How to Win Those Face-Offs!

Steve Hymon

Did you know that there are 60-plus face-offs in a single game? In order to be a commanding presence on the ice, it is important to have a plan for both scenarios—whether you win or lose a face-off. These quick tips will help ensure your team maintains control in all three zones.

In General

• In all face-off situations (win/lose), know your roles and responsibilities
• Centers must communicate with teammates before the puck drops
• Keep from being outnumbered in the Defensive Zone, in front of the net
• Play with urgency when the puck is dropped (puck possession)
• Be aware of having support on both sides of the puck

Defensive Zone Face-Off (in your end)

• Set a plan for a win-and-lose situation (puck possession and puck recovery)
• Net front: Defense match of the opponent’s forward
• Have the urgency to execute a plan

Neutral Zone Face-Off (middle of the ice)

• Prepare to react quickly to any situation
• Maintain puck possession and attack with speed
• Have strong support on the puck (both ends of the ice)

Offensive Zone Face-Off (in your opponent’s end)

• Work up a plan to create scoring chances (be a threat)
• Be creative

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  1. Another thing to keep in mind is that your wingers can hep you win faceoffs. If you are ever having trouble winning the faceoff back cleanly against your opponent, try lifting their stick and with your body pushing them backwards. The puck will be left between your skates, and your teammates can skate through to push it back to the D or take a shot if you’re in the offensive zone. Make sure you talk to your teammates before the faceoff so you are all on the same page. And yes, as Trevor said, watch the puck when it’s in the hands of the official. Don’t be looking down at the faceoff dot. A lot of officials do a quick up-down motion when dropping the puck. Once the official’s hand goes up start your movement to win the draw. You can’t score if you don’t have the puck, so the more faceoffs you win the better your chances are of winning the game.

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