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Hockey: Strategy

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Hockey strategies vary from team to team and the skills of their players. One of the key skills or team building strategies today is team speed. Hockey is becoming a faster and faster sport where speed is king and wins a lot of games.

Hockey players playing defense
Source: US Navy

Defensive Hockey Strategies

The number one and best defensive hockey strategy is to have a good, hot goalkeeper in goal. Beyond that there are a number of other good tactics teams and players can take to keep the other team from scoring.

All of the players on the defensive hockey team are responsible for defense. Defenders need to stay between the player with the puck and goal. They can block shots with their hockey sticks or bodies. Defensemen try not to let any goal shots through to the goaltender if they can help it.

All hockey teams take advantage of the check for defense. Forwards do a lot of Fore-checking, which is checking players in the other hockey team's zone. They also backcheck or check while the other team is trying to advance the puck up the ice. These strategies help slow down the offense and give the defensemen a change to come in and take the puck.

Defenses use the offside rule and icing rules to their advantage whenever possible.

Some hockey defensive strategies have become so stifling that the rules have been changed to keep the game exciting and to keep offenses scoring goals. One example of this is the trap defense used by the New Jersey Devils in 1995 to win the Stanley Cup Championship.

Offensive player about to shoot on goal
Source: US Marine Corps
Offensive Hockey Strategies

All offensive hockey strategies are based around scoring goals. The first object of any offensive strategy is to advance the puck to the offensive zone. This is easier said than done due to the offside rule. Teams must work together to advance the hockey team's position a line at a time until they reach the offensive zone.

Teams will work plays to first get the puck into the offensive zone, then they will attack the goal. Some teams like to get offensive players right in front of the goal and then try to get a deflection for a goal. This can be tough to defend for the goalkeeper. Other hockey teams try to attach quickly and shoot before the defense has a chance to set up.

An offensive hockey strategy that is often used by the losing hockey team at the end of the game, is pulling the goalie. This is where the team plays with no goalie and an extra forward. They run the risk of allowing the other team an easy goal, but they need to score a goal or they will lose, therefore, this is a risk they are willing to take.

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Hockey Strategy
Hockey Glossary
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List of NHL Teams

Hockey Biographies:
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Sidney Crosby
Alex Ovechkin

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