Face-Off In Ice Hockey

What Is A Face-Off In Ice Hockey?

We’ve been discussing basic Ice Hockey rules and regulations lately. The next topic in the queue is the Face-off in Ice Hockey. It’s a subject full of fascination and variations as the gameplay depends massively on the face-off in Ice Hockey. 

It looks like we’ve got a lot to cover today. Let’s look at the factors and rules enfolded in the Face-off in Ice Hockey. 

What Is A Face-Off In Ice Hockey?

In ice hockey, a face-off ( Face-off ) is a means of restarting play after a stoppage of play. The two teams line up in formation opposite each other.

One player from each team, designated the draw captain, faces off against one another. The puck is placed on the ice between the two players’ sticks. At the referee’s whistle, both players attempt to gain control of the puck. 

The Rules:

According to rule 54 of NHL, which you can read here in its complete form, Face-Off has some parameters to follow. 

To be concise, here are a few things to keep in mind about Face-off. 

After the Referee indicates it, both teams have 5 seconds to arrange themselves for the Face-off in Ice Hockey. 

Also, the players taking the face-off (usually centers from both teams) are not allowed to be either offside or in physical contact with any other player on the rink. 

Also, until the puck is dropped by the referee. They’re also not allowed to touch their sticks on the ice rink. 

What Is The Face-Off Circle?

During the center-ice face-off situations, it is carried out in the center circle in the neutral zone. The game is started from there.

Also, each period is also started from the center face-off circle. Moreover, when a goal is scored, the game is restarted from the same spot.

Moving Into The Face-Off Circle?

When the Face-off is being carried out, the whole team except the goaltenders are gathered around the puck to pressurize their opponents. But, only one player from each team can be in the face-off circle.

And no other players from both sides are allowed to be in the face-off circle. Just like the soccer kick-off.

What Is The Face-Off Violation?

Since Face-off is a symbol of fair play and equal chances in Ice Hockey, it should be fair itself. And the match officials make sure of it. NHL has rules in place for those who violate face-off activity.

If any player, taking the face-off is caught violating or tempering the situation in any manner. In an attempt of taking unfair advantage of the situation.

They’re asked to leave the face-off and someone else from the team has to come up and continue the game through the face-off. This is called the face-off violation in Ice Hockey.

The Face-Off Spots On Ice Rink:

Because Face-off in ice hockey is a way of resuming the gameplay after the infractions and offsides. There are multiple spots on the ice rink for the purpose. The suitable one is chosen according to the given situation. 

In total, there are 9 face-off spots on an Ice rink. For your convenience, we have mentioned all 9 spots indicated by an arrow on the image you can find below. 

Here’s a brief description of them, the primary spot is the center-ice spot. It’s where the game is started from in the neutral zone. There are 4 other spots in the neutral zone for the face-off and 2 in each side’s region in the ice rink.

We have discussed 5 already! And we’re left with 4 spots. There are 2 Face-off spots in each team’s defending zone marked by a red circle as you can see below. 

That being said, let’s take a look at different situations where these spots come in handy.

Where does Face-Off happen After A Penalty?

There are two scenarios in this regard. We’ll discuss both in a step-by-step manner. 

When a penalty is called, the face-off is directed to the nearest possible spot from where the violating side committed the infraction. That’s why face-off can present many opportunities if in the delicate regions near the goal for the team at advantage. 

The second scenario is when both sides commit infractions. Here the game is re-directed through face-off from the closest position where the puck went out of play. 

Where does Face-Off happen After Offside?

There’s another possible situation regarding the face-offs. It’s when the offside is called. Which usually involves the neutral zone.

When the linesman indicates the offside, the game is re-started from one of the 4 spots in the neutral zone. Whichever was closest to the violating player who went offside. 

In case of the delayed offside, the face-off is placed in the defending zone of the team that incurred the offside. Luckily, we have a detailed article on the offside situations in Ice Hockey, read it here.

Who Is The Best Face-Off Man In NHL?

Moving on with the best player in NHL in terms of Face-off, as it’s all about winning the puck from your opponent. It requires skill, intelligence, technique, and reflexes. 

So what name do we have today? It’s Patrice Bergeron! The Captain of the Boston Bruins. The 36 years old Canadian has the best Face-Off winning percentage in NHL, according to records.NHL.com. 

Let’s discuss some of his status regarding the topic in question. Patrice has taken 23,801 face-offs and won a remarkable number of 13,794 out of all these.

That comes to be a winning percentage of 58 percent of all face-offs he’s taken. It’s the record high in terms of face-offs won by any player in the NHL

Before we say goodbye, here are the top 5 players including Patrice with the most Face-off won to their name:

Player’s NameFO TakenFO Won
Patrice Bergeron 23,80113,794
Sidney Crosby24,13712,580
Anze Kopitar 22,44111,856
Jonathan Toews 19,97011,392
Mikko Koivu19,36010,386

Closing Sentences

Face-off in ice hockey is essential to understand if you want to understand the fast action happening on the ice rink. It was a pleasure to cover all the details of face-off in ice hockey for you guys! Also, we welcome all your queries and questions if there is any confusion left regarding the topic. Ask away!

This is not it! We have a lot more going on in our Ice Hockey section with more amazing content like this. Visit that for more and stay tuned with us!

Similar Posts