There is no clean check to the head or neck. The Player delivering the hit must avoid hitting the opponent’s head or neck. A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted. This rule supersedes all similar actions regarding hits to the head and neck. When a Player is skating with their head up, whether they are in possession of the puck and may reasonably be expecting impending contact, an opponent does not have the right to hit them on the head or neck. A Player who delivers a bodycheck to an opponent who is skating with the puck with their head down in the direction of the Player and does not use an upward motion or drive their body up into the opponent, shall not be penalized for an “illegal check to the head”.
(I) A Player who directs a hit of any sort, with any part of their body or equipment, to the head or neck of an opposing Player or drives or forces the head of an opposing Player into the protective glass or boards using any part of their upper body. (II) A Player who extends and directs any part of their upper body to contact the head or neck of an opponent. (III) A Player who extends their body upward or outward in order to reach their opponent or uses any part of the upper body to contact an opponent’s head or neck. (IV) A Player who jumps (leaves their skates) to deliver a blow to the head or neck of an opponent.
In determining whether contact with an opponent's head was avoidable, the circumstances of the hit including the following shall be considered: (V) Whether the Player attempted to hit squarely through the opponent’s body and the head was not "picked" as a result of poor timing, poor angle of approach, or unnecessary extension of the body upward or outward. If the primary force of a blow is initially to the body area and then contact slides up to the head or neck. (VI) Whether the opponent put themself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable. (VII) Whether the opponent materially changed the position of their body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact.
Regel 48.2: Minor Penalty
The Referee shall, at their discretion, assess a Minor Penalty to any Player who delivers an “illegal check to the head or neck” of an opponent.
Regel 48.3: Major Penalty
There is no provision for a Major Penalty for this rule.
Regel 48.4: Game Misconduct Penalty
There is no provision for a Game Misconduct Penalty for this rule.
Regel 48.5: Match Penalty
The Referee, at their discretion, may assess a Match Penalty if, in their judgment, the Player recklessly endangers their opponent by an “illegal check to the head or neck”. Such assessment of reckless endangerment shall be based on the severity of the infraction, severity of the contact, the degree of violence and the general reprehensibility involved.