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Ice Hockey Face-off Spots

Where does the face-off happen on the ice? How can you anticipate the face-off spot? Get ready to learn about the face-off spots on the ice hockey rink.


Face-offs are used to put the puck into play during an ice hockey game.

Hockey Face-Off

In this chapter, we will learn more about where face-offs happen on the ice. We'll discuss the face-off spots and how you can determine where the face-off will take place during a game.

Face-off Spots

There are nine (9) face-off spots on the ice including the one located on center ice.

Hockey Face-Off Spot

Face-offs can happen on any face-off spot in any zone:

There are lots of factors that determine the location of the face-off.

REMEMBER: The direction of play is determined by which team has possession of the puck. The attacking zone, defending zone, and neutral zone are all relative to the direction of play.

Determining The Face-off Spot

How can you determine the location of the face-off spot on the ice before players get into position? You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What happened on the previous play? (e.g. a goal was scored, there was a penalty, or the puck went out-of-bounds)
  • Which team committed the act that stopped play?
  • Where did the act occur? (e.g. play stopped in the attacking zone)

When in doubt of the face-off spot, you should remember two things:

  • Face-offs are designed to put the puck back into play
  • Face-off spots reward teams that were affected by penalties caused by the opposing team
  • The nearest face-off spot is used the majority of the time

After Goals Are Scored

Anytime after a goal is scored in ice hockey, the face-off will take place at the face-off spot located at center ice.

Offensive Players in the Attacking Zone

If play is stopped caused by an offensive player in the attacking zone, the face-off will take place in the neutral zone at the nearest face-off spot.

Puck Out-of-Bounds

If the puck is hit out-of-bounds on the face-off, it will be repeated at the same face-off spot.

If the puck goes out-of-bounds during play and not directly from the face-off, the face-off will take place at the closest face-off spot where play ended.

Player Injury

If a player is injured on the ice during play, the face-off will take place at the face-off spot in the zone nearest to where play stopped.

Icing Penalties

After an icing penalty, the face-off will take place in the offending team's defensive zone, to give the opposing team an advantage.

We'll learn more about icing in future chapters.


The face-off spot following an illegal hand-pass is the nearest face-off spot in the zone where the penalty occurred.

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