Using one's body to make contact with or to hit an opponent. The goal of applying a body check is to separate an opponent from the puck, thus retrieving puck possession. Legal body checks target the body of the opponent; any hit targeting the head or the legs is illegal. Players' feet should not leave the ice when attempting a body check, or else they can be subject to penalties, fines and/or suspensions.
A body check is simply called a hit.
Rarely do players in possession of the puck throw body checks; a player will normally throw a body check when they are playing defense or when trying to retrieve the puck from an opposing player. Defensemen and bottom-six forwards are the most likely players to throw body checks, although some star forwards like Alex Ovechkin and Dustin Brown are known for throwing a high number of body-checks throughout a season.
A body check should only target a player in possession of the puck or a player who just had the puck; hitting a player who does not have the puck can result in an interference penalty. Hitting a player violently or unnecessarily can result in a roughing penalty.