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What are the conditions that make a hand pass legal or illegal?

I have seen players swat the puck to a teammate and not get whistled for the a hand pass and I have see players get whistled for what seems to be the same play.

Have these rules changed in somewhat recent times? I don't remember ever seeing the play continue on a hand pass. I started noticing it in the last year or two.

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This is covered under rule 67 in the NHL rule book.

67.1 Handling Puck - A player shall be permitted to stop or “bat” a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the Referee, he has deliberately directed the puck to a teammate in any zone other than the defending zone, in which case the play shall be stopped and a face-off conducted (see Rule 79 – Hand Pass). Play will not be stopped for any hand pass by players in their own defending zone.

Basically you can only make a legal hand pass if you are in the defensive zone.

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    This rule is virtually identical in amateur/international rules as well; you can hand pass in your defensive zone only, but you may stop the puck with your hand in other zones provides you don't hold and carry it or bat it toward your teammate (basically you catch it, drop it at your feet and play it with your stick from there). – KeithS Sep 29 '15 at 15:27

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