Faceoff – Neutral Zone

Opposing Center’s Draw

The goal of winning all face-offs is to get control of the puck after it drops. In most cases, this means the center should pull or draw it backwards towards our defense. From there, we can begin a play to move it forward and set up zone entry and attack.

But even if we don’t win it by drawing it back, we can still get control of the puck. The key to a neutral zone (NZ) faceoff is reading the opposing center’s draw direction. In the picture above, White (Miller #47 for NY Rangers) will most likely try to draw the puck to HIS left – our right as we view him. It is extremely difficult for him to pull it to his other side because he is a lefty.

Because we know the path the puck may follow, we can take advantage of the situation by trying to get it.


So, if the opponent’s center is a lefty and we lose the draw, the puck will most likely move at an angle to the right. If our Right Wing explodes, he has a good chance of picking up the puck as it travels backwards from the centers.

So, the wing that is on the side of the opposing center’s draw (depends if he is a left or righty) will line up and anticipate picking off the puck. He can move as soon as the puck leaves the referees hands – so that’s his cue.

In preparing for the faceoff, the wing who is going to jump can say, “I have the rabbit” or just “rabbit” to indicate he is planning on going forward.


Yoga is our cue word for balance.

As we line up, the center may yell out “Yoga!”. In this play, the wingers will switch sides to balance each other.

When the lead wing (rabbit chaser) chases the puck behind the opposing forward, he should move laterally (whether he gets the puck or not) to the opposite side.

On the puck drop, the other wing should explode laterally behind our center to the side that the rabbit chaser just left.


School is our cue word for moving forward.

As we line up, the center may yell out “School!”. In this play, the wingers will push forward as hard as they can, and carry the puck into the OZ or dump it behind the opponents’ defense. This is kind of like a blitzkrieg attack.

Both wingers explode forward on the puck drop. If we lose the draw, but the Rabbit chaser is able to pick it up, you’ll likely have a 2 v 2 situation, or possibly a breakaway if you move fast enough. If opposing D looks like they will block the Rabbit, he should toss it deep into the opposing corner.

Notice that if the Rabbit is on the right side, the LW should move to the left side. If the Rabbit successfully tosses the puck deep past the opposing D, the LW will go fetch it in the left corner.

If we win the puck draw, wingers should head forward and then out towards their respective walls to pick up a quick pass from D.