Body Checking Basics For Hockey | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Body Checking Basics For Hockey

March 9, 2011

Must See Hockey Videos

The devastating hits keep on coming. Last night, Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens was knocked head first into the partition at the end of the glass near the players’ bench. Pacioretty was skating after a loose puck when mammoth defenseman Zdeno Chara drove him into the boards right in front of the Boston Bruins' bench. Extending his arms to finish the check, the 6'9" blueliner sent the Habs forward face-first into the divider.

There’s no evidence of malicious intent on Chara's part. But that doesn’t matter. The hit sent Pacioretty crumbling to the ice, where he remained motionless for several minutes until emergency crews lifted him onto a stretcher. He was rushed to an area hospital, where he’s been reportedly diagnosed with a severe concussion and possible neck injury.

Hockey players: this was a great example of what not to do when body checking. The argument can be made that Chara’s hit was legal; he did initiate contact from the side of Pacioretty, not from behind. However, the checking player must be aware of the dangers of these types of plays.

In 2009, USA Hockey magazine published an instructional piece in its “Tips From The Stars” section on the fundamentals of body checking. Featuring Carolina Hurricanes forward Erik Cole, the article said, “Checking is a skill designed to aid in the recovery and possession of the puck. It should not be used to intimidate or injure an opponent.”

Continue reading for tips on angling and checking along the boards, as well as how to protect yourself on the receiving end of a hit.

Angling

According to Cole, forcing the puck carrier toward the boards in the direction you want is the key to carrying out a proper body check. This is called "angling."

  • Stay stick-to-stick and body-to-body with puck carrier
  • Continue skating when close to puck carrier—don’t glide into the check
  • Focus on player, not puck
  • Aim to hit a point on boards in front of puck carrier
  • Keep your body low and legs spread for balance
  • Use legs to drive shoulder into puck carrier, keeping head up and stick down at all times

Protecting Yourself

When skating into a corner to retrieve the puck, use a body or stick fake to avoid being a stationary target, advises Cole. Keep your skates parallel to the boards, and move out of the corner as soon as you pick up the puck.

If you can’t avoid the check, put yourself in a low, stable position—with your head up, knees bent and feet apart—to accept the contact.

If you’re facing the boards and at risk for a check from behind, get your stick and gloves up on the glass to spread the area of impact, using your arms to absorb the force.

Source:  USA Hockey Magazine
Photo:  raleighdurham.about.com

Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

The elite softball pitchers plan on leading their teams to a post season and they know and understand what it takes to get there. There are several...

Three Benefits of Being a Young, Multi-Sport Athlete

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Does Grunting Improve Your Sports Performance?

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

How to Recover After Getting Hit by a Pitch

Tony Wroten's Lethal Crossover Leaves Defender in the Dust

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Matt Kemp on His Way Back to MVP Form

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back

How David Ortiz Maintains Peak Performance

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

4 Common Mistakes Made When Coaching Young Athletes

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

Top 3 Hockey Training Mistakes