An illegal play where a penalty holds the stick with both hands and uses the shaft to hit or push an opponent, often in the arms, back or head, and sometimes resulting in severe injury.
The cross-check in front of the net used to be one of the defenseman's tools of the trade until recent years where a crack down on stick infractions and obstruction has occurred.
Other cross-checks have and will always be called penalties. Anytime a player cross-checks another player into the boards from behind or cross-checks an opponent in the face, major penalties penalties are usually called.
One of the most memorable cross-checking plays occurred on Feb. 1, 1998, when Gary Suter of the Chicago Blackhawks cross-checked the Anaheim Ducks Paul Kariya in the face. Even though Kariya did play again after recovering from injury, some would say he was never the same due to the concussion symptoms stemming from the play.