slew foot

A Slew Foot in hockey is an action where a player comes from behind an opposing player and trips him using his leg, skate or hockey stick, while, oftentimes, using his upper body, or arms, to further knock the opposing player off-balance. Usually, the victim of the action will fall to the ice, causing a potential injury. This can be especially dangerous if the victim falls backwards onto the ice.

The result of a Slew Foot in hockey is usually a two-minute Minor Penalty, but a five-minute Major Penalty can be called, depending on the severity. We will discuss different factors of this infraction later in this article. Protect yourself against these types of plays by checking out our wide variety of hockey equipment!

Slew Footing Example

At the start of the clip, the Kings player (black jersey) and the Canucks player (white jersey) make contact near the center of the ice. Immediately following the initial contact, the Canucks player can be seen driving his right leg into the back of the Kings’ player’s legs. This causes the Kings player to fall backwards onto the ice. Making matters worse, the Canucks player uses his arms to further push the Kings player down. A two-minute Minor Penalty was called by the referee in this Slew Foot example.

Slew Footing Referee Sign

slew foot referee signal

The referee signal for the Slew Foot penalty is the “tripping” signal. Strike the right leg with the right hand, just below the knee with a downward chopping motion.

Penalties for Slew Footing in Hockey

Most Slew Foot infractions in ice hockey will result in two-minute Minor Penalties. However, five-minute Major Penalties (and Game Misconducts depending on severity) can be assessed, at the discretion of the referee, if he determines that the guilty player was purposefully trying to injure an opposing player, with no intention of making a play on the puck.

That said, no penalty shall be assessed if the referee determines that the player was clearly attempting to make a play on the puck, but accidentally commits the actions of a Slew Foot.

The Official NHL Rule Text (Rule 52)

Slew Footing is the act of a player or goalkeeper using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him or pushes an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent’s feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.


This article was originally published on March 11, 2020, and has been updated with new information.