This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not by itself determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. 

Goals should be disallowed only if:

  1. An attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal;

or 

  1. An attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease.

Incidental contact with a goalkeeper outside of the goal crease will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

For purposes of this rule, “contact,” whether incidental or otherwise, shall mean any contact that is made between or among a goalkeeper and attacking player(s), whether by means of a stick or any part of the body.

The overriding rationale for this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease, and by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

If a defending player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by an attacking player so as to cause the defending player to come into contact with his own goalkeeper, such contact shall be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, and if necessary a penalty assessed to the attacking player and if a goal is scored it would be disallowed.

Penalty
In all cases in which an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, whether or not the goalkeeper is inside or outside the goal crease, and whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a penalty (minor or major, as the Referee deems appropriate). In all cases where the infraction being imposed is to the attacking player for hindering the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely in his goal crease, the penalty to be assessed is for Interference.

In exercising his judgment, the referee should give significant consideration to the degree and nature of the contact with the goalkeeper than to the exact location of the goalkeeper at the time of the contact.

Contact Inside the Goal Crease
If an attacking player stands in the goal crease, without interfering with the goalkeeper, the Referee has the option to stop play and the ensuing face‐off shall take place at the nearest face‐off spot in the neutral zone. This rule is applied when the attacking player makes incidental contact with the goalie or the attacking player hinders (blocks) the view of the goalie to clearly see the play while maintaining a position within the goal crease.

If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

If a goalkeeper, in the act of establishing his position within his goal crease, initiates contact with an attacking player who is in the goal crease, and this results in an impairment of the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

If, after any contact by a goalkeeper who is attempting to establish position in his goal crease, the attacking player does not immediately vacate his current position in the goal crease (i.e. give ground to the goalkeeper), and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. In all such cases, whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a minor penalty for goalkeeper interference.

If an attacking player establishes a significant position within the goal crease, so as to obstruct the goalkeeper’s vision and impair his ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. For this purpose, a player “establishes a significant position within the crease” when, in the referee’s judgment, his body, or a substantial portion thereof, is within the goal crease for more than an instantaneous period of time.

Contact Outside the Goal Crease
If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.

When a goalkeeper has played the puck outside of his crease and is then prevented from returning to his crease area due to the deliberate actions of an attacking player, such player may be penalized for goalkeeper interference. Similarly, the goalkeeper may be penalized, if by his actions outside of his crease he deliberately interferes with an attacking player who is attempting to play the puck or an opponent.