Substitutions are one of the most unique aspects of ice hockey. Hockey is different from other sports where players must wait until a play-stoppage, or check in with an official. In ice hockey, players are allowed to enter and exit play freely in the middle of the action.
A substitution is legal as long as each team maintains the correct total number of players on the ice (six, including the goalie). Seem confusing? Don’t stress. This guide explains when to change lines on the fly, and offers some tips on how to effectively call for a substitution.
On the Attack
You should only change on the fly when your team is on the attack. Don’t skate to the bench for a line change if the puck is in your defensive zone. “On the attack” means that your team is safely in possession of the puck, or that your team just dumped the puck into the offensive zone. Regardless, never change when the opposing team has the puck. This is the most important part of any line change....