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Learning Offside In Cross-Ice Hockey

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 10/24/19, 3:00PM EDT


Teaching full-ice concepts on an age-appropriate playing area

Photo Credit: Heather Pollock Photography

The idea of modified ice hockey was developed to allow kids to have fun while developing confidence as they learn to execute the basic skills of the sport. The smaller playing area means that players now have more puck touches, which result in more chances to practice puck control and shooting. This also enhances their movement and motor skills like twisting, turning, balance, coordination and agility.

While there are no offsides or icings called in cross-ice hockey, this drill gives players an opportunity to begin to understand the concept for when they progress to an age-appropriate playing surface.

This is a great drill to get players familiar with the offside rule, especially those who are preparing to transition to full-ice hockey. It’s also an excellent refresher drill during the season and a quick teaching game that helps players learn a simple but important concept.

Additionally, because the drill is executed cross-ice, it sustains high tempo engagement for every player which is one of the goals of introductory hockey. Players will realize that they need to utilize their teammates to find success, providing more opportunity for shooting, passing, receiving passes and performing quick changes of skating direction. Players can still learn full-ice concepts on a cross-ice surface.

Drill Description:

  • Position one net in each face-off circle and play 3v3, cross-ice
  • Use pylons or other markers to create a 'blue line' from the end boards to the actual blue line
  • Cones can also be placed at the opposite ends of the hand-drawn blue line for an added visual cue
  • Coach shoots a puck into the zone area to begin play
  • Progression - A variation is to make the attacking team complete a pass before crossing the midline on-side.

Key Teaching Points (KTP):

  • Before an attacking team can attack the other team’s goal, the attackers must regroup in their defensive half
  • Once they regroup in their own zone, they can attack the opposing team, but they must attack staying on-side at the hand-drawn midline. If they go off-side, blow a quick whistle to signify a turnover. The defending team then becomes the attackers, regrouping in their own zone before attacking on-side.

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