The show must go on, they say. According to the rule book, so must the play.
When a Finnish League goaltender lost his leg pad due to collision in front of the net, play continued until the opposing team scored. As unusual – and scary, for the netminder – as that might be, it was the right call.
The IIHF – like the NHL – has no rule protecting the safety of the goaltender when it comes to lost equipment. Netminders have been forced to play on missing a blocker or trapper — though this may be the first time we’ve seen it happen with a leg pad.
The only piece of goalie gear that can stop play is the mask. In the NHL, play is stopped when a goaltender loses his mask, as long as his team has control of the puck or if there’s no “immediate and impending scoring opportunity” for the opposing team (Rule 9.6).
When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has control of the puck, the play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask. When the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity. This stoppage of play must be made by the Referee.
When a goalkeeper deliberately removes his helmet and/or face mask in order to secure a stoppage of play, the Referee shall stop play as outlined above and, in this case, assess the goalkeeper a minor penalty for delaying the game. If the goalkeeper deliberately removes his helmet and/or face mask when the opposing team is on a breakaway, the Referee shall award a penalty shot to the nonoffending team.
The IIHF has similar rules, with the addition of Rule 200(i) which calls for the officials to stop play when the goalie is hit in the mask with the puck, provided there’s no immediate scoring chance.
i. If a goaltender is hit in the facemask by a shot during game action, the referee may stop play if there is no immediate scoring chance.
ii. If a goaltender’s facemask comes off during game action with his team in possession of the puck, the referee will stop play immediately.
iii. If a goaltender’s facemask comes off during game action with the opposing team in possession of the puck, the referee will stop play if there is no immediate scoring chance.
iv. If a goaltender’s facemask comes off during game action and the puck enters the goal net before the referee blows his whistle to stop game action, the goal will count.
v. If the puck hits a goaltender’s facemask and goes into the goal net, the goal will count.
None of these do anything to address a goaltender who’s lost a glove – or worse, a leg pad. Short of tossing your mask off to hopefully stop play, there’s nothing to do but play to the whistle…
or the goal horn.