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...
Must See
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,381
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 6,012,696
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 8,039,197

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,018,026
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,983
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,834
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,798
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,480
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,381
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,163
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,214

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

In being transferable with your game on the court, basketball athletes at all levels want to make jumps shots to help their team win. Shooting a jump...

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Become a Better Baserunner With This Agility Drill

Become a Better Baserunner With This Agility Drill

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

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

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

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

Learn to Shoot a Basketball with the BEEF Method

Learn to Shoot a Basketball with the BEEF Method

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

The Football Route Tree, Explained

The Football Route Tree, Explained

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

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

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Learn from Steph Curry: Stay the Course to Beat the Defense

Learn from Steph Curry: Stay the Course to Beat the Defense

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

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

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

How Stephen Curry Became the Best Shooter in the NBA

How Stephen Curry Became the Best Shooter in the NBA

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

'Squash the Bug' and Other Softball Batting Tips That Don't Work

'Squash the Bug' and Other Softball Batting Tips That Don't Work

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

Basketball Speed Drills for Offense

Basketball Speed Drills for Offense

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

4 Tips for Coaching Low-Velocity Softball Pitchers

4 Tips for Coaching Low-Velocity Softball Pitchers

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

YardBarker