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Situational Faceoff Placement Again the Focus of High School Ice Hockey Rules Changes

May 18, 2023



 Situational Faceoff Placement Again the Focus of High School

Ice Hockey Rules Changes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  Contact: Dan Schuster

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 16, 2023) — The faceoff immediately following an instance where the puck has become lodged on the outside of the goal cage will now be contested at the nearest faceoff circle in the offensive zone rather than the neutral zone.    

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Ice Hockey Rules Committee suggested this rule change for the 2023-24 season, which stemmed from the committee’s annual rules meeting held April 24-25 at the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis. The rule change was subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The committee has done such great work the past several years, which has the rules in a really good place,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the Ice Hockey Rules Committee. “The committee continues to lead high school ice hockey down the path that is best for the game as well as the health and safety of student participants.”

Moving the faceoff to the offensive zone after play has been stopped for a puck lodged on the net creates consistency with other sections of Rule 9-1-9 and Rule 9-1-10 – the articles that lay out the respective scenarios for offensive-zone and neutral-zone faceoffs.

Previously, the ensuing faceoff was held in the neutral zone at the faceoff spot nearest to where the lodged puck was frozen, regardless of which team caused the stoppage in play. Especially in situations where the defending team was responsible for the lodged puck, the previous administration of this rule created a natural disadvantage for the attacking team by requiring them to execute another successful offensive zone entry. In the context of the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Book, the language pertaining to this rule has been transferred from Rule 9-1-10c to the new Rule 9-1-9e.  

Rule 9-1 was also the focus of the 2022-23 ice hockey rules changes, which were highlighted by a change in faceoff location after a puck had left the playing area. That rule, which is now Rule 9-1-9f as a result of this year’s change, was also amended to mandate an offensive-zone faceoff rather than a neutral-zone faceoff.

A complete listing of the ice hockey rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Ice Hockey.”

According to the 2021-22 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, 33,153 boys participate in ice hockey in 1,568 high schools across the country, and 8,939 girls play ice hockey in 699 schools.

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