In hockey, they often challenge penalty calls, goals, etc.

Sometimes a goal is called back, sometimes it's awarded. Are you allowed to challenge everything? Why don't they often challenge offside calls? What stops a coach challenging every call against his team, just in case it gets called back?


There are no challenges in the NHL. All replays are automatic: goals are reviewed by the video judge, with help from the war room in Toronto. Coaches do not have the ability to initiate replays in any form. Penalties are never reviewable, unless the timing relates to a goal. All goals are reviewed (at least cursorily) by the Video Goal Judge, and further review may be undertaken if he or the referees determine it necessary.

This is explained in the NHL Official Rules, where it lists the jobs of the Video Goal Judge (38.1):

(i) He will review replays of disputed goals when requested to do so by the Referees.

(ii) He will review replays of disputed goals when he observes an incident that was undetected by on-ice officials.

It later mentions that he reviews all goals:

38.2 Goals – Every goal is to be reviewed by the Video Goal Judge.

The review may not be in all that much detail, and may be short enough to not delay the game; it also may be in more detail and may slightly or significantly delay the game, if needed. This is somewhat covered in the rules.

Finally, it lists that the Video Goal Judge may also determine the correct game clock setting, which appears to be the only non-goal related act that is subject to replay.

  • so why are some goals reviewed and others are not? who decides?
    – cantsay
    Oct 19 '14 at 22:47
  • The referees request the Video Judge to do so. I'll clarify in the answer.
    – Joe
    Oct 20 '14 at 1:06

As of the 2015-16 season, NHL coaches are given one timeout per game. There are two scenarios where a challenge is allowed:

  1. A suspected offside occurs before a goal. The coach can challenge the play stating that the play is offside.

  2. Goaltender interference occurs, preventing the goalie from being able to make the save, resulting in a goal.

In either case, if the play is deemed fine, the team loses their timeout and ability to make future challenges.

On the other hand, if a challenge is successful, the team keeps their timeout and can make later challenges. As well, the clock gets set back to the end of play, or to when the offside occurred.

If a team uses their timeout, they also lose their ability to challenge future plays.

The play only gets to this process if it gets through the quick review that happens on every goal, as described in this earlier answer, however that automatic review doesn't include offside review and is very brief.

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