Coach's Corner


Throughout the season Arizona Sundogs Head Coach and General Manager Marco Pietroniro will answer a series of questions from fans. E-mail your questions to and check back here to read his answers.

Q. Is the NHL rink larger than the CHL rink?


A. Rinks in the Central Hockey League (CHL) and North American professional hockey leagues (ECHL, AHL) are the same size as rinks in the National Hockey League (NHL). They are 200-feet long by 85-feet wide (see diagram below).
rink dimensions.jpg


Q. In the NHL, it seems there are "end" referees. A referee with an orange band and one without, at each end of the ice, making for 4 refs on the ice as opposed to the 3 we have in the CHL. Why is this?



Q: The Sundogs website does not mention the 2-line pass in reference to a call for offsides.  Is a 2-line pass prohibited in the CHL?

A: As was the case in the NHL, the two-line pass was eliminated in the CHL to help increase the number of scoring chances and speed/flow of the game.


Q: What is the guideline for a "too many men on the ice" call?  Is there a certain limit to how many seconds two lines can occupy the ice during a line change?

A: Change of Players Rule (Too Many Men) - Players may be changed at any time from the players' bench provided that the player or players leaving the ice shall be within five feet (5') of his players' bench and out of the play before the change is made.


Q: Team coordination criteria such as passing and power play setup appear to be much less tight and organized as in the NHL.  Is this simply a matter of experience, or are there any differences between CHL and NHL rules which make playing smoothly more difficult in the CHL?

A: As is the case in any major-league sport, players are more skilled and are more talented than players at the minor league level. The CHL is a developmental league helping to develop players to advance to the higher levels.


Q: Do CHL players make their living playing hockey?

A: Yes, CHL players do make their living playing hockey.

Q:  How will your NHL affiliation with the Coyotes help shape the Sundogs?

A:  Our NHL affiliation with the Phoenix Coyotes will play a vital role in not only the success of the Sundogs but in the on-ice look of the team as well. In a developmental league such as the Central Hockey League (CHL), a team’s main purpose is to help grow a player’s talent and skill so as to be able to send him to the American Hockey League (AHL) and eventually, the NHL. Our affiliation with the Coyotes will provide us with players in which they would like to see develop as professional athletes.

Q:  What’s a line change?

A:  A line change is when the players on the ice come to the bench and are replaced by new players.

Q:  What is a short-handed goal?

A:  A short-handed goal occurs when a team killing a penalty (playing with fewer players than the opposing team) scores a goal.

Q:  How many players are on the ice at one time?

A:  There are several different answers to this question. The majority of the time, each team will have six (6) total players on the ice at once:

  • Three (3) forwards
  • Two (2) defenseman
  • One (1) goalie

However, this may change depending on several situations: If a team takes a penalty, they will play down one man for a specific amount of time, depending on the severity of the penalty. But, a team can’t play more than two men down at any given time during a game. If one team receives more than two penalties, only two penalties will be served at once. Remaining penalties will start once at least one has expired. Sometimes near the end of a game, if a team is down by a goal, they will pull their goalie off the ice  and replace him with an offensive player. Even though the number of total players remains at six (6), the number of offensive and defensive players changes from five (5) to six (6).


A. The three-official system that is used in the CHL and ECHL (double-A) employs one referee (orange arm bands) and two linesmen. This is the most common officiating system. The NHL previously used this system until changing to the four-official system. The four-official system adds a second referee for a total of two referees (orange arm bands) and two linesmen. This system is used in higher level leagues such as the NHL and American Hockey League (AHL).

Q: I've noticed that icing is called as soon as the puck crosses the far goal line, rather than waiting for an opposing player to touch it as in the NHL.  Is there a reason for this difference between CHL and NHL rules?

A: The CHL and NHL share almost every rule, but icing is one rule that is different. The CHL (and ECHL) doesn’t employ the touch-up icing rule as it helps to avoid injuries.