Earlier today we hosted an Ask HWB question and answer segment on Twitter, where hockey fans could ask us hockey-related questions and we answered them. Today one of our Twitter followers asked us a question that might have been on the mind of a new or casual hockey fan.
@Vizzle17 asked: Why do ref’s constantly throw players out of the circle and what’s the advantage/disadvantage?
I’ve been a USA Hockey registered official for 15 years and this is a perfect opportunity to explain just why the ref’s kick players out of a draw just before he drops the puck.
In the NHL Rulebook, Rule 76.3 outlines the faceoff procedure:
As soon as the line change procedure has been
completed by the Referee and he lowers his hand to indicate no
further changes, the Linesman conducting the face-off shall blow his
whistle. This will signal to both teams that they have no more than five
(5) seconds to line up for the ensuing face-off. At the end of the five
(5) seconds (or sooner if both centers are ready), the Linesman will
conduct a proper face-off. If, however:
(i) One or both centers are not positioned for the face-off,
(ii) One or both centers refrain from placing their stick on the ice,
(iii) Any player has encroached into the face-off circle,
(iv) Any player makes physical contact with an opponent, or
(v) Any player who lines up for the face-off in an off-side position,
the Linesman shall have the offending center(s) replaced immediately
prior to dropping the puck.
The main thing to pay attention to in the small roman numerals is what could cause a player to get kicked out of the faceoff. A center is considered in the proper position if his feet are inside the lines (as designated in the end zone circles) and his stick in his half of the white area inside the dot. In addition, the visitor is the first to lay his stick down followed by the home player.
Centers try to get the best advantage as possible in order to win the faceoff. This could be anything from not having their shoulders and feet squared to the other player to trying to initiate contact with the other center. As stated in notes iii and iv, if you encroach across your side of the area and make contact with the opposing player, you will get removed from the circle and replaced with another player as this is a faceoff violation. If the replacement player commits a violation of his own at the same faceoff, the team will be assessed a bench minor penalty as this is the offending team’s second violation at the same time.
The video below with Bob Errey can also answer your question as well as what NHL players are trying to do when it comes to winning a draw.
Hope this answered a question you might have thought about. If you have any other topics we should discuss or questions you want answered, tweet #AskHWB to @hockeyworldblog on Twitter.