The updated NHL Rule Book is hot off the presses with some minor tweaks for the 2023-24 season. Here’s the rundown on the changes: 



The league has made two changes to word choices throughout the rulebook:

  • Linesman” has been changed to “Linesperson
  • Fouls” are now termed as “Infractions

Rule Updates

Helmets Required In Warmups (Rule 9.6)

The NHL added a requirement during last season to mandate helmets in warm-ups. That change – which applies to anyone joining the league in 2019 or later –  is now officially part of the rulebook:

It is mandatory for all players who entered the NHL beginning with the 2019-2020 season or later to wear their helmet during pre-game warm-up. To be clear, all players who entered the League prior to the 2019-2020 season and who are currently playing are exempt from this mandate.


Illegal Sticks get their own Rule (Rule 10.8)

There’s nothing new in this section, aside from collecting already-existing conditions under a new rule. 

An illegal stick is defined as one that, following a measurement, is deemed not conforming to league rules.

An illegal stick is also defined as one when a player has not been legally handed one by his players’ bench or from a teammate.

And finally, an illegal stick is anytime a player on the ice attempts to play the game with an opponent’s stick.



Puck-in-Netting Challenges Clarified (Rule 38.2)

The Coach’s Challenge rule concerning missed stoppages has been updated to clarify the eligible situations for a challenge when the puck contacts the spectator netting.  Those plays are eligible for a challenge regardless of which team caused the puck to go up into the netting.  This update is consistent with how the rule was applied in the 2022-23 season.  New addition is in bold below:

A play that results in a “GOAL” call on the ice where the defending team claims that the play should have been stopped by reason of any play occurring in the offensive zone that should have resulted in a play stoppage caused by the attacking team but did not. The one exception to this provision is when the puck strikes the spectator netting caused by either team and goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials… 


Line Changes on Delayed Offside (Rule 83.1)

The offside rule has been updated to address the very specific situation where a player goes off for a line change in the attacking zone during a delayed offisde. This is not a change to the current rule, just an additional explanation to specifically cover this scenario – which, as Gabriel Landeskog and the Colorado Avalanche know, has happened before. 

If, during a delayed off-side, an attacking player in the attacking zone elects to proceed to his players’ bench (which extends into the attacking zone) to be replaced by a teammate, he shall be considered to have cleared the zone when both skates are off the ice and the Linesperson judges him to have left the playing surface.

It was no goal then, and still no goal under the recent rewrite.


Cross-Reference Updates and Cleanups

A handful of updates have been made to refer back to similar rules or clean up the verbiage used

  • Rule 37.2 – Eliminate “the puck has been dropped” from the rule, which already references when play resumes.
  • Rule 49.2 (Kicking) – Refers to Rule 78.5 for kicked-in goals. 
  • Rule 57.4 (Tripping) – Refers to Rule 25 (Awarded Goals)
  • Rule 78.5 (Disallowed Goals) – An update to the portion on displaced nets (x) points back to the Delaying the Game rule. Update in bold below.
    • When the net becomes displaced accidentally. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal. However, if this occurs as a result of the actions of a defending player, refer to 63.7.