, elbows, charges, or trips an opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to be thrown violently into the boards.
EBEL INTERPRETATION: A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenceless opponent or uses 'excessive force' in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. Inclusive of a wind up motion with players stick and arms coming high one way, to propel the opposite way into the opponent, causing excessive force.
There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenceless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize contact.
However, in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the referees when applying this rule.
IIHF Rule 122 - CHARGING
DEFINITION: A player who, after skating towards an opponent, checks him with unnecessary force or runs at or jumps into an opponent.
EBEL INTERPRETATION: A charging penalty should be imposed on any player who,
- Travels a significant distance to create speed for the sole purpose of body checking to create excessive force.
- Elevates into opposing player for the purpose of making contact to the head/neck area of the opposing player.
- Player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner, including feet leaving the ice surface for the purpose of exploding through or elevating into opponent.
- Player who use's his hands or forearms as the primary contact to the opposing players chest or higher, in making a body check, when the arms or forearms are extended into and through opponent for the purpose of creating excessive contact, either along the boards or open ice.
IIHF Rule 124 - CHECKING TO THE HEAD OR NECK:
DEFINITION: A player who directs a hit of any sort, with any part of his body or equipment, to the head or neck of an opposing player or drives or forces the head of an opposing player into the protective glass or boards.
· A body check resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and/or
· such contact to the head was avoidable and/or
· deemed excessive in nature, that either drives or forces the opponents head into the protective glass or boards.
In determining whether contact with an opponent’s head was avoidable, the circumstances of the hit including the following shall be considered.
(i) Whether the player attempted to hit squarely through the opponent’s body and the head was not "picked" as a result of poor timing, poor angle of approach, or unnecessary extension of the body upward or outward.
(ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable.
(iii) Whether the opponent materially changed the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact.