How Many Good Things Can You See In This Goal?

Often goals are the result of an accumulation of little things. The Maple Leafs (in blue) do a lot of good things that lead up to big goal in a playoff game.

How many good things can you see in this clip?

It all ends in a sweet cele!

Forward Stride For Maximum Speed

If you want to maximize your speed, you need to have a long, powerful forward stride. This video breaks it down.

It is a good idea to video your stride from the front, back and side to see where you can improve your stride.

Key Elements

  1. Knee bend should be roughly 90 degrees. In the photo below, the player is a little bit lower, which is good. If you want to get long strides, you have to get this knee bend. 
  1. Full straight leg extension. At the end of your stride, your leg should be fully extended and there should be a straight line from your head, though your back, right to your toe.
  1. Full leg return. At the start of each stride, your feet should be together (about an inch apart). This allows you to get the full push on each stride.

A good way to practice the full return is to make your heels touch at the start of each stride.

  1. Toe should FLICK to be pointed to the side at the end of the stride. This is the last part of the push and it also one of the most powerful parts of the push. At the end of each push, when your leg is fully extended, your toe should flick to the SIDE as shown below. A common mistake is to have the toe pointing DOWN at the end of the stride in a running motion (shown in RED). If you do this, you are slipping on each stride by not keeping the inside edge on the ice and are thus not able to start the return with full power.
  1. Arm swing should be through the full range of motion. A full range of motion in the arm swing encourages your feet to move automatically. It helps to create and maintain momentum. The arm swing should be in a forward and backward motion and should never cross the centre line of your body. A side to side arm swing will put you off balance.

Drag Touch Drill

This is a great drill to practice all the elements of the forward stride. (See the clip at the very end of the video above)

  1. Start out with an incredibly deep knee bend. This is just a way to practice and remind us to get a good knee bend before the drill starts.
  1. At the end of each stride, after you’ve flicked your toe to the side, drag the inside edge of the toe back until it touches your heel.

Stick Positioning

How To Play Without The Puck

And… How To Win It Back!

Good defensive stick positioning is key to slowing down the opposition and creating turnovers. We want to steer our opponents to less dangerous positions.

When you don’t have the puck, you should:

  1. Play with your stick in ONE HAND. This increases our reach. It is okay to switch hands back and forth with one hand on the stick.
  1. Keep your stick ON THE ICE.
  1. Get your stick INTO THE PASSING LANES. This takes away passing options.
  1. As you get close to an opponent, get your STICK ON THE PUCK.

Day 27 – Deception, Fakes and Misdirection

This is the 27th day of our team’s virtual mid-season training camp. Each day, there will be a short assignment for you to do to continue your development. These assignments are mandatory for players and coaches. Parents are also encouraged to participate.

At the core of being deceptive is trying to make your opponent think you are doing one thing but then do another (typically in a different direction).

Layers of Deception

1) Head and Eyes

Work at keeping your head up when you have possession of the puck and when you shoot. Learn to “look off” opponents. An eye fake can be just as effective as a fake pass or shot.

2) Stick, Hands and Puck

Practice faking shots. Sell a shot then do something different. Fake a pass! This can be done with a shoulder feint, stick movement, hand or puck movement.

3) Feet

Work on tight turns and changing direction. This can begin with no puck and progress to puck handling.

Even better if you can do ALL three at once or in sequence.

Check out these video examples which include all three layers of deception.

Today’s Assignment:

  1. Complete today’s workout on the TeamBuildr app. Be sure to mark each exercise complete as you finish it.
  1. In each of the videos, can you see all three layers of deception? The next time you practice stickhandling, try to include and practice all three.
  1. Give another example of a time and place during a game that you could use deception. Post your answer into the team WhatsApp group.

Day 12 – The Waterloo Warriors Recruiting Process

This is the twelfth day of our team’s virtual mid-season training camp. Each day for 28 days, there will be a short assignment for you to do to continue your development. These assignments are mandatory for players and coaches. Parents are also encouraged to participate.

Last season, we had a fantastic meeting with coaches Shaun Reagan, the Head Coach of the University of Waterloo Warriors Women’s Hockey Team and his Associate Coach Dollee Meigs.

Here is the recorded video of their presentation. This is a really good presentation and should be watched by anyone interested in playing varsity hockey at a Canadian school. I’d recommend that you share it with your parents as well.

How To Be Recruited As A Varsity Student Hockey Player


You can download a copy of the slides from the presentation here:

My Key Takeaways

  1. Always show your jersey number. Don’t tuck in your jersey or let your hair cover up your number and name. (17:05)
  1. They are looking to recruit players who “Love Hockey!“. (23:55)
  1. Recruiting videos: Put some good tunes into your videos. Have fun with it. Arrows and circles are good to help show where you are in game video. We don’t want to just see your highlight reel. Put together some shifts that show your body language and how you react with other players. [Suggestion from Coach Steve: Get someone to shoot an isolation video of a shift or two where you are in the centre of the frame for the entire shift.] Show fun drills and skills. Make it so the coaches want to share your video. (45:29)

Many thanks to Coaches Shaun and Dollee.

Video Index:

Start: Introductions and Welcome. Coach Shaun Reagan’s background.

3:29: Associate Coach Dollee Meig’s background and her participation in the NHL Coaches Association Mentorship Program.

7:07: USports Women’s Hockey Information

8:09: USports and Hockey Canada

9:58: USports Women’s Hockey Fun Facts. Differences between USports and NCAA.

11:46: High Performance USports Hockey – Resources and benefits to players at Waterloo

17:04: Recruiting – What Should I Do?

22:10: Recruiting- What do we look for?

26:57: Finding the Right Fit​ for YOU!

29:57: Funding your Education

33:09: Warrior Women’s Hockey Staff

33:54: Warriors Women’s Hockey Team – Roster size, player information, courses and co-op placements

39:41: What is next? Grow!

41:19: Questions and Answers

41:35: What’s the best way to contact Coach Shaun (or other coaches)? Shaun also gives some insight on the scouting process.

45:28: Tips on putting recruiting videos together. What they like to see.

48:06: What types of questions do you ask players when you interview them?

52:10: Are there things that players should be adding to their daily routines now that will help them?

53:54: Fitness standards and fitness testing

56:38: How do you go about scheduling practices and what does a typical week look like for players?

1:02:00: What is your coaching philosophy?

1:05:00: How the Warriors team likes to play? “We’re all about having fun!

Today’s Assignment:

For today…

  1. Complete today’s workout on the TeamBuildr app. Be sure to mark each exercise complete as you finish it.
  1. Review the video and write down two key takeaways that you have from the presentation. Include the time code in the video for reference. Post your your answers to the team WhatsApp group.
  1. Post any follow-up questions that you have. I will send them to Coach Keia and get answers for you.

Are You Getting Better Or Just Getting By?

Every player needs to ask themselves this question at every practice and game.

Jeff Blashill, Head Coach of the Detroit Red Wings, talks about the process of daily improvement.

Greatness is a daily choice!

Whatever your path is… Making it to the NHL, playing varsity university hockey, making it to the next level, whatever it is, you need to earn it every day.

Greatness is a daily choice. Every single day, you wake up, and you take a either couple steps towards being great or you take a couple steps away from being great. Every single day.”

“Did I get up and outwork all the guys in this camp. You earn what you get in life. You wake up every morning and you take steps towards greatness or you don’t. Period.”

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., (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!

How to Practice Changing Your Shooting Angle

Auston Matthews may be one of the best in the league at changing the angle before he shoots. Just look at this snipe where he fools the defense and goalie in one motion.

Here’s a great video that explains why changing your shooting angle is so important and how you can practice it at home and on the ice.