Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google

Rule 1 - Rink

1.1 Rink - National Hockey League games shall be played on an ice surface known as the “Rink” and must adhere to the dimensions and specifications prescribed by the League and these rules. No ice markings shall be permitted except those provided for under these rules unless express written permission has been obtained from the League. On-ice logos must not interfere with any official ice markings provided for the proper playing of the game. In the interval between periods, the ice surface shall be flooded unless mutually agreed to the contrary.

1.2 Dimensions - The official size of the rink shall be two hundred feet (200') long and eighty-five feet (85') wide. The corners shall be rounded in the arc of a circle with a radius of twenty-eight feet (28'). See diagram below.



1.3 Boards and Glass - The rink shall be surrounded by a wall known as the “boards” which shall extend not less than forty inches (40'') and not more than forty-eight inches (48'') above the level of the ice surface. The ideal height of the boards above the ice surface shall be forty-two inches (42''). Except for the official markings provided for in these rules, the entire playing surface and the boards shall be white in color except the kick plate at the bottom of the boards, which shall be light yellow in color.

Any variations from any of the foregoing dimensions shall require official authorization by the League.

The boards shall be constructed in such a manner that the surface facing the ice shall be smooth and free of any obstruction or any object that could cause injury to players.

Affixed to the boards and extending vertically shall be approved safety glass extending eight feet (8’) above the boards at each end of the rink and not less than five feet (5’) along both sides of the rink. The glass and gear to hold them in position shall be properly padded or protected. Protective glass shall be required in front of the penalty benches to provide for the safety of the players on and off the ice. All equipment used to hold the glass or screens in position shall be mounted on the boards on the side away from the playing surface.

1.4 Spectator Netting – Spectator netting shall be hung in the ends of the arena, of a height, type, and in a manner approved by the League.

1.5 Lines - Eleven feet (11') from each end of the rink and in the center of a red line two inches (2") wide drawn completely across the width of the ice and continued vertically up the side of the boards, regulation goal posts and nets shall be set in such a manner as to remain stationary during the progress of a game.

The red line, two inches (2'') wide, between the goal posts on the ice and extended completely across the rink, shall be known as the “GOAL LINE.”

In front of each goal, a “GOAL CREASE” area shall be marked by a red line two inches (2'') in width.

The ice area between the two goals shall be divided into three parts by lines, twelve inches (12'') in width, and blue in color, drawn sixty-four feet (64') out from the goal lines, and extended completely across the rink, parallel with the goal lines, and continued vertically up the side of the boards. (Paint code PMS 286.)

There shall also be a line, twelve inches (12'') in width and red in color, drawn completely across the rink in center ice, parallel with the goal lines and continued vertically up the side of the boards, known as the “CENTER LINE.” This line shall contain regular interval markings of a uniform distinctive design, which will readily distinguish it from the two blue lines, the outer edges of which must be continuous. (Paint code PMS 186.)

1.6 Division of Ice Surface - That portion of the ice surface in which the goal is situated shall be called the “DEFENDING ZONE” of the Team defending that goal; the central portion shall be known as the “NEUTRAL ZONE,” and the portion farthest from the defended goal as the “ATTACKING ZONE.”

1.7 Goal Crease / Referee Crease - The goal crease shall be laid out as follows: One foot (1') outside of each goal post a two-inch (2'') line shall be painted extending four feet, six inches (4'6") in length. These lines shall be at right angles to the goal line. A semi-circle line six feet (6') in radius and two inches (2") in width shall be drawn using the center of the goal line as the center point and connecting both ends of the side of the crease. On the side of the crease lines, four feet (4') from the goal line, extend a five-inch (5") line into the crease.



The goal crease area shall include all the space outlined by the crease lines and extending vertically four feet (4') to the level of the top of the goal frame. The area outlined by the crease line and the goal line shall be painted a light blue color. (Paint code PMS 298.)

The area inside the goal frame to the goal line shall be painted a gloss white color.

On the ice immediately in front of the Penalty Timekeeper’s seat there shall be marked in red on the ice a semi-circle of ten foot (10') radius and two inches (2'') in width which shall be known as the “REFEREE’S CREASE.”

1.8 Goalkeeper’s Restricted Area - A restricted trapezoid-shaped area behind the goal will be laid out as follows: Five feet (5') outside of each goal crease (six feet (6') from each goal post), a two-inch (2") red line shall be painted extending from the goal line to a point on the end of the rink ten feet (10') from the goal crease (eleven feet (11') from the goal post) and continuing vertically up the kick plate (see diagram on the page iv preceding the table of contents). (Paint code PMS 186).

1.9 Face-off Spots and Circles - A circular blue spot, twelve inches (12'') in diameter, shall be marked exactly in the center of the rink; and with this spot as a center, a circle of fifteen feet (15') radius shall be marked with a blue line two inches (2'') in width. Two red spots two feet (2') in diameter shall be marked on the ice in the neutral zone five feet (5') from each blue line. Within the face-off spot, draw two parallel lines three inches (3'') from the top and bottom of the spot. The area within the two lines shall be painted red, the remainder shall be painted white. The spots shall be forty-four feet (44') apart and each shall be a uniform distance from the adjacent boards.



In both end zones and on both sides of each goal, red face-off spots and circles shall be marked on the ice. The face-off spots shall be two feet (2') in diameter. Within the face-off spot, draw two parallel lines three inches (3'') from the top and bottom of the spot. The area within the two lines shall be painted red, the remainder shall be painted white.

The circles shall be two inches (2'') wide with a radius of fifteen feet (15') from the center of the face-off spots. At the outer edge of both sides of each face-off circle and parallel to the goal line shall be marked two red lines, two inches (2'') wide and two feet (2') in length and three feet (3') apart.

One foot away from the outer edge of the face-off spot, two lines shall be drawn parallel with the side boards that shall be four feet (4')in length and eighteen inches (18") apart. Parallel to the end boards, commencing at the end of the line nearest to the face-off spot, a line shall extend two feet ten inches (2'10") in length. All lines shall be two inches (2") in width. See diagram on page v preceding the table of contents.

The location of the face-off spots shall be fixed in the following manner:

A long a line twenty feet (20') from each goal line and parallel to it, mark two points twenty-two feet (22') on both sides of the straight line joining the center of the two goals. Each such point shall be the center of a face-off spot and circle.

Return to Top of Page >

Quote of the Day

It's such a privilege to be one of these 80 great players to do this milestone, and it doesn't get better than this doing it where I started. It means a lot to me. A big thanks goes to all the players tonight who helped me to achieve that and also all the players through my career.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa
2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series