rule was introduced into most minor hockey associations across Canada
during the 2002-03 season. The
rule cuts down on the amount of time it takes for a game to be played. It
makes the pace of the game faster, thereby providing a much more exciting
atmosphere for both the spectators and the people on the ice.
the whistle has blown for a stoppage of play and players have had time to
complete any follow-up pushing and shoving, especially around the goal
area, the referee will start to count 5 seconds in his head.
During this first 5 seconds time the visiting team will be
permitted to change their players. Once these 5 seconds are up the referee
will now raise his hand for another 5 seconds at which time the home team
will be allowed to change their players.
Once the referee’s hand has come down the linesman will blow his
whistle and start to count to 5 (some associations use 8 seconds) seconds
in his head. Once the linesman has counted his 5 seconds he will
immediately drop the puck regardless of whether or not both centre men are
ready to take the face-off.
is one exception to this rule. If there are players that are not on side
(on the same side of the face off line of their centre man) after the
linesman has counted his 5 seconds, the linesman will not drop the puck.
The linesman will however kick out the centre man whose teammate was not
on side after the 5 seconds. This means that another player on the ice
must immediately take the face off. If this happens frequently throughout
the game it is up to the Referee to step in and assess the offending team
a penalty. In some associations, this rule calls for players to be ejected
instead of dropping the puck after the time is up.
rule is designed to speed up the game because too many players were just
dilly-dallying around and taking their time to get to the face-off spot on
stoppages of play. Another positive benefit of the fast face-off rule is
that there is no time for the customary pushing and shoving after the
whistle. Instead, because of the importance of winning face-offs, you will
see players rushing to the circle so that they are in place after the time
is counted down. Centre men are constantly hurrying into position so that
their team has a person to take the face off. In the early days of the
implementation of this rule it was common to see a linesman dropping the
puck with one centreman in place. This rarely happens today.