Hockey shifts are short. The idea is to skate as hard as you can for 30-60 seconds and then get off the ice. If you’re not tired, you’re not skating hard enough. Professional hockey players take short shifts and you should too. Besides, your teammates want their turn on the ice. When your shifts are too long, you are effectively stealing ice time from your teammates. Pirates don’t take too kindly to stealing among pirates.
The best time to get off the ice is when your team has the puck in the offensive zone. It’s difficult to walk away from a scoring opportunity, but that’s what’s best for your team.
The worst time to get off the ice is when the other team has the puck on a break away or near your own goalie.
If you’re not sure about when you should get off the ice, ask the coaches for help.
In general, if you’ve been out there too long and a coach notices a good chance for you to get off the ice, they will start calling for you to come to the bench. Please listen to them. Don’t hesitate, the situation can change in a moment, come to the bench immediately.
Everyone gets caught out on a long shift occasionally. It’s when this becomes a regular thing, that it becomes a problem. Everyone has a bad change once in a while. Sometimes, there isn’t a good opportunity to get off the ice and you have to make do with a less bad opportunity. Again, this isn’t a problem unless it becomes consistently getting off the ice at a bad moment.
Coaches do have a lot of things to keep track of during a game. If you notice that the person you are sharing a position with is consistently taking long shifts and passing up good opportunities to change, please alert a coach to the situation.
If a coach notices that a player is indeed consistently taking long shifts and missing good chances to change, or ignores calls to come to the bench, the coach may bench the player for 5 game minutes during the game. If there is any argument from the player, they will be asked to leave the team. If the same player is benched in this manner three times, they will be asked to leave the team. The number of times a player is benched for long shifts is a lifetime count, it does not reset to zero with a new season. No exceptions. As a side note, no player has been benched even once for long shifts to date.