A punishment given to a player or team as a result of a breach of one or more of the rules in the NHL rule book. The most common type of penalties are minor penalties (lasting up to two minutes) and major penalties (lasting up to five minutes). A team receiving a penalty is put at a disadvantage for a limited amount of time, depending on the type of penalty. The player guilty of a penalty sits in the penalty box and their team will usually play with one less player on the ice for the duration of the penalty.
There are four categories of infractions that result in a penalty: physical fouls (boarding, charging, fighting, elbowing, roughing, etc.), restraining fouls (hooking, holding, interference, and tripping), stick fouls (butt-ending, cross-checking, slashing, and spearing), and other fouls (delaying the game, diving, illegal substitution, too many men on the ice, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc.).
Other types of penalties, besides minor and major penalties, include bench minor penalties (involving an incident taking place from the team bench), double-minor penalties (a four-minute penalty), coincidental penalties (both teams receiving a penalty during the same sequence of play), match penalties (the recipient is suspended for the rest of the game, and their team plays shorthanded for five minutes), misconduct penalties (the recipient is not permitted to play in the game for ten minutes), and game misconduct penalties (similar to a match penalty, but the recipient's team does not have to play shorthanded as a result of the penalty).