On September 24, 1937, the National Hockey League’s Board of Governors tried to put an end to “icing” while they were holding the League’s semi-annual meeting.
The call would be made if a player on a team of equal strength or higher (on a power play) and the defending goalie is in the crease. The puck is shot by a player from one side of the center red line and crosses the goal line without going in the net. Icing is called if a defending player (who is not the goalie) gets to the puck first.
The penalty results in a face-off in the defensive zone of the team called on for committing the infraction. The guilty team may not substitute any players already on the ice, but it is a great way for the team on defense to get a couple seconds to recollect themselves.
The goal of the Board of Governors wanted to prevent injuries to players who were racing for the puck. They also wanted to prevent teams from getting an unfair advantage by ‘dumping the puck’ to get a line change.