Question: The action in and especially in front of the goal crease area is often fast and furious. Sometimes attackmen are whistled for contact with the goalie’s stick and sometimes they aren’t. Why?
Answer: It does get a bit complicated when it comes to goalie privileges snd the crease. You can reduce most of the confusion by addresssing two basic questions. 1. Is the goalie in the crease? 2.
Where is the ball? The goalie crease area includes the real estate within the 9 foot radius circle and includes the goal crease line.
If some part of the goalie’s body (most likely just a toe on the line if he’s really extended out playing the ball) touches the crease area, then he is considered “in the crease” and no one can check his body.
Goalie’s stick, however, is fair game for checking if he is playing a loose ball outside the crease. Often the goalie will clamp down on the ball on the ground in an attempt to control it.
At that point a smart Attackman will try to slide his stick under the goalie’s in order to get the ball. A perfectly legal play, but many people, mistakenly, think this is interference with the goalkeeper.
Once both the ball and the goalie are within the crease, then the goalie’s privileges increase. No opposing player may initiate contact with the goalie or his stick at this point.
What goalies often do is rake the loose ball outside the crease back into the crease and then they can relax a bit knowing that they can execute a simple “tennis ball” pick up without interference.
Finally, if the goalie has possession of the ball (clamping and raking is not in possession) and he is in the crease (even with just a toe) then opposing players may not touch him or his stick.
These are just the basics regarding goal crease privileges. The rulebooks contain two full pages of information on the topic and once you’ve mastered the basics you will need to grasp the nuances as well.