Why Do Hockey Players Get Kicked Out of Faceoffs?

Why Do Hockey Players Get Kicked Out of Faceoffs

You must have seen many changes and ups and downs moments when watching a hockey match. At that time, fans were wondering what was going on. What does just happened? Why has it happened? Many questions are going through their minds, and they are curious to know the reasons behind them.

Usually, the commentators tell the details of every moment and explain them side by side. Still, some moments are too sudden and fast enough to confuse themselves and cannot explain, not knowing the cause. And out of such short instances, kicking out players at face-off is the time that even commentators don’t know what exactly has happened that he kicked out of the game because it occurred out of the blue, so they skip explaining that part.

All we know for those quick, timely moments are different reasons based on NHL rules, and fans guessed that maybe this happened or that happened. So to understand the reasons why a player gets kicked out at a hockey face-off?

Let’s dig into the WHY of it and get ourselves clear about all misconceptions.

The scene in the ice arena is that the centre man will get kicked out if he or his teammates get caught doing some illegal stuff during the 5-second face-off setup. Now get ready to study this entire 5-second complex scenario. The faceoff violation occurs when there is a misalignment from the faceoff player or one of his teammates entering the faceoff circle.

Improper Lining Up

At the time of face-off, the lineman looks for three things from a violation point of view before dropping a puck which are:

  1. The Square up
  2. Wrong stick placement 
  3. Putting feet into stirrups

Let’s get an idea of these three points.

  • The Square Up: Player’s skates must be in a forward direction because if they turn to the opponent’s side, it will give them an edge over opponents to gain position by moving their body first.
  • Wrong Stick Placement: Players must place their sticks full-on ice with a blade at the circle edge. Because having a tiny part of the stick in the air will give them the advantage of knocking the opponent’s player’s stick and quickly grabbing the puck. 
  • Putting Feet into Stirrups: The center position is necessary at the face-off. His feet must be inside the RED L shapes near the dots. If they are outside of a bubble or RED L shape, it becomes easier for him to get position over the opponent.

If a player is too slow in setting his position at face-off or moves early to get the puck, he will get kicked out in the above three categories.

Illegal Stuff by Other Players

Getting kicked out of the face-off for a center man does not mean he did something illegal, but perhaps his team players did some illegal stuff.

For a linesman to get center replaced based on NHL rules if:

  1. A player makes physical contact with the opponent.
  2. A player who trespasses into the face-off circle.
  3. A player who positions himself for face in and off side.

The player trespassing into the face-off circle is the most common thing to see among all these circumstances. While waiting for the puck to drop, their emotions make them blow up as they are eager to win and unintentionally move into the circle.

Other than the center, other linesmen can also take face-offs as coaches always make other players ready, for it is not only the center’s responsibility but of others too. (However, centres are mostly judged for the winning percentage of their face-off – FOW). This is why wingers try to move fast, as when centers tie each other up, he gets a chance to get the puck.

Why do Players Cheats On Face-Off?

For the team, the most crucial part of the game is to win the face-off. That’s why they are eager to get the puck and hence involved in cheating.

Because in NHL, getting the puck means having more possession time than opponents. If one team constantly has more time for puck possession, it has more games winning chances.

Thus, to get the possession, they start it by winning the face-off and getting involved in the puck possession battle.

Is There A Penalty For Violating A Face-Off?

Yes, there is. A player or a team can get a penalty for a face-off violation.

If a player or a team commits a face-off violation two times at the same face-off, then they will come under a two-minute penalty, although it rarely happens that you can count on your fingertips.

NHL management usually does not give a penalty as they want to run the game smoothly and ends it quickly without any time wastage on game delay. Albeit, there is a constant delay of the game by restarting play due to some players’ face-off violations. So, the player or team deserves a penalty other than being thrown out of the face-off.

The NHL has designed this rule to maintain the game order. Otherwise, this is just an empty threat rule for the players.

Do Players Intentionally Create A Face-Off Violation?

Yes, players intend to create a face-off violation to get a slight game delay. But why would they do it intentionally?

The reason is that when a team does icing of the puck. They are not permitted to bring fresh legs. Moreover, the next face-off will start in their defensive zone. On the other hand, the opposing team will get new players, and the team who iced the puck will be tired players and have a face-off ten feet away from their goalie.

So the only solution to this situation is to do a face-off violation to block the other team’s dominance by preventing their goal. This is to give their tired place a quick 10-second rest to boost their body energy. Professional players only need a few seconds to recover back to the game.

Therefore, players intentionally create a face-off violation.

Face-Off Best Cheating Time

It is not some kind of secret that players do everything in their hands to be an advantage in the NHL, and face-off gives them this opportunity. Practically, there are no hard and fast rules by the NHL in every face-off for players to come under high penalty. So, players do push the limits of face-off aggressively to take the face-off.

The encroachment of a winger or quick-moving or center position is expected at the face-off. Further, they have more confidence in pushing face-off rules if they have two great center players on the team, so they don’t care about getting a kick out of the face-off as they know they have a solid backup to get the game back.

Many players have played as centers all along, but they become wingers when they get into NHL. So, you will find many players who are good at playing center with being a winger.

Thus, in finals, coaches put two special or center players in their defensive zone if a center gets kicked out of the face-off. Having a competent backup, the first player taking face-off aggressively pushes the face-off violation to try to get the puck in their possession to win the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which players take faceoffs in hockey faceoffs?

The two players taking the faceoffs are each team’s centerman. The centres are exceptional in handling the faceoffs.

What are the consequences of interfering with the faceoffs?

A player’s faceoff interference results in a removal from the faceoff and a minor penalty of 2 minutes. 

What is faceoff interference?

Faceoff interference is a faceoff violation that a player does by making body contact or with a stick with the opponent who is against them in a faceoff. This may happen before the completion of the faceoff. And it is punished by a minor penalty.

Why do faceoffs take place?

Faceoffs occur to conduct fair possession of the puck because each team wants to grab and control it for most of the game time. So, when a player tries to get an unfair benefit from it by doing some illegal action, the referee gives a removal signal of the player from the game.


Thus by going through all the possible scenarios, we can clear all the myths about why do players get kicked out at ice hockey face-offs. And we can now have a sound understanding of this sudden instance and know precisely what happened in a game if we keenly watch the match. Further speaking, players have intentions of face-off violation and do it deliberately without missing any chance to win a game, as NHL does not have strict rules for game flow.

That’s an opportunity for them, and they fight to grab it!

Related Articles:

  1. Can you Kick the Puck in Hockey?
  2. The Ultimate Guide to What is a Face-Off in Hockey?
  3. How Fast Do Hockey Players Skate?
  4. What is the Average Career Length of an NHL Player?
  5. TOP 10 Best NHL Players to Never Win the Stanley Cup
Austin Taylor

Who is Austin Taylor?

Meet Austin Taylor, your go-to source for everything ice hockey! With a passion for the sport that’s as deep as the ice itself, Austin Taylor brings you concise, expert insights and nitty-gritty details on all things hockey. From gear reviews to strategy breakdowns, Austin Taylor is your trusted guide to navigating the exhilarating world of ice hockey. Get ready to lace up your skates and dive into the game with Austin Taylor as your ultimate companion.

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