Power play (sporting term)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Power play" is a sporting term used in many various games.

Temporary numerical advantage in players during a team sport

In several team sports, situations arise where following a rules infraction, one team is penalized by having the number of players on the field of play temporarily reduced. The term power play is commonly applied to the state of advantage the unpenalized team enjoys during this time. Specialized tactics and strategies can apply while a team is on the power play.

The Ferris State Bulldogs on a 5-on-3 power play against the Michigan Wolverines.

Ice hockey

In ice hockey, a team is said to be on a power play when at least one opposing player is serving a penalty, and the team has a numerical advantage on the ice (whenever both teams have the same number of players on the ice, there is no power play). Up to two players per side may serve in the penalty box, giving a team up to a possible 5-on-3 power play.

There are three types of penalties that can result in a power play for the non-offending team: minor (two minutes), double-minor (four minutes), and major (five minutes). For such penalties, the offending player is ruled off the ice and no substitute for the penalized player is permitted. If a goaltender commits either a minor, a double-minor, or a major penalty, another player who was on the ice at the time of the penalty would serve the penalty instead.[1][2] A power play resulting from a minor penalty ends if the team with more players on the ice scores. A double-minor penalty is treated as if the player has committed two minor penalties back to back: a goal scored by the team with advantage in the first two minutes only ends the first minor penalty (and the second will start after the game restarts); a goal by the team with advantage in the last two minutes of the penalty will end the power play regardless of whether a goal was scored during the first part of the double-minor penalty. If a player is given a major penalty, a power play occurs, but the power play does not terminate even if the team on the power play scores (except in overtime as this ends the game); a major penalty only ends when five minutes have elapsed or the game has ended. A match penalty results in the offending player being ejected from the game (and the player is subject to possible further suspensions), but otherwise it is treated the same as a major penalty.

If a team is still on a power play at the end of a regulation period, or at the end of a playoff overtime period, the power play will continue into the following period. "Misconduct" penalties (10 minutes in duration), and "game misconduct" penalties (offending player is ejected for the balance of the game) allow for substitution of the offending player, so do not result in power plays.[3] However in practice, misconduct and game misconduct penalties are often assessed in addition to a major or minor penalty.

A goal scored by the short-handed team during a power play is called a short-handed goal; However, a short-handed goal does not affect the power play, the short-handed team must still serve the duration of the minor penalty. If a power play ends without a goal against the shorthanded team, it is said to have killed the penalty. If a team scores on the power play, it is said to have converted the power play (that is, converted the opportunity into a goal).

During a power play, the shorthanded team may launch the puck to the opposite end of the rink, and play will continue; icing is not called.


In box lacrosse, a power play is very similar to ice hockey, with two-minute minor penalties and five-minute majors. In field lacrosse, a similar type of penalty situation exists, though the duration of the penalty is only 30 seconds for technical fouls, one minute or more for personal fouls, and up to 3 minutes for certain equipment infractions. Depending on the infraction, the penalty may "release" early if a goal is scored by the other team, or may be "non-releasable", meaning the full duration must be served. The term "power play" isn't used in field lacrosse, but called "extra man offense" (EMO) or "man up" for the team fouled and "man down" for the offending team.[4]

Muggle Quidditch

In quidditch, a power play arises when a member of the opposing team is given a yellow or red card. A player under penalty of yellow is given one minute within the penalty box or until the other team scores.[5] If a player is granted a red card, another player must be substituted in the original's stead and must wait in the penalty box for two minutes (even if the other team scores). A player's second yellow becomes a red card. If the keeper is penalised, a chaser must be given the keeper headband and becomes the keeper in that player's place for a team can never be missing a keeper.

Analogous concepts not generally referred to as a "power play"

  • In water polo. a shorter version of the ice hockey or lacrosse penalty situation exists as well. It is referred to as "man up" or "man down".
  • In futsal there exists a situation which is essentially a power play. When a player is shown a red card and is thus ejected from the game, the penalized team must play short-handed for two minutes, similar to ice hockey. If a goal is scored, the team returns to full strength.
  • In other forms of indoor soccer, usually played in the United States, there also exists a power play situation similar to ice hockey.
  • In indoor American football, the 1988 proposed World Indoor Football League had intended to establish a perpetual power play, in which the offense would always have one man more on the field than the defense.
  • In rugby union, a player who is shown a yellow card is ruled off the field of play for a period of ten minutes (two minutes in the seven-a-side variation). The player may not be replaced, therefore his team must play one player short while s/he is off the field. The temporary sending-off is usually called a "sin binning".

Other uses of "power play"


Several variant formats of netball introduce the concept of a power play, a designated quarter where all goals scored by a team are worth twice as normal:

  • In the original fastnet format, when a team uses it in a quarter, all goals scored by that team are worth twice as normal. This means that if a shooter (Goal Shooter or Goal Attack) scores a goal outside the goal circle, the goal is worth 4 goals instead of 2. It is also possible for both teams to use their power play in the same quarter.
  • In the current fast5 format, when a team uses it in a quarter, all goals scored by that team are worth twice as normal. A shooter that scores a goal within 3.5 meters from the goal post scores two points instead of one. Four points (instead of two) if the goal was scored at least 3.5 meters away from the goal post but within the goal circle. If the goal was scored from outside of the goal circle (known as a super goal), six points is scored instead of three. The winner of the coin toss chooses which quarter to have this power play and the other team must choose a different quarter for their power play. This prevents both teams from having their power plays in the same quarter.


A powerplay is a feature introduced into One Day International (ODI) cricket in 1991 concerning fielding restrictions. It is intended to add to the excitement. In a powerplay, restrictions are applied on the fielding team: only 2 or 3 players are allowed outside the 30-yard circle (which depends upon the type of powerplay). There are two powerplays in an ODI cricket innings starting from 30 October 2012.

Power Snooker

In Power Snooker, this arises when a player pots the power ball. This triggers a period of time whereby all points scored are doubled.

Roller Derby

Commonly known as a "power jam", a power play occurs in roller derby when a team's designated scoring skater (jammer) is serving a penalty.


In the mixed doubles version of curling, a rule called a power play was introduced in the 2016-17 season. Each team can exercise the power play in one end per game, only when they have the hammer (throwing the last rock in an end). Instead of positioning the rock in the house on the center line, it is placed to a position straddling the edge of the eight-foot circle, with the back edge of the stone touching the tee line. The opponent's guard stone is place in line with the stone in the house and the hack. The power play cannot be used in an extra end.[6]

See also


  1. ^ National Hockey League. "2017–18 National Hockey League Official Rules" (PDF). nhl.com. National Hockey League. pp. 40–41. Retrieved 3 March 2018. 
  2. ^ International Ice Hockey Federation. "IIHF Official Rulebook 2014–2018" (PDF). iihf.com. International Ice Hockey Federation. p. 111. Retrieved 3 March 2018. 
  3. ^ Hockey for Dummies. "Controlling a Power Play in Hockey". Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Extra-man Offence, or the Power Play". insidelacrosse.com. Inside Lacrosse. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "IQA Rules" (PDF). iqaquidditch.com. United States Quidditch. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Mixed Doubles rules, Curling Canada
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Power_play_(sporting_term)&oldid=828518426"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_play_(sporting_term)
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Power play (sporting term)"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA