The puck has to entirely cross the goal line in the net to count as a goal. Does that ​include a case where the puck is standing vertically on end parallel to the goal line but just a sliver beyond it, but when it falls or settles to the ice, would be touching the line?

I guess I'm asking, does the puck need to settle or be in a position to land flat entirely beyond the goal line to count or can it count by standing on end parallel to the line but a sliver beyond it, but then is touching the line when it settles flat?

I understand that the NHL has had controversy on some of these kind of "goals" or "no goals", because it can be tough to tell. I just want the official ruling on my scenario and how it would be decided.


2 Answers 2


The puck has to entirely cross the line. If it happens to be on edge, and all of the puck is across the line, how is that not entirely across the line?

The disposition of whether it is a goal or not has nothing to do with it's final resting position. Many pucks entirely cross the line, strike the netting or a back post, and come back out. One that hit a part of the top frame, deep, might never touch the ice, at all, while across the goal. And yet, those goals all count.

Why? There is nothing in the rule that specifies any eventual position on the ice as part of the criteria. All of the puck being physically across the line is just that. What it does after being entirely across the line is meaningless, because there is no requirement for anything else.

In ice hockey, a goal is scored when the puck completely crosses the goal line between the two goal posts and below the goal crossbar.

It's a very, very simple concept, and, thus, not difficult to apply.

Wikipedia: ice hockey goal

  • 1
    Wikipedia is a decent source for casual reading, but given that what you've quoted isn't actually what's written in the rulebook, I think it makes this answer not as strong as it could be. Rule 78.4 in the NHL Official Rules 2016-2017 contains is the relevant text if you feel like updating the reference. Apr 10, 2017 at 22:57

I've got it on good authority that this is indeed a goal. If anyone for some reason disagrees, well, you're probably wrong. Any time the puck completely crosses, even on end, it's a goal.

  • Could you explain what this "good authority" is? This does seem like the only sensible answer, but it would be much better if you explained how you are now convinced of it.
    – Fillet
    Mar 29, 2017 at 19:01
  • I got someone who works with the NHL refs as part of a partnership to field it. Scouting The Refs
    – Matt
    Mar 29, 2017 at 21:46
  • What about a reference? Maybe the 2016-17 NHL Rulebook? Unlike using "good authority", other users can then verify your answer. Apr 10, 2017 at 22:42

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