What Does FOW Mean In Ice Hockey? (With Stat)
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What Does FOW Mean In Ice Hockey? (With Stat)

There are several stats in ice hockey, from plus-minus, SOG, ROW, and much more. All these stats tell us about a team or player in ice hockey. However, what does FOW mean in ice hockey and what does it say about hockey players?

First of all, FOW is an individual stat in ice hockey and is linked to possession of the puck. And in this article, we will explore what FOW means in ice hockey as well as how it works.

What Is FOW In Ice Hockey?

What is FOW in ice hockey?

FOW in ice hockey is a stat attribute that stands for Faceoff Won (or Faceoff Win). It is a player stat that represents the number of faceoffs a player wins during a game, season, or career. 

Faceoffs are an important part of ice hockey with the match starting with a faceoff at the red center line. Also, faceoffs occur at any of the nine faceoff spots after a goal, a violation, or any game stoppage as a way to resume the game.

The reason why faceoffs are so important is that a team gets to battle for the possession of the puck. Faceoffs occur about 40 times (sometimes more) in an NHL game at different faceoff spots.

The relation between faceoffs and a game is that they give both teams an equal chance of getting possession of the puck. This is vital because in an ice hockey game, the higher the puck possession a team has the higher its chances of scoring a goal. 

A team with 69% possession of the puck in a game has better chances and opportunities to score a goal when compared with their opponent with 31% puck possession. This is because they had the puck in their control for a longer time frame, enabling them better opportunities to strategize their offensive play

Therefore, if a team has difficulty regaining possession of the puck, a faceoff can be a great opportunity to get the puck back into their control. This is as long as they have a skilled player with high success in faceoffs. 

How Does FOW Work In Ice Hockey?

How does a player win a faceoff?

FOW is used to measure the level of success players have when it comes to winning faceoffs. This stat can be of utmost importance when trying to select good centermen in ice hockey as they have the responsibility of taking faceoffs.

How Does A Player Win A Faceoff?

We have talked about how winning faceoffs leads up to higher puck possession, and how higher possession increases chances of scoring goals, and goals lead to more game wins for a team.

But how does a player win a faceoff? A faceoff win (FOW) in ice hockey is awarded to the first player to gain possession of the puck. However, possession is not based on the first player to touch the puck, but rather, the first player to be in control of the puck.

So this means that a FOW in ice hockey can be given to a player that is not taking the faceoff. There are instances when the two players taking the faceoff tie each other (restrict the movement of each other) at the faceoff spot. Moments like this leave room for a teammate to move over and gain possession of the puck.

The player that steals the puck when two players tie themselves in a faceoff is given the faceoff win and earns a point under FOW in his stat. However, most times, the players that earn the most FOW are the players that take the faceoff

What Hockey Positions Have The Highest Faceoff Wins

The position with the most FOW in ice hockey is the center position. This is because they are largely responsible for taking every faceoff in a game. One of the skills of centermen in ice hockey is that they must be exceptionally good at taking successful faceoffs. 

There are only a few instances when a centerman does not take faceoffs in ice hockey. A common reason is when he is serving penalty time in the penalty box for an infraction.

Difference Between FOW And FOW%

Difference Between FOW And FOW%

FOW (faceoff win) as an ice hockey stat is used to calculate the FOW% (faceoff win percentage) of ice hockey players. FOW% is considered to be a more accurate stat in calculating the faceoff success of a player compared to FOW. 

This is because, unlike FOW in ice hockey which shows the number of faceoffs a player won, FOW% gives the percentage of faceoffs won from the total number of faceoffs he took.  

The percentage of faceoffs won gives more accurate data because it shows the tendency of players to win faceoffs. 

As a scenario, a centerman can have 125 FOW for a season and have a FOW% of 40%. This shows that he lost more than half of the faceoffs he took. Following only FOW does not show how good a player is at taking faceoffs. 

In contrast, a player can have 115 FOW in a season and have a FOW% of 59%. This means that he wins more than half of the faceoffs he takes. 

A good FOW% stat should show a player’s ability to save at least half of the faceoff he takes. Even though this isn’t as easy seems, maintaining a faceoff win percentage that is close to 50% or above, shows skill and dominance compared to average NHL players. 

Most FOW In The NHL

There are two categories in this section, one being the players with the highest amount of FOW and the other being the players with the most faceoff wins in a season. 

Players With Best FOW Stats In NHL History

Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins is the NHL player with the highest career FOW (faceoff win) in the league. The forward of the Bruins currently has 14,837 faceoff wins since he entered the NHL in 2003.

Bergeron still currently plays for the Bruins and is expected to record more faceoff wins. Next to Bergeron is Sidney Crosby. The star of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the closest to Bergeron with a difference of 1,279 faceoff wins.

Similar to Bergeron, the number of faceoff wins Crosby is expected to increase as he is still very active with the Penguins. The table below shows the top 10 players in the NHL with the highest amount of career faceoff wins.

Note: This data shows the current standing as of May 2023.

RankingPlayers FOW (Faceoff Won)FOW%
1Patrice Bergeron14,83758.17
2Sidney Crosby13,55852.18
3Anze Kopitar12,75553.04
4Jonathan Toews11,98657.32
5Claude Giroux10,41955.96
6Mikko Koivu10,38653.65
7Ryan O’Reilly10,32955.80
8Jordan Staal10,28953.04
9Paul Stastny10,04053.81
10Eric Staal9,77548.33
Data from nhl.com showing recorded FOW of players since the 2005-06 season

NHL Players With The Most FOW For The 2021-22 Season

NHL Players With The Most FOW For The 2021-22 Season

Patrice Bergeron led the NHL with the most faceoff wins (FOW) of the 20212-22 season. With 991 FOW and 609 faceoff losses, he also had the highest FOW% of 61.94%. Ryan O’Reilly took second place with 900 FOW and a faceoff win percentage of 56.78%.

RankingPlayers FOW (Faceoff Win)FOW%
1Patrice Bergeron99161.94
2Ryan O’Reilly90056.78
3Leon Draisaitl88753.40
4Anze Kopitar85856.86
5Bo Horvat84157.02
6Elias Lindholm84152.83
7John Tavares81360.58
8Jonathan Toews78858.98
9Tomas Hertl76952.46
10Sidney Crosby76052.41
Data from quanthockey.com

NHL Players With The Most FOW For The 2022-23 Season

NHL Players With The Most FOW For The 2022-23 Season

The 2022-23 NHL season for most FOW was also dominated by Patrice Bergeron with 1043 faceoff wins and a FOW% of 61.14%. Next to him was Sidney Crosby. In the previous season, Crosby had 10th place for most FOW in the NHL with a FOW% of 52.41%.

But in the 2022-23 season, Crosby had a total of 978 FOW with a win percentage of 52.98%.

RankingPlayers FOW (Faceoff Wins)FOW%
1Patrice Bergeron104361.14
2Sidney Crosby97852.98
3Bo Horvat95856.85
4Anze Kopitar89955.91
5Nico Hischier89153.87
6Elias Lindholm85755.72
7Jordan Staal82155.70
8J.T. Compher81348.83
9Leon Draisaitl80754.90
10Tomas Hertl79254.81
Data from quanthockey.com


Aside from FOW in ice hockey, there is also FOL which stands for faceoff losses. While FOW is for the number of faceoffs won, FOL is the number of faceoff losses. When FOW and FOL are added together the total number of faceoffs a player has taken is gotten.

I hope you now understand what FOW in ice hockey stands for and the relevance of the stat to ice hockey. You can read more on: What Is Plus-Minus In Ice Hockey? NHL Stats.

Thanks for reading.

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