What is the Definition and Meaning of Slew Foot?
A Slew Foot, or Slue Foot, occurs when a player sweeps the leg(s) out under an opponent with their own leg while in the process of skating.
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Not to be confused with the 1961 Johnny Horton song, Ole Slew Foot, a Slew Foot is a dangerous play that ends with a person falling backwards on the ice, sometimes even leading with their head.
It's a type of play or maneuver that will earn you a penality and a trip to the box. The most common Slew Foots will result in a two-minute minor. A harsh Slew Foot could earn a player a five-minute major. And, in rare cases, a Slew Foot will earn you a Game Misconduct and get you tossed back to the dressing room.
Watching that clip should leave you with no question as to why a slew foot earns a player a two-minute minor or more. It's a dangerous play that could result in serious injury. Serious head injury at that.
Unintentional slew foots happen all of the time, as the game is played at an extreme physical level. Intentional slew foots are dirty plays, and that's what the refs are looking for. And if you're going to play dirty, you might find yourself in a mid-ice donnybrook real, real fast.
What is the Referee's Signal for a Slew Foot
Here is a referee explaining what they look for when calling a slew foot. The ref, Junior A referee, Alex Estabrooks, says that the "biggest thing in a slew foot is when the arm comes across and the chest and the leg comes out, tripping the guy and falling to the ice."
Penalty for Slew Footing
- Two Minute Minor: The most common penalty for a slew foot
- Five Minute Major: More common than a match penalty, but far less common than the Two-Minute Minor.
- Game Misconduct: Rare, but it happens
Here are the rules taken straight from the NHL itself in Section 6 of the NHL Rulebook, entitled, "Physical Fouls".
National Hockey League Rule 52 – Slew-footing
- 52.1 Slew-footing - Slew-footing is the act of a player using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him, or pushes an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent’s feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.
- 52.2 Match Penalty - Any player who is guilty of slew-footing shall be assessed a match penalty.
- 52.3 Fines and Suspensions - There are no specified fines or suspensions for slew-footing, however, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion (refer to Rule 28)
Famous Slew Foot Examples
It seems like certain guys get a rep for their on-ice antics. For instance, Brad Marchand and P.K. Subban. Those two seem to rack up slew-footed penalties a bit more often than some others, with the former getting a famous one in 2015, and the latter getting them ... well, all of the time.
Marchand, of the Boston Bruins, even racked up a three-game suspension for his latest. Between that and his five game suspension for elbowing, someone better look out.
- Tyler Bertuzzi - received a Match Penalty in an AHL game on October 31st, 2015. Hit the showers, Bertuzzi.
- Timothy Liljegren got slapped with a penalty for his Slew Foot on Tom Wilson during a Capitals / Maple Leafs game on April 14th, 2022.
- Brad Marchad - took down Canucks player, Ekman-Larsson. This was a much-discussed play on the radio and television sports channels as no Slew Foot penalty was called.
- P.K. Subban - hailed as the "Wayne Gretzky of slew-footing" by Golf Digest, Subban slew-foot Milan Lucic on October 26th, 2021 in a Devils-Flames matchup.
PK Subban slew foot on Lucic: pic.twitter.com/EtuY6QLZAU— Nasty Knuckles (@NastyKnuckles) October 27, 2021