A penalty given to a player who extends his elbow to hit an opponent. Elbowing can be given as a minor, major or match penalty, and in more violent cases, fines or suspensions can also be given as a result of an elbowing infraction.
Anytime a referee spots an elbowing infraction or sometimes even intent to use the elbow to hit, a penalty will be called. Elbowing is one of the more serious infractions in the NHL because it occurs in conjunction with hits to the head. All instances of elbowing are being penalized in NHL in order to attempt to reduce the number of hits to the head.
A major penalty for elbowing is given usually when an injury to the face or the head occurs as a result of a hit delivered using the elbow. Depending on the violence of the hit and the seriousness of the injury, suspensions or fines may follow. A match penalty for elbowing is given to a player who intentionally tries to injure an opponent using his elbow.