Inside the Rule Book: Rule 46 -- Fighting

December, 4, 2013
12/04/13
11:30
AM ET
46.1 Fighting – A fight shall be deemed to have occurred when at least one player punches or attempts to punch an opponent repeatedly or when two players wrestle in such a manner as to make it difficult for the Linesmen to intervene and separate the combatants.
The Referees are provided very wide latitude in the penalties with which they may impose under this rule. This is done intentionally to enable them to differentiate between the obvious degrees of responsibility of the participants either for starting the fighting or persisting in continuing the fighting. The discretion provided should be exercised realistically.

46.2 Aggressor – The aggressor in an altercation shall be the player who continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant.
A player must be deemed the aggressor when he has clearly won the fight but he continues throwing and landing punches in a further attempt to inflict punishment and/or injury on his opponent who is no longer in a position to defend himself.
A player who is deemed to be the aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct.
A player who is deemed to be the aggressor of an altercation will have this recorded as an aggressor of an altercation for statistical and suspension purposes.
A player who is deemed to be both the instigator and aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, a ten-minute misconduct (instigator) and a game misconduct penalty (aggressor).

46.3 Altercation - An altercation is a situation involving two players with at least one to be penalized.

46.4 Clearing the Area of a Fight - When a fight occurs, all players not engaged shall go immediately to the area of their players’ bench and in the event the altercation takes place at a players’ bench, the players on the ice from that team shall go to their defending zone.
Goalkeepers shall remain in their goal crease, except in the event the altercation takes place in the vicinity of the goal crease, and therefore shall obey the directions of the Referee. Failure to comply can result in penalties incurred for their involvement in and around the area and fines as outlined in 46.18.

46.5 Continuing or Attempting to Continue a Fight - Any player who persists in continuing or attempting to continue a fight or altercation after he has been ordered by the Referee to stop, or who resists a Linesman in the discharge of his duties shall, at the discretion of the Referee, incur a misconduct or game misconduct penalty in addition to any penalties imposed.

46.6 Helmets - No player may remove his helmet prior to engaging in a fight. If he should do so, he shall be assessed a two minute minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Helmets that come off in the course of and resulting from the altercation will not result in a penalty to either player.

46.7 Fighting After the Original Altercation - A game misconduct penalty shall be imposed on any player who is assessed a major penalty for fighting after the original altercation has started. Notwithstanding this rule, at the discretion of the Referee, the automatic game misconduct penalty may be waived for a player in the altercation if the opposing player was clearly the instigator of the altercation.

46.8 Fighting Off the Playing Surface - A misconduct or game misconduct penalty shall be imposed on any player involved in fighting off the playing surface or with another player who is off the playing surface. These penalties are in addition to any other time penalties assessed, including the major penalty for fighting. Whenever a Coach or other non-playing Club personnel becomes involved in an altercation with an opposing player, Coach or other non-playing Club personnel on or off the ice, shall be automatically suspended from the game, ordered to the dressing room and the matter will be reported to the Commissioner for further disciplinary action.

46.9 Fighting Other Than During the Periods of the Game - Any teams whose players become involved in an altercation, other than during the periods of the game, shall be fined pursuant to 46.20, in addition to any other appropriate penalties that may be imposed upon the participating players by supplementary discipline or otherwise.
Players involved in fighting other than during the periods of the game shall be assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct. Should one player be deemed the instigator of the fight, the game misconduct shall not be assessed to his opponent.
Any player who would be deemed to be an instigator pursuant to this rule at a time other than during the periods of the game shall be suspended pursuant to 46.20.
In the case of altercations taking place after the period or gamethe fine under this rule shall be assessed only in the event that an altercation is commenced after the period or game has terminated.
Should players come onto the ice from their players’ benches after the period ends and prior to the start of an altercation, they shall not be penalized if they remain in the vicinity of their players’ bench and provided they do not get involved in any altercations.

46.10 Fighting Prior to the Drop of the Puck – Unless this occurs prior to the start of the game or any period (see 46.9), a fight that occurs prior to the drop of the puck during the course of normal face-off, the altercation shall be penalized as if it occurred during the regular playing time.
When, in the opinion of the Referee that, specific personnel changes have be made by one or both teams late in a game and ultimately an altercation ensues, the appropriate penalties are to be assessed and the incident reported to the Commissioner immediately following the game for review and possible supplementary discipline under Rule 28.

46.11 Instigator - An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season.
A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct.
If the same player is deemed to be the instigator of a second altercation in the same game, he shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct.
When a player receives his third instigator penalty in one Regular season, he is automatically given a game misconduct following that third violation.
A player who is deemed to be both the instigator and aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, a ten-minute misconduct (instigator) and a game misconduct penalty (aggressor).
Any request by a Club to have an instigator penalty reviewed and rescinded by the League must follow the same procedure for game misconduct penalties as outlined in 23.2.

46.12 Instigator in Final Five Minutes of Regulation Time (or Anytime in Overtime) - A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, and a game misconduct penalty, subject to the conditions outlined in 46.22.

46.13 Jerseys - A player who deliberately removes his jersey prior to participating in an altercation or who is clearly wearing a jersey that has been modified and does not conform to Rule 9 – Uniforms, shall be assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a gamemisconduct. This is in addition to other penalties to be assessed to the participants of an altercation. If the altercation never materializes, the player would receive a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a ten-minute misconduct for deliberately removing his jersey.
A player who engages in a fight and whose jersey is removed (completely off his torso), other than through the actions of his opponent in the altercation or through the actions of the Linesman, shall be assessed a game misconduct penalty.
A player who engages in a fight and whose jersey is not properly “tied-down” (jersey properly fastened to pants), and who loses his jersey (completely off his torso) in that altercation, shall receive a game misconduct penalty. If the player loses his jersey despite the tie down remaining in tact and attached to the pants, the game misconduct is not applicable, however this must be reported to the League office so that the jersey and the tie down can be examined.
A player who is involved in an altercation, when the opponent has been identified as an instigator, shall not be assessed a game misconduct penalty if his jersey should be removed by an opponent or an official in the discharge of his duties, regardless as to whether or not he was properly “tied-down” (jersey properly fastened to pants).

46.14 Major Penalty – A major penalty shall be imposed on any player who fights.

46.15 Match Penalty - Any player wearing tape or any other material on his hands (below the wrist) who cuts or injures an opponent during an altercation will receive a match penalty in addition to any other penalties imposed including for fighting under this rule.
A match penalty shall be assessed to a player who punches an unsuspecting opponent and causes an injury.

46.16 Third Man In - A game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player who is the first to intervene (third man in) in an altercation already in progress except when a match penalty is being imposed in the original altercation. This penalty is in addition to any other penalties incurred in the same incident.
This rule also applies to subsequent players who elect to intervene in the same or other altercations during the same stoppage of play. Generally, this rule is applied when a fight occurs.

46.17 Fines and Suspensions – Aggressor – (see 46.2) A player who is deemed to be the aggressor for the third time in one Regular season shall be suspended for the next two regular season games of his team.
For the fourth aggressor penalty in the same Regular season, the player will be suspended for the next four games of his team. For the fifth aggressor penalty in the same Regular season, the player will be suspended for the next six games of his team.
During the Play-offs, any player who is deemed to be the aggressor for the second time shall be suspended automatically for the next Play-off game of his team. For each subsequent aggressor violation during the Play-offs, the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game.
Prior to the commencement of each Stanley Cup Final, a player will have his current aggressor violations removed from his current playoff record. They will remain part of his historical record.

46.18 Fines and Suspensions – Clearing the Area of a Fight - Failure by players (or goalkeepers as required) to clear the area of a fight shall, in addition to the other penalties that may be assessed, result in a fine to the team of $1,000 and the Coach of said team in the amount of $1,000.

46.19 Fines and Suspensions – Failure to Proceed Directly to Penalty Bench - Any player who, following a fight or other altercation in which he has been involved is broken up and for which he is penalized, fails to proceed directly and immediately to the penalty bench, or who causes any delay by retrieving his equipment (gloves, sticks, etc. shall be delivered to him at the penalty bench by teammates), shall incur an automatic fine of one hundred dollars ($100) in addition to all other penalties or fines incurred.

46.20 Fines and Suspensions – Fighting Other Than During the Periods of the Game - Any teams whose players become involved in an altercation, other than during the periods of the game (see 46.9), shall be fined automatically twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) in addition to any other appropriate penalties that may be imposed upon the participating players by supplementary discipline or otherwise.
Any player who would be deemed to be an instigator pursuant to this rule at a time other than during the periods of the game shall be suspended automatically for ten (10) games. Such determination may be made by the Referee at the time of the incident or subsequently by the Commissioner or his designee based upon such reports and other information as he deems sufficient, including but not limited to television tapes.

46.21 Fines and Suspensions – Instigator - A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation (see 46.11) for the third time in one Regular season shall be suspended for the next two regular season games of his team.
For the fourth instigator penalty in the same Regular season, the player will be suspended for the next four games of his team. For the fifth instigator penalty in the same Regular season, the player will be suspended for the next six games of his team.
During the Play-offs, any player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation for the second time shall be suspended automatically for the next Play-off game of his team. For each subsequent instigator violation during the Play-offs, the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game.
Prior to the commencement of each Stanley Cup Final, a player will have his current instigator violations removed from his current playoff record. They will remain part of his historical record.

46.22 Fines and Suspensions – Instigator in Final Five Minutes of Regulation Time (or Anytime in Overtime) - A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at anytime in overtime (see 46.12), shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident.
When the one-game suspension is imposed, the Coach shall be fined $10,000 – a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.
The suspension shall be served unless, upon review of the incident, the Director of Hockey Operations, at his discretion, deems the incident is not related to the score, previous incidents in the game or prior games, retaliatory in nature, “message sending”, etc. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. This suspension shall be served in addition to any other automatic suspensions a player may incur for an accumulation of three or more instigator penalties.
No team appeals will be permitted either verbally or in writing regarding the assessment of this automatic suspension as all incidents are reviewed by the Director of Hockey Operations as outlined above.

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