Only True NHL Fans Can Ace This Hockey Rules Quiz!


By: Gavin Thagard

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Hockey is a popular winter sport with leagues all around the world, but no league is more popular than the National Hockey League, which features teams across the United States and Canada. As with any sports league, the NHL is guided by rules. How well do you know those rules, though? Could you pass a quiz that only true NHL fans can ace? Here's your chance to find out! 

For a league that started in 1917 with only four teams from Canada, the NHL sure has expanded over the years. Today, there are 31 teams that compete in the NHL each year, as every team tries to make it into the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup, the award given out to the champions of the league. 

Thanks to the rise of star players like Wayne Gretsky, the popularity of the sport has increased as well. After all, the NHL is one of the four major sports in North America, fighting for fans against leagues like the NFL and NBA. Luckily, the sport has carved out its place with die-hard supporters committed to seeing the games. 

If you're one of those fans, then here's an opportunity to see how much you really know about hockey and the rules that govern the game. Get started and see if you can ace it! 

What are scores called?

No player scored more goals than Wayne Gretzky. He finished his career with 894 goals.


How does a game begin?

Wayne Gretzky played in the NHL from 1979 until 1999. During that 20-year career, he played for four different teams.


Where is a player who commits a penalty sent?

When Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999, he was immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame. His number was also retired across the league.


A player can return from the penalty box if what happens before their time is up?

The fastest goal from the beginning of a game in NHL playoff history was six seconds. The goal was scored by Don Kozak.


What kind of penalty leads to an automatic ejection?

The fastest score ever from the start of the game in the regular season of the NHL was five seconds. This occurred three separate times.


What's called if you take three or more strides before hitting your opponent?

The NHL held a fan poll to determine the greatest team of all time. The fans voted for the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers.


What happens if you try to fight an unwilling opponent?

The 1984-85 Oilers were led by none other than Wayne Gretzky. There's a reason he is called "The Great One."


This is contact that takes place after the whistle is blown.

Behind the Oilers in the fan poll was the 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins. This team had already won the Stanley Cup the year before and finished the season as back to back champions.


What's called when you swing your stick at your opponent?

The 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings had the most regular season wins of all time. They finished the regular season at 62-13-7.


Can you play with two sticks?

This is called "playing with too many sticks." It's usually called if a player picks up their teammate's stick, tries to return it, but engages in the play before releasing the stick.


What penalty is called for head-butting that doesn't cause injury?

Gordie Howe played the most games of any NHL player ever. For his play, he received the nickname "Mr. Hockey."


What's called if you try to pause the game?

Gordie Howe was also the oldest player to ever play in the NHL. He played until he was 52 years old.


Can you grab your opponent's stick?

A "holding the stick" penalty is called in this scenario. It results in a minor penalty.


What's it called if you have more players on the ice than your opponent?

No player had more power-play goals than Dave Andreychuk. During his career, he scored 274 times on power plays.


What's called if you throw your opponent into the boards?

There are 31 teams in the NHL. Seven of those teams are located in Canada.


This is when you try to slow your opponent down with a stick.

The team with the most Stanley Cups is the Montreal Canadiens. The team won the trophy 24 times.


What's called if you use abusive language toward an official?

Behind the Canadiens in Stanley Cup wins is the Toronto Maple Leafs. They've won the trophy 13 times.


How long do you stay in the penalty box for a minor penalty?

The player with the most Stanley Cups is Henri Richard. He won the trophy an outstanding 11 times.


How long do you stay in the penalty box for a major penalty?

In the NHL, the trophy for the most valuable player of the league is called the Hart Memorial Trophy. The trophy is named after David Hart.


Can you stab your opponent with your stick to keep them back?

This action results in a penalty for spearing. The punishment varies depending on the severity of the penalty.


How long can a goalkeeper hold the puck?

The objective of hockey is to keep the puck moving at all times. Therefore, goalies are limited on what they can do offensively.


What must be on a player's jersey?

Each player's jersey includes their number and name. The number cannot be three digits long.


Can you keep playing if your stick is broken and you're not the goalkeeper?

This is only allowed if you drop the broken stick. You can then receive another unbroken stick from a teammate or the bench.


What's the maximum width for a goalkeeper's leg guards?

The length of a goalkeeper's shin guards vary. The measurement is determined by the height of the player.


Is a point automatically given if there is a violation during a penalty shot?

If the penalty shot is made during a violation, then the point counts. However, if the penalty shot is missed, another penalty shot is awarded.


Who serves a bench minor penalty?

No player has spent more time in the penalty box than Tiger Williams. Throughout his career, he spent 4,421 minutes in the penalty box.


What is awarded when a scoring opportunity is interrupted by a foul?

Tiger Williams penalty minutes racked up because of his role as an enforcer. He often sought out fights and conflict in the rink.


What is awarded if the goal post is displaced by the defending team during a shot?

Another one of hockey's greatest enforcers was Dave Schultz. Schultz had the most penalty minutes in one season with 472.


What is the maximum amount of players that can be removed from the ice for penalties?

David Schultz would often wear boxing wrap to protect his hands during a fight. This was eventually banned by the NHL.


What penalty is being called when a referee rotates both clenched fist around one another in front of his body?

Another violent enforcer was Dale Hunter. Hunter once caused an injury to another player where he was suspended 21 games.


What penalty is being called when the referee taps his elbow with the opposite hand?

Goaltenders are usually judged by wins and shutouts. Martin Brodeur holds the record for both.


What penalty is being called when the referee crosses his arms against​ his chest?

Because of his brilliance, Martin Brodeur had a long and successful career. He played from 1991 until 2015.


What's the referee calling when he holds his hands in the shape of a T?

Another great goaltender was Patrick Roy. He had 151 playoff wins, the most by anyone in the NHL.


How long is intermission in the NHL?

The oldest goaltender to ever play was Maurice Roberts. He was stopping shots at 45 years old.


How long is overtime during the regular season?

In overtime, the first team that scores is awarded the victory. If overtime expires with neither team scoring, the game goes to a shootout.


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