Can a Player Pick Up a Goalie Stick?

Knowing the rules behind what to do with your goalie's stick when it breaks or drops can either win you a game or end with you heading to the box for a two-minute minor. To ensure that you don't wind up in the latter scenario, here’s the breakdown.

What We Cover:
NHL Rules
USA Hockey Rules
IIHF Rules
Related Resources

NHL Rules

If you’ve made it to the pros and still aren’t familiar with goalie stick rules, here’s your final reminder. NHL rules state that goalies who have dropped their sticks cannot have their teammates return their sticks to them by sliding them or throwing them. Do this, and you’ll cost your team a two-minute minor. Teammates can, however, return sticks by hand to their tendy; or, if they’re feeling risky, they can opt to give their goalie their own stick. Everyone loves a stick save made by a goalie with a defenseman’s twig.

If a goalie breaks his stick, NHL rules state that he can continue to play with it until the whistle is blown to stop play.

USA Hockey Rules

USA Hockey rules are slightly more strict about how goalies can swap and use other players’ sticks in the event that they lose or break their own. Any tendy that uses a stick that is less than two inches or more than three and a half inches wide during play, under the rules, receives a two-minute minor. Teammates, conversely, cannot make plays with a goalie's stick when bringing it out to net, but they can give their goalies new sticks during stoppage in play.

IIHF Rules

The IIHF structures rules regarding goalies’ sticks in a similar fashion to USA hockey. Teammates bringing their goalies new sticks, like under USA rules, cannot play the puck using a goalie’s stick and cannot throw goalie sticks from the bench to the net. Goaltenders, however, can play with broken sticks during a game and skate to the bench during playing time to get a new stick. During stoppage time, however, goalies cannot receive new sticks from the bench.

Related Resources

Goalie Stick Buying Guide
SidelineSwap Hockey

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