Linesmen To officiate games, the NHL and other major hockey organizations use both on-ice referees and linesmen. Each has a unique set of responsibilities. Referees are in charge of calling goals and fines for rule violations. The linesmen are mostly in charge of calling offsides and icing. They can also call penalties if necessary.
There are currently two referees and one linesman in each game. They are in charge of different aspects of the ice time: The referees control play while the linesman is responsible for monitoring illegal body checks and face punches.
The officials are responsible for calling legal shots from behind the net. If a goalie is screened by a defender, the referee will call a penalty and give the Devils a chance to score directly from the faceoff dot. If the screen is high enough to block out the entire net, then it's a minor penalty and the team doesn't get a chance to shoot right away.
In the AHL, most games have three officials on the ice: A referee, a linesman, and a neutral judge. The neutral judge is there to help resolve discrepancies between the linesman and referee when needed. Their roles are similar to those of an NHL video official.
In Europe, games usually have seven officials on the ice: Two linesmen, two referees, and three third officials (see below).
The majority of penalty calls are made by the referee (s). Only blatant technical fouls, such as "too many players on the ice," are often called by linesmen. When a penalty is called, the official will raise his or her arm in the air; the official will halt play only when the offending team has possession of the puck or when play is stopped by conventional methods. Penalties can be served at any time during the game, except during free kicks and penalty shots.
There are five common penalties in hockey: minor penalty, major penalty, misconduct, forfeiture, and delay of game. A player may be penalized for excessive body checking or hitting from behind. These are known as major penalties. If a player is assessed three major penalties within a single game, he will be suspended from that night's contest. A minor penalty will not cause a player to miss a game, but it can still affect his status for future games. For example, if a player is sent off after being given a minor penalty, he will be unable to play for two hours after the incident (unless he receives an injury replacement).
A player who accumulates four minors in a season will be suspended for one game. A player who commits five major penalties in a season will be suspended for five games. These are the most severe penalties that can be imposed on a player. In practice, few players receive more than three majors or four minors in a career.
Each referee and linesman is responsible for one end of the ice in this arrangement. When the puck enters the offensive zone, one referee moves to the goal line, while the other moves diagonally across the ice outside the blue line. When the puck enters the defensive zone, both referees move back along their respective sides of the ice.
The referees are responsible for nearly every aspect of the game. They call penalties, apply rules, determine goals and out-of-bounds calls. They also have the power to change games by removing players from the field during injury delays or if they feel the play is becoming too physical.
Referees are selected by the National Hockey League (NHL) before each season based on criteria such as experience and knowledge of the rules. The average salary of an NHL referee is $75K. There are approximately 100 referees in the league. Refs are assigned to teams on a rotating basis so that all officials do not get used up by any single team.
In addition to calling plays at full speed, referees must be able to read body language and keep track of many players at once. Because of this, most refs have at least one more skill that makes them useful in other ways. For example, some refs can write down penalties after the fact. Others know how to use their whistles effectively.