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Video Coach

Activating Defencemen in the Offensive Zone

By Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director, 05/09/19, 1:30PM EDT

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Video Coach | Presented by Hockey Intelligym

In a previous edition of OMHA Video Coach, we have looked at the importance of quick transition and defencemen joining the rush. In this edition, we look at the benefits of making all five players interchangeable in the offensive zone by activating your defencemen in the offensive zone.

Encouraging your defenceman to get involved in the offensive attack not only keeps them engaged but also opens up new potential scoring opportunities. If they can find open ice there is a chance for a clear shot on net, likely one that crosses the Royal Road or a shot that will catch the netminder by surprise.

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Now, let’s take a closer look and break it down…

Activating Defencemen in the Offensive Zone

Game Date: March 2, 2019

  • TBL86 retrieves the puck down low and attacks up the wall
  • OTT74 gives pressure with active stick and inside position keeping TBL86 on the perimeter
  • OTT has numbers back in the zone protecting the house
  • TBL81 is available in the high slot
  • TBL86 skates low to high and creates a forced switch as OTT74 releases and OTT7 now has to apply pressure
  • TBL81 has adjusted his skating and now moves towards TML86 creating a high 2V1 mismatch
  • Puck continues to be on the perimeter and OTT has 5 players under the puck defending the house with toes up ice
  • TBL86 & 81 execute a high cycle or scissor with drop pass to TBL81 who drives down wall with speed
  • OTT defenders are still defending in the house but have become ‘puck-focused’
  • TBL71 & 21 are net-front to provide screen for potential point shot
  • TBL27 supports from wide position high in the zone
  • TBL81 speed entering the zone is a threat and this pulls three OTT defenders – OTT38, 44 & 74 - towards him
  • TBL71 & 21 maintain net front presence
  • TBL27 reads this and attacks open space in the house behind the defenders
  • TBL81 delivers pass through seam to TBL27
  • OTT44 has remained ‘puck-focused’ and fails to get body and stick into passing lane
  • TBL27 catches the puck and scores before the OTT defenders can react

Watch the video clip again to see how moving the puck low to high and encouraging defencemen to activate and get engaged in the offensive zone creates confusion in the zone and pulls defenders out of position.

Here is another goal from the same game where TBL activates its defence to get involved in the offensive zone.


Video Coach is a series of articles which reviews a video clip from game action and then breaks down the sequence into frames identifying key skills, individual and team tactics, strategy and hockey IQ. Video is a great teaching tool that can be used by both players and coaches.

The Hockey IntelliGym is a breakthrough cognitive training technology that hones hockey sense and has been scientifically proven to improve player safety. IntelliGym has been used by thousands of players - from OHL teams to USA Hockey to OMHA Minor Midget champions - to improve individual players' points total, heighten spatial awareness, and foster better anticipation of the play. Recent research from the University of Delaware suggests training with IntelliGym is a great way to reduce concussions and other on ice injuries. The software, which can be used on any computer, can be purchased here.

"What I'm noticing with IntelliGym is that it compliments my use of area games or situational pressure drills in practice. My players are recognizing and executing their options faster than they have in the past. This improvement has translated to games. They are moving to open areas to support their teammate with the puck."


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Taylor is the Executive Director of the OMHA and former Director of Hockey Development. A proud hockey dad of two, Ian has over 25 years of instructional and coaching experience.

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