This is a great hockey drill to work on if you have a station-based practice or at a stick and puck session. Being able to retrieve the puck well to start a breakout is a great skill for the defense to master especially as they get older and play at higher levels. Lots of opportunities for repetition and practicing various fakes as the players improve.
- To start the drill have a coach or another player with the puck just outside the blue line in the middle of the ice.
- The player should start at about the top of the circle in line with the face-off dots.
- On the whistle, the player takes a few hard strides forwards and transitions towards the middle of the ice.
- The coach then dumps a puck in deep just off to the side of the net. The player needs to open up without crossing over and take a good angle when retrieving the puck so they collect the puck on their forehand and are able to face up ice as quickly as possible.
- On their way to retrieving the puck they should get in the habit of looking over their shoulder and reading the ice before they get the puck.
- The player should go at a puck at an angle so they can keep their speed up.
- The player should also try and face up ice and stay inside the dots to give them better passing options.
- Once the player gains control of the puck they should skate it up to about the dot and make a pass back the coach.
- The players can do 2 - 3 reps each time.
- Once players are comfortable with retrieving the puck on their forehand: work to add in deceptive fakes with their upper and lower body before collecting the puck.
- Get comfortable with picking the puck up with forehand and backhand.
- Practice coming out both sides of the ice.