Whenever a goal gets waved off, you can bet that people are going to have questions. The people most likely to have these questions are the ones supporting the team that didn’t get its goal.
All the time, people want to know why a wave off happened, especially in situations where a skater may not have directly moved or “kicked” a puck with his feet but did have the puck bounce off or come into contact with the skate.
However, the most important rule to know in this circumstance is that it matters greatly whether the puck was deflected or directed. This is an important distinction and can make all the difference in terms of whether a goal gets waved off.
When a puck simply deflects off the skate of an attacking player, the goal is considered good.
When, instead, the referee calls it “directed,” meaning the skate was turned or something else was done deliberately to try and attempt a goal score, then the goal will not count. Anything that seems or looks like a kicking or even “pushing along” motion can be grounds for a goal not to count. Of course, even the best hockey refs do make wrong calls sometimes. They simply have to use their best judgment. This doesn’t mean, however, that a call can’t be respectfully challenged in some cases.
One final note to keep in mind is that pucks that deflect off of on ice officials and then go directly into the goal don’t count either!
While the rules can sometimes be a bit confusing, especially when you’re just watching as a spectator, understanding this information can help you to know why refs make the calls they do.