What Is Center Ice In Ice Hockey?

center ice

What Is Center Ice? 

Simply put, center ice is located directly in the middle of an NHL rink. It is also known as “the faceoff circle” because that is where the puck drops during faceoffs.

The faceoff circle is a 9-foot diameter circle with five lines radiating outwards from its center point. These lines are used to measure if a player is legally occupying their designated spot when playing defense or offense during a faceoff. 

Why Is Center Ice Important? 

Center ice is important because It is where most of a team’s faceoffs occur and can be used to gain possession of the puck after it has been released from play or launch an offensive attack against an opponent’s netminder (goalie).

Players often use center ice as a strategic position when defending their netminder or setting up plays. As such, it can be seen as one of the most important areas on an NHL rink.  

What Else Happens at Center Ice? 

Center ice also serves as the starting point for many plays and strategies during games. Line changes start at center ice, and players often start their shift by skating through it before heading towards either end of the rink.

Teams may also line up two or three players near each other to create passing lanes or provide additional support for teammates attempting shots on goal or defending against attacking opponents.  

What Is The Red Line In The Center?

The center red line in hockey divides the rink into two halves. It is also used to help officials and players know when the puck has crossed into the offensive zone (when the puck crosses the red line, it is considered a shot on goal). The center red line can also be used as a guide for players when making line changes.

What Is The Blue Line?

The blue lines in ice hockey are the two lines that run the length of the rink and divide it into three sections. The purpose of having them is to determine whether a team is offside.

If a player on one team crosses over the blue line into the offensive zone before the puck, they are offside and cannot participate in the play. They also help officials identify penalties, such as icing and too many men on the ice.