Winnipeg’s Nate Thompson used his skate to deflect the puck in for a goal against the Calgary Flames.

The officials reviewed the play before confirming the call on the ice: Winnipeg Jets goal. The refs, along with the Situation Room, felt there was no distinct kicking motion on the play.


A player is permitted to deflect the puck with his skate. Previously, the rule was tighter, requiring that a player be in the act of stopping if they turn their skate to direct the puck. That was changed a few seasons back to allow for intentional redirections via the skate, provided there was no distinct kicking motion.

In this case, Thompson did lift his skate and extend his leg in order to make contact with the puck. His movement redirected – but did not propel – the puck past Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom and into the net.

“I’m not sure what exactly the rules are,” said Winnipeg’s Nik Ehlers, after the Jets’ 5-1 win.  “I didn’t think there was a kicking motion. He can’t get his stick on the ice so he tries to get his stick on that puck and he did that perfectly. To be honest, I had no idea what was going to happen because I don’t exactly know the rules about skate goals. All I know is that, to me, it was not a kicking motion.”

Guys, c’mon.  Read the book.  Hang on. We’ll help you out here.

Here’s Rule 49 on Kicking:

A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net with his skate/foot.

A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal. A puck that is directed into the net by an attacking player’s skate shall be a legitimate goal as long as no distinct kicking motion is evident.

Rule 37 covers more about kicked-in goals:

Plays that involve a puck entering the net as a direct result of a “distinct kicking motion” shall be ruled NO GOAL. A “distinct kicking motion,” for purposes of Video Review, is one where the video makes clear that an attacking Player has deliberately propelled the puck with a kick of his foot or skate and the puck subsequently enters the net.

A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking Player’s skate who does not use a “distinct kicking motion” shall be ruled a GOAL. A puck that is directed into the net by an attacking Players’ skate shall also be ruled a GOAL, as long as no “distinct kicking motion” is evident.

Check that last rule. It’s all about ‘propelled’ vs. ‘deflected’ when it comes to skate goals.  If the player propels the puck, that’s likely going to be no goal.  If they move their foot to deflect it, even if that means taking a skate off the ice or moving their leg, it’s a goal.


The NHL video rulebook provides some additional explanations and examples of kicking the puck:


Based on that, the officials got this one right.

Referees for the game were Eric Furlatt (#27) and Michael Markovic (#47). Linesmen were Derek Nansen (#70) and Michel Cormier (#76).