Spearing in hockey is when a player uses the blade of his stick to “jab” an opposing player, usually in the stomach or legs. This is considered to be one of the dirtiest infractions in hockey because, while most stick infractions are usually accidental, Spearing is one that is usually seen as more deliberate.
A Spearing penalty can also be called when a player intentionally uses his stick in a lifting motion to strike an opponent in the groin area. These dangerous types of infractions can lead to a 4-minute Double-Minor penalty or a 5-minute Major Penalty.
The Sharks player (teal jersey) is seen on the right side of the screen skating towards the bench. As he is skating away, the Blues player (white jersey) skates behind him and gives him a tap on the pants with his stick.
The Sharks player then turns around and uses his stick blade to intentionally jab the Blues player in the stomach area. The result of this play was a 5-minute Major Penalty and a game misconduct (ejected for the remainder of the game).
Referee Signal for Spearing
Jabbing motion with both hands parallel in front of the body, moving outwards.
The Penalty for Spearing
In the NHL, a Spearing infraction can have one of two outcomes, based on the seriousness of the infraction. A 4-minute double major penalty will be called if a player clearly attempts to spear an opponent but does not make contact.
A 5-minute Major Penalty and game misconduct is assessed when a player spears an opponent and does make contact. Anytime a 5-minute Major Penalty is called, a game misconduct penalty must also be imposed. This means the guilty team is down a player for five minutes and the guilty player is ejected for the remainder of the game.
The Official NHL Spearing Rule Text (Rule 62)
62.1: Spearing - Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not.
62.2: Double-minor Penalty - A double-minor penalty will be imposed on a player who spears an opponent and does not make contact.
62.3: Major Penalty - A major penalty shall be imposed on a player who spears an opponent (see 62.5).
62.4: Match Penalty - A match penalty shall be imposed on a player who injures an opponent as a result of a spear.
62.5: Game Misconduct Penalty - Whenever a major penalty is assessed for spearing, a game misconduct penalty must also be imposed.
62.6: Fines and Suspensions - There are no specified fines or suspensions for spearing, however, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion (refer to Rule 28).