A broken stick, or any broken equipment, can be a serious issue when playing hockey. Because of this, USA Hockey has specific rules related to what to do when your hockey stick breaks while you’re out on the ice: Rule 605.

According to the rule, a broken stick is “one that, in the opinion of the Referee, is unfit for normal play.”

USA Hockey Rule 605(a)

USA Hockey Rule 605(a) says that any player who has a broken stick must drop the stick before they participate in any play, although “a player or goalkeeper shall be allowed reasonable time to be aware that the stick is broken.”

Many players think they need to pick the stick up to get it off the ice, but the reason to drop it is that you are more likely to hurt someone if you are carrying the broken stick back to the bench.

If a player participates in play with a broken stick, they can be issued a minor penalty for an equipment violation.

USA Hockey Rule 605(b)

USA Hockey Rule 605(b) says that if a player drops their broken stick, they may be given a new one from their player’s bench or from another player on the ice.

If the player receives a replacement stick illegally, they will be charged a minor penalty for an equipment violation, unless the team itself is charged a bench minor penalty under USA Hockey Rule 601(b.4). That rule says that you cannot throw objects into the playing area. If this happens, the player receiving the thrown stick is not charged a penalty.

USA Hockey Rule 605(c)

USA Hockey Rule 605(c) says that a goalkeeper whose stick is broken may not go to their player’s bench during a stoppage of play to retrieve a new stick — they must receive a new stick from their teammate.

The goalie can be charged a minor penalty for delay of game if they break this rule.

Read the full USA Hockey Rule 605 here.