Maintaining good defensive positioning not only helps prevent the other team from scoring, it forces turnovers and creates breakouts. You’ve probably witnessed an amateur game where three of the same color jerseys swarm the puck. Sure, they will probably come up with it, but then what? No linemate will be available for a pass and the opposing team can use one man to defend against three. While there are probably many ways to setup a zone defense, this diagram (adapted from a similar one found here) shows one method.
- When the opposing team has the puck in your zone, every member of your team should be back on defense. “Back” means behind the blue line.
- Defenders- Don’t chase the puck up the boards to the blue line. Stay back behind the center of the faceoff circle. Stay balanced, if one defender is behind the net the other should be in front. Stay on opposite sides of the rink.
- Wingers- Don’t get caught chasing the puck deep down into the red goal line, leave that to the defenders. Instead, stay high and guard the point. Only cross the blue line to pressure the puck carrier.
- Centers- You should never find yourself in the corner. Play man-to-man defensive against the other center, but try to avoid following him to the edges.
- Force the puck carrier towards the boards where he will have a harder time getting a good look at the goal.
- Disrupt the passing lane by placing yourself between the puck carrier and his closest teammate.
The article was made possible by the following resources:
[Basic Hockey Positioning: Playing defense during regular play] Knyght.net
[A Defensive Positional Breakdown] YouTube