When a player carries and/or uses his stick above an opponent's shoulders. Players are normally not permitted to strike the puck using a high stick, and players who make contact with an opponent using a high stick will usually be given a two-minute minor penalty.
"High sticking" is one of the most common minor penalties in the NHL, given to a player who makes contact with an opponent's face using his stick even if the contact was deliberate or not. If the player makes contact with an opponent using a high stick which results in injury to his opponent (eg.: bleeding), then a four-minute penalty (a double minor) will be assessed to the player who committed the infraction. Furthermore, any player attempting to injure an opponent with a high stick will receive a match penalty.
If a player makes contact with the puck using a high stick, the play is stopped and will restart with a faceoff in a zone that disadvantages the team whose player played the puck with a high stick (eg.: if the team had puck possession in the offensive zone, the resulting faceoff will take place in the neutral zone).
If a goal is scored with an apparent high stick, the play will be reviewed by the goal judge to see if the puck was batted into the net with the stick at an accepted height. If the puck was directed into the net with a stick that was above the height of the crossbar when it came into contact with the puck, then that goal will be disallowed.
The only cases where a high stick will not result in a stoppage in play are when the puck is batted with a high stick to an opponent or when the puck is batted with a high stick into a player's own net.