Tri-City Storm Hockey

Today is:

                                         The Face-Off

                              “The action of dropping the puck between the sticks of two opposing players to start play.”


        Originally the referee would place the puck on the ice between the two players and shout “Play!” Since it was not unusual for the ref to be hit by a stick blade, the practice was changed to dropping the puck so the ref would have time to jump back from flying blades.

        The face-off players must stand squarely facing their opponent’s end of the ice or goal. They are to be about a stick length apart from each other with stick blades on the ice.
        In the early days of hockey the other players would crowd around the centers as they faced off. New rule in 2004. No player can come within five feet of the face-off players and they cannot interfere with opposing players until the puck is in play. When the four red circles were painted on the ice, players wanted to come inside before the puck dropped. Another new rule, again in 2004. Players cannot enter the circle more than once before the puck is dropped.

        The referee turned the responsibility for dropping the puck over to the linesmen on all occasions except at the beginning of each period and after a goal is scored. This way he can stand to the side and see that these rules are followed.

        Ever wondered why a face-off player is removed and replaced by another member of his team? It may be because the player did not get set or is taking unfair advantage by swiping at the puck before it is dropped.

        A point of protocol – the visiting player is to put his stick blade on the ice first or he is out of the face-off.

        A good face-off player knows not to watch the ice to be ready to hit the puck when it lands. Too much delayed reaction time. The player watches the ref’s or linesman’s hands. When the hand moves to drop the puck, the player moves his stick to hit it.  If the player just watches the faceoff dot he/she is going to be slower to react because he/she won’t be able to see the puck until it hits the ice. By watching the ref’s hand the player can anticipate the drop and have a better chance to time the draw.

         At the beginning of each period or after a goal when the teams face off at the center red line, the visiting team player is to put his stick down on the ice first.

        When doing a ceremonial face-off, the home team player is the one to touch the puck with his stick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                from USA Hockey, Jan. 2012


Revised: 07/04/2016