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Hockey School
the professorFaceoffs

What are they?: To initiate play, an official drops the puck between the sticks of opposing players. The objective is to win control and kick the puck back to the defenseman to begin possession.

What are they called?: At the beginning of each period and then several times during that period. Every whistle, a delayed penalty, a goal, an iced puck, an offsides call, an injury, a two-line pass, you name it, leads to a faceoff.

Where are they held?: AThere are five circles, two in each zone and one at center ice. Most occur in these areas. There are also four regions located just outside the bluelines. They are used, for the most part, after offsides and two-line passes. The circles inside the zone are used when a goalie freezes a puck. At that point, the official must decide which circle is closest to where the action was stopped. The center-ice circle is reserved for the beginning of periods and after goals.

The lingo: The points where faceoffs occur are known as “dots.” The faceoff itself is known, around the rinks, as the “drop.”

Did you know?: It is viewed as a disadvantage, a punishment if you will, when your No. 1 faceoff man, usually your center, cannot participate. How does this happen? In fighting for position with an opponent before the drop, some tend to get feisty with the stick. An official has the right to decide just how feisty. If he gets out of line, he gets kicked out of the circle, and one of the wings steps in. Often times, both participants get ejected from the dot.

– Compiled by Tim Sullivan

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