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Face-Off Procedures

Situation 1

Which team’s center must place the stick first on the ice for any face-off conducted at the center ice face-off spot?

The visiting team’s center must place the stick on the ice first. Rule Reference 613(a).

In all face-offs not conducted along the center red line, the attacking team’s center must be the first to place the stick on the ice.

Situation 2

Is a center who is facing-off required to have the entire blade of the stick on the ice? No. Rule Reference 613(a).

As long as any part of the blade touches the ice in the proper place, the player shall be considered ready for the face-off.

Situation 3

Because of physical size, a 10 & Under player is unable to place his skates and stick within the prescribed areas at an end zone face-off spot and maintain balance. How should the player be required to line up?

Stick in contact with the ice with his shoulders perpendicular to the side boards. Rule Reference 613(a).

This may require the player’s skates to be in front of the “L” lines parallel to the end boards, and possibly between the “L” lines parallel to the side boards. This should be permitted, and the “L” lines would be used as guides to ensure that the player is squared up properly.

Situation 4

The Linesman drops the puck and before it hits the ice, one of the centers hits the puck out of the air with the blade of his stick. Should the Linesman allow the play to continue?

Yes. Rule Reference 613(a).

As long as the player made a legal attempt to gain possession of the puck, the play shall be allowed to continue. If the Linesman had dropped the puck and it accidentally hit the stick or glove of either player facing-off, play must be immediately stopped and a new face-off conducted.

Situation 5

Can a goalkeeper participate in a face-off? No. Rule References 613(a), 301(b) and 303.

The rules do not permit a goalkeeper to take a face-off because of the measurement restrictions on his stick and protective equipment.

Situation 6

A Linesman is set to drop the puck which is accidentally knocked out of his hand by a player taking the face-off. What procedure does the Linesman follow?

The Linesman conducting the face-off stops play immediately. Rule References 613(a) and 503(c).

If the Linesman feels the action was deliberate, a misconduct or game misconduct penalty should be assessed to the offending player.

If deemed to be an accident, the offending player is removed from the face-off.

Situation 7

Should a Linesman allow a player not taking the face-off to be in motion, and not in a stationary position? Yes. Rule Reference 613(b).

A player not taking the face-off may be moving, provided he is outside the circle and on-side.

Situation 8

May a player have his stick between the hash marks that are meant to separate him from his opponent during a face-off? No. Rule Reference 613(b).

Both players must be completely behind their respective hash marks. This includes all sticks and all skates.

Situation 9

In the process of conducting an end zone face-off, who has the responsibility to watch players positioned behind the Linesman conducting the face-off?

The back Linesman is responsible for watching for encroachment of the players behind. Rule References 613(b) and 503(c).

For the first offense, the back Linesman will blow his whistle and signal to his partner which center(s) shall be removed. For a second violation by the same team during the same face-off, the back Linesman shall blow the whistle and signal to the Referee which player shall be penalized.

The Referee should only involve himself if encroachment is an ongoing problem and his presence will assist in lining the players up properly.

Situation 10

In the process of conducting an end zone face-off, who has the responsibility to watch players positioned in front of the Linesman conducting the face-off?

The Linesman conducting the face-off is responsible. Rule References 613(b) and 503(c).

For the first offense, the Linesman will blow his whistle and signal which center(s) shall be removed. For a second violation by the same team during the same face-off, the Linesman shall blow the whistle and signal to the Referee which player shall be penalized.

The Referee should only involve himself if encroachment is an ongoing problem and his presence will assist in lining the players up properly.

Situation 11

Immediately following a stoppage of play, the home team makes a player (one to five players) “line change,” following which the visiting team also makes a player change. The Coach of the home team then decides that he wants to put different player(s) on the ice to counter the change made by the visiting team. Should the Referee permit the home team to make this “last change?”

No. Rule References 613(c) and 205(a).

The home team may elect to wait until the visiting team has changed lines before making its own change of players, therefore giving the home team the “last change” privilege. But, if the home team makes a decision to change any number of players on the ice and does so before the visiting team has had a reasonable amount of time to make a change, no further line change may be made by the home team.

Once both teams are lined up and ready for a face-off, neither team shall be permitted to change players other than as provided in Rule 613, Face-Off Procedures.

Situation 12

A team tries to change players after the line change procedure has been completed and the Referee sends the players back to the bench. Should the linesman remove the center for a faceoff violation?

No. The action of the team is a player change violation. Rule references 613(c) and 205(a).

Centers should only be removed for actual violations of the face-off procedures. The situation described is a player change violation and must be dealt with by the Referee through the player change rules.

Situation 13

The home team players are slow to skate to the face-off location after changing players during a stoppage of play. The official conducting the face-off is in position and has blown the whistle to signal the face-off procedure has started while there are still players skating to the face-off location. Should the officials remove the center for a slow line change?

No. Rule Reference 613(c) and 610(h).

In this instance, the violation that has occurred is a player change violation. The offending team bench should be warned and any subsequent violation by the same team during the same game should result in a bench minor penalty for delay of game. Players facing off should only be removed for actual face-off violations.

Situation 14

A player taking a face-off who is on-side, is deliberately delaying getting set for the face-off. Should the Official conducting the face-off, after a minimum of five seconds have elapsed, drop the puck with only one player ready?

Yes. Rule Reference 613(c).

However, the Official must manage the face-off with proper mechanics and communication in order to minimize this occurrence. The onus is on the player to be ready for the face- off in a timely manner and follow the instructions of the Official.

Situation 15

A false face-off occurs. After the whistle, if either team attempts to change lines, should the Referee permit this change?

No. Rule References 613(c) and 610(h).

The Referee must order all players attempting to change back to the players’ bench. If there is any delay involved in getting the original line-up back on the ice, the Referee may assess a minor penalty for delaying the game, in which case substitutions shall be permitted.

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