How does face off work in hockey

Why Do Hockey Players Get Kicked Out At Faceoffs?

Hockey is an exciting game with interesting rules. One of these rules involves the players getting kicked out of faceoffs. So, what are the faceoffs? And why do hockey players get kicked out at faceoffs? This post will answer questions regarding the faceoffs rules in hockey. 

There are different reasons you would see the referee kick out players or switch them during this part of the game. This situation happens when players are trying to do something illegal. It might also happen when players fail to line up properly. 

So let’s dive into the discussion of this rule in a hockey game. 

What Are Faceoffs In Hockey?

When a game is about to resume in a hockey game, the referee puts down the puck on the faceoff dot. Two centers are to line up before the official drops the puck. The rest of the team must stay at least 15 feet away from the puck. No player is allowed to violate this rule

So when does a faceoff occur? The following situations would call for a faceoff in a hockey game; 

  • Faceoffs happen at the start of every period in a hockey game. 
  • After every goal, the referee takes the puck to the center of the rink for a faceoff
  • A hockey game also experiences a faceoff when an injury happens, or the puck goes out of play. 
  • Faceoffs also occur when there is a penalty and the referee blows his whistle. 

Why Do Players Get Kicked Out At Faceoffs

During the faceoffs, players are to set up in a certain manner with two centers across each other, and the rest of the team 15 meters away. Players could get kicked out if they violate the faceoff rule and try to disrupt the setup. 

Here are some situations that can result in the referee kicking out a player; 

1. The Five Seconds Rule

When the referee blows his whistle for a faceoff, the players of each team should be ready and set up within five seconds. If a player is not ready, within this time, the referee will kick them out of the circle. 

Hockey players often try to set up late for a faceoff to give themselves a chance of winning the faceoffs. The official can excuse them from the circle if he discovers this violation. 

However, the five seconds rule does not stand in the last two minutes of the game. 

2. The Centers Not Lining Up Properly

Another violation of this hockey rule is the centers not lining up properly. Remember that each center from the sides is to be set up across each other in this situation. However, they must follow these three instructions to avoid being thrown out; 

  • Square Up; The centers should stand in a straight position with their skates facing the opponents. Otherwise, the player could be seen as having an advantage over the opponent. 
  • Feet In Stirrups; The feet of the centers should be before the red L shapes on the dot. This rule makes sure that no player has a positional advantage over the other. 
  • Sticks; The defensive and offensive players must have their sticks on the edge of the dot before faceoffs. Placing the sticks in the air, or moving them before the referee drops the puck is a violation of the rule. 

A violation of this rule also counts when a player moves before the official drops the puck. 

3. When There Is an Encroachment By One Of The Players

The encroachment of a teammate can lead to punishment for the center of a team. Centers can get kicked out when a player on his side makes a violation such as; 

  • Makes contact with an opponent
  • Enter the faceoff in an offside position or 
  • Commits an encroachment into the faceoff circle

Why Do Players Violate The Faceoff Rule?

Faceoff is one of the most common rules in hockey games. It happens before the resumption of a game. You would notice a faceoff in hockey before the start of every period, when the puck goes out of play, during penalties, and after a goal. Most teams fight hard to win faceoffs because it is important to keep possession. 

Keeping the puck is a vital part of the hockey game. Teams like to have possession and start that with winning faceoffs. Hockey players are also eager about faceoffs because they can lead to scoring goals and winning games. 

Is There A Penalty For Violating The Faceoff Rule?

A team and an offending player can suffer a setback if there violate the rule multiple times. The faceoffs rules allow a minor penalty for an offending player that commits consecutive violations. The minor penalty puts the player in the penalty box for two minutes, giving their opponent an advantage on the power play. 

Can A Goaltender Take A Faceoff In Hockey?

A goalie cannot take a faceoff in a hockey game. The center is the player allowed to square up while the other players stand 15 meters away. 

Where Does The Faceoff Take Place In Hockey?

Faceoffs are not played in one spot. There is nine faceoff spot on the ice and different infractions or situations lead to a faceoff. So, for every faceoff scenario, there are different faceoff spots. 

This section will show you the various spots for every faceoff in a hockey game. 

Faceoff Scenario Faceoff Spot
Violating the Hand Pass Rule Closest Faceoff spot
When a goal is scored Center ice
Icing Closest faceoff spot in the offending team’s area
Injury to a player Closest faceoff spot
The puck goes out of play Closest faceoff spot
Offside Neutral zone at the closest faceoff spot


The faceoff is an important part of a hockey game. It is where every play starts and also how the official resumes the game. However, players tend to cheat and the rules call for a violation when this happens. 

As we have mentioned, players and teams could face a penalty for consecutive violations. But players fighting to win faceoffs are common in the game. That is because this part of the game helps a team to keep possession. It also leads to scoring goals and winning games in hockey. 

So, I believe you know why players get kicked out at faceoffs and why they often violate this rule.

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