Hockey 101: Boarding, Charging, and What Makes a Clean Hit?

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Class is in session.  Today we are going to talk about boarding, charging, and what a clean hit is.

Boarding is a penalty when a player checks a defenseless opposing player into the boards.  Defenseless means that he has his back to the checking player or no longer has a play on the puck.  You could say that boarding someone in hockey is similar to blindsiding a quarterback in football.  In both of those situations, you don’t see it coming until it’s too late.

That’s what Mike Weber did on Sunday night against the Penguins.  In the third period, Weber was called for boarding Penguins’ Bryan Rust.  Weber was given a major penalty and was ejected from the game.  A lot of folks thought he was going to get suspended but it was confirmed that he wouldn’t face a suspension.

This isn’t the first time the Caps have been faced with controversy surrounding a hit.  This hit by Tom Wilson on Brian Campbell gave him a five-minute major.  The NHL reviewed the hit for a possible suspension.

Charging is very similar to boarding.  It can take place along the boards or out in the open ice.  The difference is that the direct contact of the hit comes in terms of the distance traveled by the aggressor.  For example, if you’re on one side of the ice and the opponent is on the other side and you come right at them and slam into them violently, that’s a charge.

We all remember what Tom Wilson did in the playoffs last season against Lubomir Visnovsky of the Islanders.

A clean hit is a hit where the attacking player hits a player that puts himself in a prone position prior to the hit.  It is then up to the referees to determine whether or not it is a clean hit, or a dirty hit that results in a penalty.  The player that gets hit always sees it coming in a clean hit.

Speaking of Tom Wilson, he has always been known as a force to be reckoned with on the ice.  This was from a couple of seasons ago but his hit on Flyers’ Brayden Schenn was ruled a clean hit, as vicious as it looked.

For all those fans that are new to the game of hockey, I hope this course helped you understand what a couple of the penalties are.  Class dismissed.

By Michael Marzzacco

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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