The Faceoff

It starts every game, period and play.

The faceoff is used to begin every game, period and play. It occurs when a referee drops the puck between the sticks of two opposing players. The opposing players then fight for possession of the puck. At the beginning of a game or period, or after a goal is scored, the faceoff happens at centre ice. One player from each team is selected to take the faceoff—typically it’s the centre’s job. The other players gather into position beside and behind the player taking the faceoff.

If one or both of the players taking the faceoff is not positioned properly, if the blades of their sticks aren’t resting on the ice, if any players have illegally entered the faceoff circle, the referee will force the offending player to be swapped for another. The faceoff ends when the puck drops to the ice.