Using the arm or hand to slow down an opponent or prevent him from getting to the puck or getting into a good position. A holding infraction is given as a two-minute minor penalty.
When a player has the puck or is in an attacking situation, he is permitted to use his arm to fight off an opponent trying to take the puck from him. A player in a defensive situation is also permitted to use his arm to block an opponent as long as he is not holding him or interfering with him. In that situation, the arm can be used to cleanly defend an opponent or to push him when he has the puck. However, one must be careful that the referee does not interpret those actions as holding if a part of the arm is used to slow down an opponent in any way. Ever since the end of the NHL lockout in 2005, the new NHL rules have resulted in much more holding penalties being called, and now players must be careful as to how they use their arms when defending against an opponent.
If a player holds an opponent while he is on a breakaway and has a clear path to the goaltender, the referee will signal for a penalty shot to be taken instead of giving a minor penalty to the guilty player.