The Kraken and the NHL have finally arrived in Seattle. But before the puck drops on your new favorite sport Oct. 12, let's make sure you're ready.
Do you know where the crease is located? Or what all those circles on the ice are for? At the very least, you're familiar with zambonis.
Whether you're a complete newbie eager to learn the basics or an underground Seattle hockey fan looking for a refresher, we're here to help.
From the lines and zones that divide an NHL rink to players' positions and responsibilities, scroll down for a proper introduction to hockey.
Center red line
Separates the ice in half and is used to judge “icing” calls.
Icing occurs when a player, before first crossing the center line, clears the puck across the length of the ice without it being playable by an opponent. The result is a whistled stoppage and a faceoff in the offending team’s end without substituting any fresh players to the ice. The icing rule exists to prevent teams from dumping the puck down the ice to ease pressure from opponents.
Run 75 feet from the end boards in each zone
For a play to be onside (allowed), the puck must cross the blue line before the skate blade of the first attacking player.
Red goal lines
Run the width of the ice, 11 feet from the end boards
A goal is awarded when the puck travels completely across the goal line directly in front of either net. “Icing” is automatically called once a shot from behind the center line crosses the goal line without being touched by an opponent.
The 50-foot space between blue lines on either side of center ice.
Each team’s bench is located within the neutral zone and on the same side of the rink. Coaches stand directly behind their players. Before 1978-79, the benches were on opposite sides of the rink, but it gave the home team an advantage of having a shorter distance between the penalty box and the bench.
A half-circle area in front of the penalty box where the referee stands while issuing a penalty or speaking to the timekeeper. Any player entering the crease while a referee performs these duties can be issued a misconduct penalty.
Sin bin (penalty box)
Officially known as the “penalty bench," the penalty box is on the opposite side of the rank of the team benches. It is surrounded by 5-foot glass to protect players from errant pucks and sticks, and to separate them from fans. The “box” consists of two penalty benches – one for each team – with a scorer/timekeeper area between them. The benches can hold up to 10 people, including the timekeeper. Players from both teams once sat together in penalty boxes, but incidents led to timekeepers wearing helmets and the league separating the opposing penalty benches with plexiglass.
The wooden or fiberglass walls surrounding the ice surface. They are 40 to 48 inches high, with the NHL considering 42 inches the ideal height.
For safety, plexiglass extends 8 feet above the boards at each end of the rink. The remaining glass surrounding the arena is at least 5 feet above the boards to protect spectators from pucks that leave the ice.
Safety netting is mounted above the glass behind both ends of the rink, where pucks often leave the ice at higher rates of speed. Netting became mandatory after a 13-year-old fan died after being struck in the head by a puck.
Goalkeeper's crease area
Unless the puck enters first, this is the territory a goalie can operate in without interference by an opponent. Crease borders start one foot outside each goal post and extend outward by 4.5 feet, where they are then connected by an arc with a 6-foot radius. The interior of the crease is blue and often referred to by TV broadcasters as "the blue paint."
Indicated by red lines behind the net is the goalie’s trapezoid. The lines begin 8 feet outside each goal post and extend diagonally backward toward the end boards until they are 11 feet out. The goalie can only play the puck in the trapezoid and crease areas, while anywhere else is a penalty.
POSITION: Front of the team’s goal.
AREA TO COVER: The team’s goal.
Defensemen (Left and right)
POSITION: Between the forward line and the goalie.
AREA TO COVER: Defensibly, they lock the left and right corners of the ice. Offensively, they cover the top of the offense zone (blue line to red center line).
Forward wingers (Left and right)
POSITION: On either side of the center on the offense line.
AREA TO COVER: From the center of the faceoff circle to the corner in front of the opposing goalie.
POSITION: Middle of the offense line.
AREA TO COVER: From the front of their net to the blue line and to the faceoff dot.