This is a simple but very effective drill which gives your defence (or any players) an opportunity to work on their mobility with a puck and that all important first pass while emphasizing the importance of moving and hinging to be an option for your partner.
Explanation of the Drill
Four defence (two pairs) are in the neutral zone between the blue lines. They are positioned as they would be for a faceoff at center, facing each other across the red line.
The 5th and 6th (or more) defence are resting against the boards at the red line. The coach starts with a puck at the center dot and passes it to one of the defence.
He then moves towards the defence he has passed to, as if to forecheck that defence. The defence who has received the pass must move laterally with the puck and then move the puck to one of the other 3 defence in the drill.
The coach continues to pursue the puck and “forecheck” whichever D has the puck. The four defence move forwards, backwards, laterally and pass the puck between them, keeping it away from the forechecking coach.
Every defence in the drill always tries to move so that they are an option for the player with the puck. They must hinge for their partner or move laterally to be open for a defence across the red line.
The D must move every time they get the puck- laterally, backwards etc. If the D do not move when they get the puck or the coach is able to steal the puck or deflect it away from a D, or the D misses another D completely with the pass, that D is replaced by the 5th D and the 5th D joins the drill. The 6th D will replace the next D who is out etc.
If the D are able to keep the puck away from the coach and keep moving, then replace a D after 25-30 seconds. The D may have to move outside the blue lines sometimes to hinge and be open for their partner. This is a high paced, very active and demanding drill for the D- and for the coach! (and his assistant who replaces him when he is exhausted!)
With more advanced players, start the drill with one coach as the “forechecker” and then add a second coach to put even more pressure on the defence. Then use forwards as forecheckers, and the forecheckers can work on angling, proper stick position to take away the pass to the weakside D, active sticks to take away passing lanes and good footwork to stay in position.
Try moving the drill to the offensive zone (ie inside the blue line) and encourage the defence pair closest to the goal to try some indirect passes off the end boards, trying to get the puck off the boards to their partner’s stick tape to tape.