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The Playing Surface

How big is the ice surface? And just what are all those lines and circles for?

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NHL games are played on an ice surface 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. The rink is surrounded by the boards. Players sit on benches along one side of the boards, with penalty boxes on the other side.

The centre-ice line divides the rink in half. The bluelines delineate each team’s defensive zone. The area between the bluelines is called the neutral zone.

At the far ends of the rink, a red line extends the width of the ice. That is the goal line. If the puck legally crosses the goal line into the net, a goal is scored.

The goal crease—coloured blue—is the goaltender’s domain. The area directly behind the net marked by red lines is called the trapezoid. The goaltender is allowed to play the puck within this area but is penalized if he plays the puck below the goal line outside the trapezoid.

There are nine different faceoff areas. Each period begins with a faceoff at centre ice. And each time a goal is scored, another faceoff takes place at centre ice. There are two face-off circles in each defensive zone as well as 4 faceoff dots in the neutral zone.

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