1-2-2 Forecheck

Here is a really good example of the 1-2-2 Forecheck in action.

This forecheck is designed to bait the other team into thinking they have options and then taking them away.

Key points:

F1: (First forward to the puck carrier)
– Flushes the puck carrier.
– Put just enough pressure on the opposing puck carrier that they have to move the puck.

F2 and F3: (The other two forwards)
– Set up just above the face-off dots on either side
– Take away outlet passes
– Eliminate opposing team’s breakout options
– Unless they are sure they can get the puck, F2 and F3 cannot chase it into the corners

As the play moves from side to side, F1, F2 and F3 can switch positions with each other. TALK!

– Seal off the boards in case the puck squirts up ice
– As the puck moves to one side of the ice, the weak side D must support the other D by dropping back into the middle of the ice.

As the puck moves to one side, players take away the options.
As the puck moves in the zone, the nearest player to the puck switches to become F1. The other forwards adjust to become F2 and F3. TALK!

Hockey is a game and it is meant to be fun!

The new guys are pretty good…

Players, parents and coaches involved in youth sports will tell you that “Having fun” is the primary reason they participate in your sports. The absence of fun is usually given as they number one reason when they quit. 

I’m sure that every coach you’ve ever had has talked about “Having fun”. But what does this really mean? 

Research from Dr. Amanda Visek at George Washington University does a really good job of answering this question. Dr. Visek studied an entire youth soccer organization (142 players, 37 coaches and 57 parents). They were asked to brainstorm to identify all of the things that make playing sports fun for them. She then compiled all the answers and asked the entire group to rate the importance of each idea. This research allowed her to create the FUN Map and the Not-FUN Map.

The FUN Map lists and ranks 81 things that make sports fun. The Not-FUN Map lists and ranks 91 impediments to having fun in sports. In my experience, all of these apply to hockey

View the FUN and Not-FUN Maps

The Top Things That Make Hockey Fun

Surprisingly to some, “Winning” is nowhere near the top of the list.

  1. Being a good sport
    • Playing well together as a team
    • Supporting teammates
    • When players show good sportsmanship
  1. Trying hard
    • Trying your best
    • Exercising and being active
    • Working hard
    • Being strong and confident
  1. Positive coaching
    • When a coach treats players with respect
    • When a coach encourages the team
    • Getting clear, consistent communication from coaches
    • A coach who allows mistakes, while staying positive
    • A coach who listens to players and values their opinions
    • A friendly coach who you can talk to easily
  1. Learning and improving
    • Being challenged to improve and get better at your sport
    • Learning new skills
    • Learning from mistakes
  1. Team Friendships

Data based on Visek, A.J., et.al. (2015). The fun integration theory: Towards sustaining children and adolescents sport participation. The full study can be found below:


Having Fun is our team’s #1 Rule!

The 1-2-3 4Check

The forecheck system that I like to use the most is called the 1-2-3 4Check. The numbers refer to players crossing the blue line – first player, second player, third player and fourth player. The first player into the zone is called THE MISSILE. This player pressures the puck carrier and “takes the man”. As … Read more

How To Choose Team Systems

My systems have to: 1) Put offence first! It is our responsibility as coaches to foster as much offensive ability in our players and help them to find ways to score more goals. Offence is fun! 2) Be simple! Systems should be easy to teach, easy to remember and use unambiguous and nested language to 3) Encourage full … Read more

Killer Attack Triangle in Action

Using the Triangle to Open Up Space on the Attack A few years ago, I did a quick video dissection of Joe Pavelski’s over time goal against the LA Kings. This video shows perfect execution of one of the Attack Triangle options we outline in the Coaches’ Training Course and in the Playbook. Here’s a … Read more

5-Card D-Zone Coverage in Action

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiOkmQwuUz4&w=640&h=360] A good example of our 5-Card D-Zone coverage. They call it a “sagging zone coverage” in the video. We modify it a bit from the video, by not rotating from our positions nearly as much. Centre should always be between the puck and our net. When in doubt return to your 5-Card position … Read more

Post-up Regroup in Action

Post-Up Regroup Drill – “Wild Stallions”

Modify so that the D-to-F pass doesn’t go cross ice, but rather goes to the same side as in the Post-Up Regroup video above.


On whistle, blue forward and green forward leave zone, green forward “shadowing” blue forward who has puck. Red and orange D start into other zone and pivot backwards to face play. On clearing zone, blue forward passes regrouping pass to red D, who pivots towards orange D and goes D-to-D with pass.

Blue forward goes around center faceoff circle and out wide towards blue line, then stays onside by “riding the line”.

Green forward is two strides behind blue forward, and takes long stretch outlet pass from orange D, and quickly getting across line to let blue forward enter zone on-side.

Green forward fires cross-zone pass to blue forward who shoots on net, green and blue forwards crash for rebound. Orange and red D rejoin line.

After shot, coach’s whistle starts next 4 players.

Notes: Great warmup drill, but coaches should remind players to attack zone with realistic game speed and no “cute” passes back and forth in slot, instead get it on net and crash for rebounds.