Backchecking Can Be The Backbone To Your Team’s Success

With Chris Drury of the Buffalo Sabres

No matter the type of a forecheck your team employs, it’s important that everyone on the ice understands their roles and responsibilities when it comes to backchecking.

Tip #1

You need to identify which player is your defensive responsibility. For example, on a 3-on-2, your defensemen must identify and communicate who they’re playing so the backchecker knows who to pick up to make it an even situation. You don’t want two players covering the same player, thereby leaving one player left all alone.

Tip #2

Once you’ve identified who you’re picking up, you want to get your stick and your body on his hands and take away his stick.

Tip #3

While it’s important to get your stick and body on your opponent’s hands to take away his stick, you don’t want to slash, hook or hold. You can effectively tie up his hands within the framework of the rules.

Tip #4

Don’t let your opponent beat you up the ice. If he does it’s probably due to a lack of hustle on your part. Being close to your man is not good enough. You have to be on him like tape on a stick.

Tip #5

You always want to stay on the defensive side of your opponent, meaning keeping your body between him and the net. You also want to stay with your man until your team gains control of the puck.

Remember This …

Hockey is a two-way game. You have to play both ends of the ice. Backchecking is all about heart and hustle. Doing the little things, like backchecking, can take away scoring opportunities from your opponent and be the difference between winning and losing.



photo by Getty Images


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Follow USA Hockey Magazine as it chronicles the march to gold for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams. USA Hockey Magazine editor Harry Thompson is in PyeongChang, South Korea to provide daily news, features and interviews from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

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