How to Break up a Hockey Fight

Ever wonder why hockey officials "let the players fight?" Well, they don't really let them, they take safety precautions for themselves and the players.


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    Never intervene in a fight while two or more players are throwing punches unless one player has a distinct advantage over the other while both players are on the ground or if one of the players signals for you to intervene (this will usually happen only when the players have tired themselves out).
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    The best time to intervene is when both players are on the ground or players are "hugging" and no longer throwing punches.
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    Always remove your whistle from your finger because this may be harmful to yourself, your partner or other players.
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    Remove player equipment that may have fallen from the immediate vicinity, because once again, it's a safety issue.
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    If the players tell you not to intervene even though it seems an appropriate time, do not intervene. They still wish to fight and may end up throwing punches again right as you skate in to break it up. However, if a player has a large advantage over the other player, break it up.
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    Intervene at the same time your partner does, grab players arms when they are standing up and pull away, or if on ground, do your best and work with your partner and get your bodies in between the two fighting. Pull them apart and put your and your partner's bodies between the fighters as they are escorted to the penalty box.


  • Work well with your partner.
  • Once again, never intervene while big swings are being thrown from both players.
  • Always remove your whistle.
  • Remember, fights usually happen during higher level hockey games, and some of these steps can be altered due to things such as size of players and such. If you think you can remove players without any chance of being harmed, i.e. players are smaller and younger, than take the opportunity to do so.
  • If you have any questions talk to other hockey officials or your local RIC.
  • If you are officiating in a league where adult or large juvenile players might fight, consider strength training and work out regularly. The extra muscle will make it a bit easier to break up the fight.
  • Talk to the players. If you tell them to stop, they will most likely get a punch or two in, and then stop on their own.


  • If you get injured, go straight to the hospital. Who cares about the game in a situation like that?

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Categories: Ice Hockey