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Facing Off – Procedure

SECTION 3a Definition. Play shall be started at the beginning of each period (including sudden-victory periods) and after each goal by facing the ball at the center of the field

Exceptions: (1) In the event of an extra-man or flag-down that creates an extra man at the conclusion of any period, the next period shall begin with the advantage team in possession at the same relative position on the field when the period ended. However, if the period ends with neither team in possession, except in the previously mentioned flag-down situation, the ball shall be faced off with all the normal restrictions. (2) If a player or team commits a foul before any faceoff, the ball shall be awarded to the offended team. (3) If a player at any faceoff delays resumption of play by any action or maneuver, such as backing out or standing up after the crosses are placed on the ground, the ball shall be awarded to the offended team (see Rule 6-6-n). (4) If a player moves his crosse or any part of his body after assuming the “set” position, the ball shall be awarded to the offended team with all previous restrictions behind the defensive-area lines remaining in force.

Note: The faceoff is considered to have ended when the ball crosses the defensive- area line. If the ball crosses that line and goes out of bounds, and officials cannot determine the last player to touch the ball, the ball shall be awarded by alternate possession.


The ball shall be re-faced in the following instances: 1) If the ball goes out of bounds in the midfield area and the officials cannot determine the last player to touch the ball; 2) An inadvertent whistle is blown while the ball is in the midfield area; 3) An injury occurs in the midfield area; 4) Simultaneous fouls occur while the ball is loose; or 5) The official calls timeout before possession is awarded.

Before a faceoff, if there are simultaneous technical fouls or if there are simultaneous personal fouls with equal penalty time, the ball shall be re-faced (Exception: Rule 4, A R 21)

In the event of a flag-down that creates an all-even situation at the conclusion of any period, the next period will begin with a faceoff

b Mechanic. Two officials will be part of the faceoff mechanic The official conducting the faceoff will start the procedure by holding the ball and bringing the players together

  1. The official shall indicate to the players the spot on which the faceoff will take place and instruct the players to prepare for the faceoff by saying “down”

  2. Once the players are down they are to move into their faceoff position as quickly as possible. Players may kneel or stand as they get into position for the faceoff.

  3. The crosses and gloves shall rest on the ground along the center line, parallel to each other up to, but not touching, the center line

  4. The official shall make certain that the reverse surfaces of the crosses match evenly and are perpendicular to the ground, Each player must have both hands wrapped around the handle of his own crosse, touching the ground. The right hand may not touch any part of the head of the crosse. The player’s feet may not touch his crosse. Both hands and feet of each player must be to the left of the throat of his crosse. Each player must be positioned so his entire body is to the left of the throat of his crosse. It is legal to lean over the center line.

  5. If the players are not positioned properly, the officials may adjust the players positioning (including crosses) to ensure the faceoff will be conducted fairly for both players.

  6. Once the players are in the proper position, the official shall place the ball on the ground, in between the head of each crosse, paying close attention to placing the ball in the middle of the head of each crosse

  7. Once the official is satisfied with the placement of the ball and the positioning of the players’ crosses, he shall instruct the players to remain motionless by saying “Set” The official will still have the hand on the ball when the command “Set” is given

  8. After the “Set” command, the official shall back out and blow the whistle when clear of the scrimmage area. The official does not have to be stationary, and in all likelihood will still be moving backwards, when he blows the whistle to start play. The whistle cadence will vary with every faceoff.

  9. Violations, if they occur, are to be called by both faceoff officials and recorded. Three or more violations on a team in one half will continue to result in a time-served technical foul on the violating team.

  10. A violation will be called if a player picks up and carries the ball on the back of his stick. It is still legal to clamp the ball with the back of the stick, but it must be moved, raked or directed immediately. Immediately is defined as within one step.

  11. A player may not lie on the ball or trap it with his crosse longer than necessary for him to control the ball and pick it up with one continuous motion, or withhold the ball from play in any other manner.

  12. It is illegal to kick, step on, or place any other body part to his crosse or the crosse of the opponent. It is illegal for a faceoff player to use his crosse to hold or pin down either player’s crosse.

  13. It is illegal for a player to use his hand or fingers to play the ball. This shall be enforced immediately as an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Inadvertent touching of the ball when the hand is grasping the stick should not be called as an unsportsmanlike conduct foul.

  14. It is illegal for a player to grab an opponent’s crosse with the open hand or fingers. This shall be enforced immediately as an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

  15. A single-wrap of tape must be applied to the handle of the crosse for any player taking a face-off. The tape is to begin (but not touching) the plastic at the throat of the crosse and continuing six inches down the handle. Tape must be of contrasting color to the head, gloves, and shaft.

Facing Off – Violations

SECTION 4. a. After two pre-whistle violations in one half by a team, the third and subsequent violations result in a 30-second technical penalty. This applies to both pre- and post-whistle violations that directly relate to the faceoff. On the third and subsequent violations, the in-home is the player that must serve the penalty.

  1. b. Violations by the wing players before the faceoff will count toward the three per half. Only the faceoff players may be penalized for a post whistle faceoff violation.

  2. c. During the faceoff in all penalty situations, there must be four players must be in the defensive area and three players in the offensive area. Exception: When a team has three or more players in the penalty area, a player may come out of its defensive area to take the faceoff.

  3. d. Post-whistle pertains to face-off activities only. This is meant for violations like pinning an opponent’s crosse, etc. immediately after the whistle, while the face-off men are still in a battling position. Once the ball is free from the faceoff men, normal rules apply. A push or a hold after the ball is in the open field would not constitute a face-off violation.

  4. c. The violation count resets for overtime, and accumulates through overtime periods.

A.R. 10. On a faceoff, A2 uses his hand to grab the ball. It is Team A’s third violation of a half. RULING: Team B’s ball. Personal foul (unsportsmanlike conduct) on A2 and the in-home must also serve the team’s technical foul, putting Team A two men down.


A.R. 11. On a faceoff, or any other time during the game, A2 clamps the ball and the ball becomes stuck in his crosse so that the ball is withheld from play. RULING: Immediate whistle; award the ball to Team B.

A.R. 12. A1 and B1 have assumed legal faceoff positions. After the official blows the whistle to initiate play, (1) Either A1 or B1 strikes the opponent in the head or above the shoulders; or (2) Both A1 and B1 strike each other in the head or above the shoulders. RULING: (1) Illegal body check. If the player speared or targeted the head of the opponent, the penalty time is nonreleasable. (2) Simultaneous fouls.

A.R. 13. On a faceoff, A1 has his thumb around the handle of his crosse and his fingertips resting on the ground. RULING: Illegal faceoff position. All fingers of both hands must be gloved and wrapped around the crosse and must be resting on the ground. Award ball to Team B.

A.R. 14. On a faceoff, A1 meets all requirements. However, when the official blows the whistle, A1 “kicks” through the crosse rather than drawing his crosse. RULING: Illegal faceoff. The ball is awarded to Team B.

A.R. 15. On a faceoff, A1 makes an audible comment meant to cause B1 to move before the whistle is blown to initiate play. RULING: Unsportsmanlike conduct, one minute, nonreleasable penalty.

A.R. 16. On a faceoff and before possession has been declared, attackman or defenseman B1 touches or crosses the defensive-area line. RULING: Play on.

A.R. 17. On a faceoff, A1 meets all requirements of faceoff. However, he has one or both of his elbows braced against his thighs or legs. RULING: Legal position.

A.R. 18. After a faceoff, but before possession has been declared, a player loses any of the required equipment in the scrimmage area, and the player (1) Continues to play; (2) Takes himself out of the scrimmage area; or (3) Is, in the opinion of an official, in danger of injury. RULING: (1) Technical foul, possible play-on. (2) Play continues since the player is neither violating a rule nor is in danger. (3) The official must blow the whistle immediately. Award the ball according to Rule 6-6-z (playing without equipment).

A.R. 19. After a faceoff, the ball touches a player or players and goes out of bounds in the area between the defensive-area lines. Officials do not know who touched it last. RULING: Face off again.

A.R. 20. On a faceoff, the ball crosses the defensive-area line when the official inadvertently blows the whistle. RULING: Award the ball according to the alternate- possession rule.

A.R. 21. On a faceoff, the Team A faceoff player moves before the official blows the whistle. (1) Wing player A2 or B2 is across the wing line as the whistle blows. (2) Attack or defense player A3 or B3 is across the restraining line as the whistle blows. RULING: In all cases, because Team A had a faceoff violation, the faceoff has not taken place. Award the ball to Team B. Ignore the wing-area or restraining-line violation.

A.R. 22. During a faceoff, A1 covers the ball to draw it back. B1 clamps on top of A1’s stick and does not allow A1 to play the ball. RULING: Withholding by B1. A1 is awarded the ball on a quick restart.

A.R. 23. During a faceoff, A1 clamps on the ball and looks for a teammate to direct the ball to. He quickly directs the ball to A2. RULING: Legal play. The intent of this rule is to have the faceoff be a play that is in continuous motion.

A.R. 24. During a faceoff, A1 clamps on the ball and withholds the ball from play. He does not have a teammate to direct it to and continues to clamp the ball, keeping it from B1. RULING: Withholding by A1; the ball is awarded to Team B.

A.R. 25. A1 prepares to take a face-off with a crosse that does not conform to face-off requirements (no single layer of contrasting color tape on the shaft), but is otherwise legal for play. RULING: This is counted as a face-off violation. However, A1 & his crosse may remain in the game and participate in play.

A.R. 26. A1 pinches the ball in the back of the stick and (1) immediately flips the ball into the front of his crosse; (2) flips the ball onto the ground and directs the ball to a teammate; or (3) takes two steps away from the center line and flips the ball into the front of his crosse. RULING: In (1) and (2), these are legal plays. In (3) this is a faceoff violation for withholding. Award the ball to Team B, quick restart.

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