What Happens If You Lose A Challenge In Hockey?

Losing a challenge in Ice hockey doesn’t go unpunished, as it cost valuable time in gameplay. Try to avoid it at cost, not to annoy the referee. However, challenging is a part of the game, it can’t be ignored. If you are a complete newbie, this article will teach you what happens if you lose a challenge in hockey.

If you lose a challenge in hockey, you lose your right to make any more challenges for the remainder of the game. In NHL, an unsuccessful challenge may result in a 2-minute minor penalty(1st time), a 4-minute double penalty, or the remainder of the game.

Unsuccessful challenges have negative consequences for a team, such as being penalized or losing the ability to challenge later in the game.

A challenge can be used to review certain situations, such as goaltender interference, offside, or potential goals.

So, what happens if a team decides to challenge?

A challenge in ice hockey consists of 3 stages, initiating, reviewing, and outcome. Let’s break in…

Initiating the Challenge:

First off, a coach can initiate a challenge by notifying the referees during a stoppage in play. They must make a “challenge” gesture and clearly state what specific play or situation they want to be reviewed.

However, each team is allowed a limited number of challenges per game, typically one or two, depending on the league’s rules. But you shouldn’t challenge yourself frequently if you are unsure about it.

Review Process:

The review process is simple, stop the game, go to the video review area, and examine the disputed play carefully, The referee will try to analyze the situation. They will watch the replay from different angles to make an accurate decision.

Outcomes of the Challenge:

Now, it is time to see the result of the video review. It can come out as three different results either the claimed result is correct, or incorrect. The incorrect result comes with a penalty.

a. Overturned Call: If the video review shows that the original call made by the referees was incorrect, the call will be overturned. The team that requested the challenge will benefit from the corrected decision.

b. Confirmed Call: However, if the video review confirms that the original call on the ice was accurate, the call will stand, and the challenging team will lose their right to make any more challenges for the remainder of the game. But there is another scenario called a penalty.

c. Penalty: In some leagues like NHL, if a coach’s challenge is unsuccessful (i.e., the call on the ice is confirmed), the team may receive a minor penalty for the delay of the game. This is to discourage frivolous challenges and to keep the game moving smoothly.

It’s also important to note that not all plays on the ice are eligible for challenges. For example, some judgment calls, like penalties or high-sticking, are not subject to review. Only specific situations that are defined by the league’s rules can be challenged.

Can a team challenge the same play more than once if they are unsuccessful with their first challenge?

No, a team cannot challenge the same play more than once in a game, even if their first challenge is unsuccessful. Each team is allowed only one challenge per game.

Is there a time limit for referees to complete the video review and make a decision after a challenge is initiated?

Yes, referees are expected to complete the video review and make a decision promptly after a challenge is initiated. The review process is typically conducted quickly to avoid unnecessary delays in the game.

What happens if a team successfully challenges a goal after their opponent has already challenged and lost a different play earlier in the game?

The successful challenge takes precedence, and the team that used the successful challenge retains their right to make another challenge later in the game if they have not used it up yet.

Can a team challenge a play during a shootout in hockey?

No, challenges are not permitted during a shootout in hockey. Shootouts are separate from regular gameplay, and challenges are only applicable to certain situations during regulation time or overtime.

If a team loses their challenge in the third period of a tied game, do they still receive a penalty for delay of the game?

No, teams do not receive a penalty for delay of game if they lose a challenge in the third period of a tied game. The game continues without any additional penalties for an unsuccessful challenge.

What is the impact of a successful challenge on the team that initiated it?

If a team successfully challenges a play, they retain their right to make another challenge later in the game, and the call on the ice is overturned to reflect the correct decision.

Can a team challenge a play after the final buzzer has sounded to end the game?

No, once the game is officially over, challenges are no longer possible. Challenges must be initiated during a stoppage in play, and the final buzzer signifies the end of the game, leaving no opportunity for challenges afterward.

Are there any specific plays or situations that cannot be challenged in hockey?

Yes, judgment calls by the referees, such as penalties, are not subject to challenges. Additionally, some leagues may have specific limitations on the types of plays that can be challenged.

If a coach unsuccessfully challenges a goal, can they express their disagreement with the referee’s decision?

Coaches can express their disagreement verbally or through body language, but they must be careful not to engage in excessive arguing or inappropriate behavior, as it may lead to additional penalties or disciplinary action.


if a coach loses a challenge in hockey, it can have significant consequences for their team. An unsuccessful challenge means that the call on the ice stands, and the play in question is not overturned. Additionally, the challenging team will receive a 2-minute minor penalty for the first failed challenge. If they attempt another challenge later in the game and it is also unsuccessful, they will be penalized with a more severe 4-minute double minor penalty.

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