Basic Hockey positioning
Playing Defense during regular play

Watch some of the plays
Page 1
  1. Clearing the puck from the defensive zone
  2. Pressuring the puck on a clear
  3. Winning the face-off
  4. Defending the face-off
  5. Defender on a fast break from the side
  6. Defender on a fast break from the middle

Page 3 (Drake's tips)

  1. Lanes
  2. Offensive Triangle
  3. Face off basics


Page 2

  1. Where to be when playing Defense
  2. Center
  3. Wings
  4. Defense

Playing Defense in Hockey is similar to other sports like basketball and soccer.  The idea is to stay between the offense and the goal.  In these sports, there are different styles of playing defense: zone, man to man, box and 1.

Here is where I show a zone defense.  The key to this is each shaded area is a zone where a player is responsible for when the puck goes in it.  What makes this work is the other defensive players are in their zones and everyone is covered.  When defensive players start to stray from the zones, then the defense breaks down and the other team can score easily.

When you are playing defense and the person you are guarding leaves you zone, let your team mate know that there are 2 people in the zone.  You can stay with the person but you need to be aware if another offensive player rotates around and enters the zone you are guarding.

Everyone is playing Defense when the other team has the puck.  When playing Defense, each position is primarily responsible for certain areas in the zone.
Defense is usually staying in position and waiting for the other team to make a mistake or turn over the puck.  When challenging the person with the puck, force them towards the boards and try to cut off their passing lanes.  Why?  The goalie has an easier time stopping a shot when they can line up on it early.  If the puck is passed to another player, the goalie has to shift to a new spot.  Keeping the "point of attack" the same gives out goalie a better chance to make a play on the puck.

When the offense attacks our goal, they are most dangerous when they can get to the center of the ice or when they have clear passing lanes.

The Center

The Center has the most area to cover.  Usually they can match up with the other Center and stay "man to man" with them where ever they go.  The rest of the Defense (especially the wings) needs to recognize when this is happening so that they keep the center of the ice guarded.

If the center stays in the middle of the ice, then they need to watch where the defenders go and help to fill in the open areas.  If the center takes the puck behind the net and the defensive center does not apply pressure, then the defender will apply pressure and the center will guard the middle.

When the puck is in the middle of the ice, the center can assist the defensive player putting pressure on the puck but needs to keep in check where the offensive center is.

Do not just chase after the puck.  This will cause players to get confused on who they need to guard.

The Defenders

The key to the 2 defender's success is balance.

  • If one is on the left side, the other should be on the right. 
  • If one is in the corner or behind the net, the other one should be in front of the net.
  • If the left defender is playing the person with the puck and they go behind the net and to the right side, the right side defender should move over to the left side.

 While the play is near the boards, the offside defender should be watching out for:

  1. Players that setup in the crease
  2. Players trying to sneak in "backdoor"

Defenders should be talking when ever possible letting the other know "I got the puck" or "watch backdoor"

Do not chase the puck up the wall to the blue line.

The Wings

The wings need to stay high and guard the 2 defenders from the other team.  Typically they stay high near the blue line but will sometimes sneak down or towards the middle when the puck is on the opposite side of the play. 

Do not chase a defender past the blue line if they do not have the puck.
Do not get sucked down to the redline or the corners trying to help the defenders with a play.  That leaves your person wide open for a blast back at the blue line.