Hockey Jargon

Snowing the Goalie: Mastering the Art and Understanding the Consequences in Hockey

Title: Mastering the Art of Snowing: Understanding the Tactics and Implications in HockeyHockey is a game known for its intense physicality and strategic plays. As with any sport, there are certain maneuvers and tactics that players utilize to gain an advantage over their opponents.

One such move is “snowing” the goalie, a technique that can be both an annoyance and an effective psychological tool in the game. In this article, we will explore what it means to “snow” someone in hockey, the techniques involved, the players who employ this tactic, and the reactions it elicits.

What it means to “snow” someone in hockey

Definition and occurrence of snowing in hockey

In hockey, “snowing” refers to intentionally showering the opposing goalie with ice shavings, usually after a hard quick stop or turn. It is often seen as an unsportsmanlike penalty and can result in consequences for the team responsible.

Snowing typically occurs when a player skates towards the goalie at high speed and abruptly stops, causing the accumulated snow on the ice to be kicked up towards the goalie’s face, obstructing their vision.

Players involved in snowing and reactions to it

Typically, it is the forwards or defensemen who engage in snowing tactics, as they are the ones closest to the opposing team’s goalie. The intention behind snowing is to distract the goalie and create difficulty in tracking the puck, increasing the likelihood of scoring.

However, goalies are well aware of this tactic and are often prepared for such attempts. When a player attempts to snow a goalie, it often leads to a physical altercation.

The goalie’s teammates will rush to defend their netminder, resulting in pushing, shoving, and occasionally even fights. The reaction of the opposing team’s players and fans can range from anger and frustration to retaliatory actions against the player responsible for snowing.

Technique of snowing a goalie

Using a hard quick stop to create snow

To execute a successful snowing maneuver, a player must perform a hard and sudden stop with his skates while applying pressure on the ice. This action causes the blades to dig into the ice, shaving off fine particles and propelling them towards the goalie.

By using the force of the stop, the player can project an impressive amount of snow directly at the goalie, obstructing their vision temporarily.

Recognizing the opportunity to snow the goalie

The perfect opportunity to snow the goalie arises when a player is skating fast towards the net and decides to make a quick turn with their skates. As the player turns, they exert force onto their blades, creating a plume of snow that is projected towards the goalie.

Timing and precision are crucial in order to catch the goalie off-guard and maximize the distraction. Tips for successfully snowing the goalie:

– Skating at high speed towards the net gives the player more force to create a larger snow shower.

– Choose the right moment to execute the technique when the goalie’s attention is focused, increasing the likelihood of catching them unaware. – Practice the quick stop and turn in order to perfect the technique, ensuring the desired effect is achieved.


Snowing in hockey is a tactic that can be both frustrating and effective. While it is often viewed as unsportsmanlike, players continue to use this method to gain an advantage in a game filled with adrenaline and competitiveness.

By understanding what it means to “snow” someone in hockey, the techniques involved, and the reactions it elicits, players and fans alike can appreciate the strategical nature and intensity of the game.

Penalty for snowing a goalie

Intentional snowing as an unsportsmanlike penalty

In the game of hockey, intentionally snowing a goalie is considered an unsportsmanlike penalty. When a player deliberately showers the opposing goalie with ice shavings, they can be assessed a 2-minute minor penalty, resulting in their team being shorthanded.

This penalty is enforced to discourage players from engaging in unsporting behavior and to maintain a fair and respectful playing environment. The act of intentionally snowing a goalie is seen as disrespectful and can lead to unnecessary altercations on the ice.

By obstructing the goalie’s vision with snow, the player is attempting to disrupt their concentration and make it harder for them to track the puck. This tactic is not only frustrating for the goalie but also dangerous, as it can cause them to lose sight of the puck and potentially lead to goals being scored against them.

Determining intention behind snowing

One challenge in penalizing snowing is determining the player’s intention. Intentional snowing occurs when a player purposefully showers the goalie with snow, taking advantage of their vulnerable position.

However, there are instances where snowing may be incidental or unavoidable. Factors considered in determining intention include the distance between the player and the opponent, the goalie’s ability to cover the puck, and whether the snow job was unnecessary.

If a player excessively snows the goalie long after a play or puck possession has ended, it is generally seen as intentional and may result in a penalty. However, if snowing occurs unintentionally during a play towards the net, where the player is charging and stopping quickly to avoid contact, it may be considered incidental.

The subjectivity of determining intention behind snowing has been a topic of debate in hockey. Referees must make split-second decisions based on their judgment, which can sometimes lead to disagreements from players, coaches, and fans alike.

Despite the subjectivity, it is crucial for the officials to enforce penalties consistently to maintain the integrity of the game.

Incidental snowing scenarios

Snowing during play towards the net

There are situations in hockey where snowing a goalie may occur incidentally, particularly during plays towards the net. When players charge at high speed towards the net with the puck, they often need to make quick stops to avoid crashing into the goalie or causing severe contact.

These abrupt stops can create significant amounts of snow, unintentionally obstructing the goalie’s vision. While this may be an unintended consequence, the primary objective for the player is to protect both themselves and the goalie.

In these scenarios, players are more focused on avoiding physical harm and maintaining fair play rather than intentionally snowing the goalie.

Benefits and opinions on being snowed

Despite the frustrations it may cause, some goalies actually find being snowed refreshing. The sudden burst of cool air and snow can offer a brief respite from the intense physical exertion and heat inside their equipment.

Some goalies even use it as an opportunity to temporarily cool down, regain focus, and assess the next play. On the other hand, there are goalies who strongly dislike being snowed, as it disrupts their visual tracking and can create temporary chaos in the crease.

The opinion on being snowed varies from goalie to goalie, and it largely depends on personal preference and the specific circumstances of the game.


In the high-tempo and aggressive world of hockey, snowing a goalie plays a controversial role. Intentional snowing is penalized as an unsportsmanlike penalty due to its disruptive and potentially dangerous effects.

Determining intention behind snowing can be subjective, but penalties must be assessed consistently to uphold the spirit of fair play. Understanding the incidental and unavoidable nature of snowing during plays toward the net is also essential.

In these scenarios, players prioritize safety and fair play rather than intentionally obstructing the goalie’s vision. Ultimately, the opinions on being snowed vary among goalies, ranging from finding it refreshing to being highly disruptive.

By exploring the tactics, penalties, and nuances surrounding snowing in hockey, players and fans can gain a deeper understanding of the game’s intricacies.

Purpose of penalizing intentional snowing

Eliminating unsportsmanlike behavior

One of the primary purposes of penalizing intentional snowing in hockey is to eliminate unsportsmanlike behavior on the ice. By penalizing players who engage in this tactic, the sport aims to promote fair play, respect for opponents, and good sportsmanship.

Intentionally snowing the goalie is often viewed as being a “jerk” move within the hockey community. It disrupts the flow of the game and can be seen as disrespectful towards the goalie, who is already in a vulnerable position defending the net.

The National Hockey League (NHL) and other governing bodies of the game recognize the importance of upholding the integrity of the sport and expect players to compete within the boundaries of fair play. Referees play a crucial role in identifying and penalizing unsportsmanlike behavior like intentional snowing.

It is their responsibility to enforce the rules and regulations of the game, ensuring that players face consequences for their actions. By penalizing players who intentionally snow the goalie, the referees send a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated.

Player safety and fairness in the game

Penalizing intentional snowing is not only about upholding the spirit of fair play, but also about prioritizing player safety and maintaining a level playing field. The enforcement of penalties helps ensure that all players can compete in a safe and fair environment.

Player safety is a critical aspect of any sport, and hockey is no exception. Intentionally showering the goalie with snow can cause a momentarily obstruction of their vision, increasing the risk of injury to both the goalie and other players on the ice.

By penalizing this behavior, the game seeks to protect the safety and well-being of all individuals involved. In addition to player safety, penalizing intentional snowing also contributes to maintaining fairness within the game.

The rules and regulations set by the NHL and other governing bodies provide a framework for fair competition. When a player intentionally snows the goalie, it can create an unfair advantage by disrupting the goalie’s ability to track the puck.

By penalizing these actions, the game ensures that competition remains fair and that success is based on skill and strategy rather than unsporting tactics. It is worth noting that the subjectivity of penalty calls can sometimes be a point of contention.

Referees must make judgments in real time, and there may be instances where the assessment of intentional snowing is debatable. However, rulebooks and league officials continually work to minimize subjectivity and provide clear guidelines for penalties, allowing players and teams to compete on equal footing.


Penalizing intentional snowing serves multiple purposes within the game of hockey. By penalizing players who engage in this unsportsmanlike behavior, the sport emphasizes the importance of fair play, respect for opponents, and good sportsmanship.

Moreover, it prioritizes player safety and ensures fairness on the ice. The enforcement of penalties aims to eliminate unsportsmanlike behavior and discourage players from engaging in actions that disrupt the flow of the game and jeopardize the safety of individuals involved.

Referees play a crucial role in identifying and penalizing intentional snowing, ensuring that players face appropriate consequences for their actions. Overall, the penalties associated with intentional snowing serve as a reminder to players that hockey is a game of skill, strategy, and respect, and that success should be achieved through fair competition.

In conclusion, understanding the tactics and implications of “snowing” in hockey is crucial for players and fans alike. Intentionally showering the goalie with ice shavings is an unsportsmanlike penalty that aims to eliminate disrespectful behavior and maintain fairness and player safety in the game.

By penalizing this tactic, the sport upholds the values of fair play, respect, and good sportsmanship. It reminds us that success should be achieved through skill and strategy rather than unsporting tactics.

Let us strive to compete with integrity and honor, making hockey a game that is enjoyable for all while embracing the true spirit of the sport.

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