76.1 Face-off – The action of the Referee or Linesman in dropping the puck between the sticks of two opposing players to start or resume play. A face-off begins when the official indicates the location of the face-off and the officials and players take their appropriate positions. The face-off ends when the puck has been legally dropped.
A goalkeeper may not participate in a face-off.
76.2 Face-off Locations – All face-offs must be conducted on one of the nine (9) face-off spots located on the rink.
When a stoppage of play has been caused by any player of the attacking side in the attacking zone, the ensuing face-off shall be made in the neutral zone on the nearest face-off spot. If two rule violations are the reason for the stoppage of play (ie. high-sticking the puck and intentional off-side), the ensuing face-off location shall be determined as the spot that provides the least amount of territorial advantage to the offending team.
When the play is stopped for any reason not specifically attributable to either team while the puck is in the neutral zone, the ensuing face-off shall be conducted at the nearest face-off spot outside the blue line whenever possible. When it is unclear as to which of the four face-off spots is the nearest, the spot that gives the home team the greatest territorial advantage in the neutral zone will be selected for the ensuing face-off.
When players are penalized at a stoppage of play so as to result in penalties being placed on the penalty time clock to one team, the ensuing face-off shall be conducted at one of the two face-off spots in the offending team’s end zone. There are only four exceptions to this application:
(i) when a penalty is assessed after the scoring of a goal - face-off at center ice;
(ii) when a penalty is assessed at the end (or start) of a period - face-off at center ice;
(iii) when the defending team is penalized and the attacking players enter the attacking zone beyond the outer edge of the end zone face-off circle - face-off in the neutral zone (see paragraph 10 of this section);
(iv) when the team not being penalized ices the puck - face-off in the neutral zone outside the blue line of the team icing the puck.
When an infringement of a rule has been committed by players of both sides in the play resulting in the stoppage, the ensuing face-off will be made at the nearest face-off spot in that zone.
When stoppage occurs between the end face-off spots and near end of the rink, the puck shall be faced-off at the end face-off spot on the side where the stoppage occurs unless otherwise expressly provided by these rules.
No face-off shall be made within fifteen feet (15') of the goal or side boards nor anywhere other than at a face-off spot.
When a goal is illegally scored as a result of a puck being deflected directly off an official, the resulting face-off shall be made at the nearest face-off spot in the zone where the puck deflected off of the official.
When a goal is illegally scored by the attacking team by directing, batting, kicking or high-sticking the puck into the goal, the resulting face-off shall take place in the neutral zone at the nearest face-off spot.
When the game is stopped for any reason not specifically covered in the official rules, the puck must be faced-off at a face-off spot in the zone nearest to where it was last played.
Following a stoppage of play, should one or both defensemen who are the point players or any player coming from the bench of the attacking team, enter into the attacking zone beyond the outer edge of the end zone face-off circle during an altercation, gathering or “scrum,” the ensuing face-off shall take place in the neutral zone near the blue line of the defending team. This rule also applies when an icing, an intentional off-side, or a high-sticking the puck violation (by the team of greater numerical strength of its opponent) has occurred, and the ensuing face-off is to be in the offending team’s defending zone. Should any of the non-offending players enter into the attacking zone beyond the outer edge of the end zone face-off circle during an altercation, gathering or “scrum,” the ensuing face-off shall take place in the neutral zone near the blue line of the defending team.
For a violation of Rule 71 – Premature Substitution, the resulting face-off will take place at the center ice face-off spot when play is stopped beyond the center red line. When play is stopped prior to the center red line, the resulting face-off shall be conducted at the nearest face-off spot in the zone where the play was stopped.
When play is stopped for an injured player, the ensuing face-off shall be conducted at the face-off spot in the zone nearest the location of the puck when the play was stopped. When the injured player’s team has possession of the puck in the attacking zone, the face-off shall be conducted at one of the face-off spots outside the blue line in the neutral zone. When the injured player is in his defending zone and the attacking team is in possession of the puck in the attacking zone, the face-off shall be conducted at one of the defending team’s end-zone face-off spots.
76.3 Procedure – As soon as the line change procedure has been completed by the Referee and he lowers his hand to indicate no further changes, the Linesman conducting the face-off shall blow his whistle. This will signal to both teams that they have no more than five (5) seconds to line up for the ensuing face-off. At the end of the five (5) seconds (or sooner if both centers are ready), the Linesman will conduct a proper face-off. If, however:
(i) One or both centers are not positioned for the face-off,
(ii) One or both centers refrain from placing their stick on the ice,
(iii) Any player has encroached into the face-off circle,
(iv) Any player makes physical contact with an opponent, or
(v) Any player who lines up for the face-off in an off-side position,
the Linesman shall have the offending center(s) replaced immediately prior to dropping the puck.
In the last two (2) minutes of regulation time or any time in overtime, the Linesman will still blow his whistle to initiate the face-off, but the five (5) second time limit will not be enforced. However, players must abide by the verbal directions given by the Linesman in his attempt to conduct a fast and fair face-off.
76.4 Procedure – Centers – The puck shall be faced-off by the Referee or the Linesman dropping the puck on the ice between the sticks of the players facing-off. Players facing-off will stand squarely facing their opponent’s end of the rink approximately one stick length apart with the blade of their sticks on the ice.
When the face-off takes place in any of the end face-off circles, the players taking part shall take their position so that they will stand squarely facing their opponent’s end of the rink, and clear of the ice markings. The sticks of both players facing-off shall have the blade on the ice, within the designated white area. The visiting player shall place his stick within the designated white area first followed immediately by the home player.
If a player facing-off fails to take his proper position immediately when directed by the official, the official may order him replaced for that face-off by any teammate then on the ice.
If a center is not at the designated face-off area once the five (5) second time limit has elapsed, the Linesman will drop the puck immediately. If the center is back from the face-off dot, is “quarterbacking” or refuses to come into the face-off area when instructed to do so by the Linesman, or the center is simply slow getting to the face-off dot when the five (5) seconds has elapsed, the puck shall be dropped. If the center attempts to arrive at the face-off dot just as the five seconds elapses in an attempt to gain an advantage to win the face-off, he is to be removed from the face-off and replaced, resulting in a face-off violation.
If a player is ejected from the face-off, his replacement must come into position quickly or risk having the puck dropped by the Linesman without the player being set, or ejected from the face-off by the Linesman resulting in a bench minor penalty for delay of game for a second face-off violation during the same face-off.
76.5 Procedure – Other Players – No other player shall be allowed to enter the face-off circle or come within fifteen feet (15') of the players facing-off. All players must stand on-side on all face-offs.
During end-zone face-offs, all other players on the ice must position their bodies on their own side of the restraining lines marked on the outer edge of the face-off circles.
If a player other than the player taking the face-off moves into the face-off circle prior to the dropping of the puck, then the offending team’s player taking the face-off shall be ejected from the face-off circle. This shall be considered a face-off violation.
Players on the attacking team (exclusive of the center) must establish their position first and then the defending team may counter and hold its position until the puck is dropped. A violation of this procedure shall be treated as face-off encroachment and the Linesman shall order the center of the offending team replaced. Should an attacking player attempt to establish a new position prior to the face-off, and the defending center steps back from the face-off dot in order to reposition his teammates, the face-off violation shall be charged to the attacking team as they must establish their position first.
76.6 Violations – If a center should move prematurely prior to the face-off, or if the Referee or Linesman shall have dropped the puck unfairly, the face-off shall be considered a face-off violation and it must be conducted again.
When a least two face-off violations have been committed by the same team during the same face-off, this team shall be penalized with a bench minor penalty to the offending team. This penalty shall be announced as a “Bench Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation.”
Face-off violations shall be summarized as follows (any of the four on-ice officials may identify a face-off violation):
(i) Encroachment by any player other than the center into the face-off area prior to the puck being dropped. Players on the perimeter of the face-off circle must keep both skates outside the face-off circle (skate contact with the line is permitted). If a player's skate crosses the line into the face-off circle prior to the drop of the puck, this shall be deemed as a face-off violation. A player's stick may be inside the face-off circle provided there is no physical contact with his opponent or his opponent's stick.
(ii) Encroachment by any player into the area between the hash marks on the outer edges of the face-off circle prior to the puck being dropped. Players must also ensure that both of their skates do not cross their respective hash marks. Contact with the line with their skate is permitted. If a player's skate crosses the line into the area between the hash marks prior to the drop of the puck, this shall be deemed as a face-off violation. A player's stick may be inside the area between the hash marks provided there is no physical contact with his opponent or his opponent's stick.
(iii) Any physical contact with an opponent prior to the puck being dropped.
(iv) Failure by either center taking the face-off to properly position himself behind the restraining lines or place his stick on the ice (as outlined in Rule 76.4). "Properly position himself behind the restraining lines" shall mean that the center must place his feet on either side of the restraining lines that are parallel to the side boards (contact with the lines is permissible), and the toe of the blade of his skates must not cross over the restraining lines that are perpendicular to the side boards as he approaches the face-off spot.
The blade of the stick must then be placed on the ice (at least the toe of the blade of the stick) in the designated white area of the face-off spot and must remain there until the puck is dropped.
Failure to comply with this positioning and face-off procedure will result in a face-off violation.
Whenever a team has committed two face-off violations during the same face-off, the Referee shall immediately assess the offending team a bench minor penalty for delay of game. This penalty shall be announced as a “Bench Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation.”
Players who are late to the face-off location and therefore in an off-side position for the ensuing face-off will be warned once in the game by the Referee. This warning will also be given to the offending team’s Coach. Any subsequent violation shall result in a bench minor penalty for delay of game being assessed to the offending team. This penalty shall be announced as a “Bench Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Slow Proceeding to Face-off Location.”
In the conduct of any face-off at any of the nine (9) face-off spots on the playing surface, no player facing-off shall make any physical contact with his opponent’s body by means of his own body or by his stick except in the course of playing the puck after the face-off has been completed.
For violation of this rule, the Referee may, at his discretion impose a minor penalty or penalties on the player(s) whose action(s) caused the physical contact. Nonetheless, this physical contact prior to the dropping of the puck shall be deemed as a face-off violation and the Linesman shall order the center of the offending team replaced.
Face-off encroachment may be applied during face-offs at any of the nine (9) face-off spots on the playing surface. However, since no such lines are painted on the ice at the four (4) face-off spots adjacent to the blue lines, Linesmen shall use their judgment as to whether or not a violation has occurred. All players, other than the centers, shall be uniformly back from the face-off location similar to being outside the face-off circle for face-offs in the end zones.
76.7 Line Changes – No substitution of players shall be permitted until the face-off has been completed and play has resumed except when a penalty is imposed which affects the on-ice strength of either team.
Should an on-ice official notice that the defending team has not placed enough players on the ice for the ensuing face-off, the Referee in the neutral zone shall be notified and he will instruct the offending team to place another player(s) on the ice. If, in the opinion of the Referee that this is being done as a stalling tactic, he will issue a warning to the offending team’s Coach and any subsequent violations shall result in the assessment of a bench minor penalty for delay of game.
Should an on-ice official notice that the attacking team has not placed enough players on the ice for the ensuing face-off, the Linesman will proceed with conducting the face-off in the normal manner. The attacking team must ensure they put the appropriate number of players on the ice at all times.
76.8 Verification of Time - Any loss of time on the game or penalty clocks due to a false face-off or face-off violationmust be replaced. The Video Goal Judge may be consulted to ensure the time is accurately replaced.
The whistle will not be blown by the official to start play. Playing time will commence from the instant the puck is faced-off and will stop when the whistle is blown or a goal is scored.