Penalty Box: 10 Dos & Don’ts

Penalty Box
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What to do (and not do) when in the penalty box

By Warren Tabachnick

Penalty box 10 dos & don’ts

You’re busted! Maybe it’s an interference call that gets you sent to the penalty box, or it could be a call for roughing or tripping. There are as many possibilities as there are penalties in the rulebooks. Whatever the reason, sooner or later every hockey player will find themselves directed to the sin bin by the referee.

Here are the penalty box dos and don’ts for proper decorum before, during, and after your penalty:

DON’T: Argue with the ref about your call. Once the whistle is blown, he/she will not change their mind. After all, it’s (hopefully) only two minutes out of your life.

DO: Proceed to the sin bin in a calm and respectful manner. Game officials should never be harassed or mistreated. Most of them are there for the same reasons you are: to get out and have a good skate, while being a part of an exciting game of hockey. Like you, they are not there to be abused by anyone.

DON’T: Berate the scorekeeper or other officials while in the box. You’ll only risk having additional minutes added to your time. Obviously, once the ref’s arm goes up and the whistle blows any further displays of bad behavior could lead to a game misconduct or, worse, suspension.

DO: Accept your fate and do your time, then exit the box swiftly and without further incident.

DON’T: Be too hard on yourself. The penalty you took might have been one that saved your team from getting scored on. And sometimes it’s simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the right time, like an accidental high sticking or tripping call.

DO: While your team’s on the PK, take a moment to reflect on what you did do to land yourself in the box. If the call was accurate, avoid making the same mistake and putting your team at a disadvantage.

DON’T: Once your penalty runs out, don’t automatically assume you should just leave the box and join the play.

DO: Communicate with your bench: Before your penalty expires, find out whether will you be jumping out onto the ice or coming to the bench.

DON’T: What’s done is done. Don’t look to incur the wrath of the officials by acting out any personal vendetta.

DO: Keep cool and play your game. You didn’t drop all that cash to show up at a rink at 10 pm to sit in the penalty box and watch your teammates play. By following these 10 penalty box dos and don’ts, you’ll guarantee a more satisfying hockey experience for you, and your teammates.

Warren Tabachnick is the Editor & Publisher of He does his best to stay out of the box. is reader supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

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