Offside in ice hockey: what is it and why is it important?

Ice hockey is one of the most intense and physically demanding sports. It has many rules, but, among all of them, offside in field hockey is essential to understand in order to determine the outcome of a play.

However, if you are a senior player, both the game and the rules of ice hockey can be overwhelming. For that reason, in this article we will try to explain to you in a simple way what offside in field hockey is and what its importance is. This will help you prepare for your next game, so take note!

What is offside in field hockey?

Offside in ice hockey is a rule that prevents an attacking team from gaining an unfair advantage. A player is considered to be in an offside position when both of the player's skates cross the blue field hockey line before the puck completely crosses it.

However, if the player who is in charge of attacking the offensive zone only keeps one of his skates on or behind the blue line, play is not altered, i.e., it is not considered offside in field hockey.

Types of offside in ice hockey

In case you didn't know, there are three types of offsides in field hockey, each of which meets different outcomes. Their names are: delayed offside, intentional offside and offside deflections. Here's what each one is all about.

Hors-jeu retardé

It is considered a delayed offsidewhen a player is already inside the offensive zone before the puck is touched by him or another player of his team. On the other hand, it is also usually declared a penalty when a player of the attacking team touches the puck during the recovery, this is one of the most frequent offsides in field hockey.

Offside deviations

Offside deflections in field hockey are the rarest occurrences during a game, but can still be considered by the referee. An example of this might be when a player from the defending team clears the puck and hits an official in the neutral zone before being returned to the defensive zone.

Intentional offside

As the name implies, intentional offside is when the referee identifies that an attacking team is attempting to be flagged offside. To do so, a team gets one or two players to stay positioned in the offensive zone and another player crosses the blue line with his puck.

Why is offside important in ice hockey?

Offside in field hockey is important because it serves to ensure that a player from an attacking team does not remain in the attacking zone all the time. Therefore, if this rule did not exist, players could be in the opposing team's goal waiting for the puck to pass so that they could score it in the goal.

Because of this, the flow of the ice hockey game would be affected and, practically speaking, it would also affect the overall quality.

What happens when offside is signaled in field hockey?

Of the field hockey zones the blue line is the one that determines whether offside is signaled. In the event that a referee declares offside in field hockey,,the referee is responsible for blowing the whistle to stop play immediately. Of course, the referee must shout "offside" so that the other players understand why the game was stopped.

The referee shall then signal the location where the infringement occurred by a hand motion. Then, the puck must go to the neutral zone for a neutral serve on the same side where the infringement occurred.