Neutral Zone 3 vs. 3 Game diagram

The Neutral Zone 3 vs. 3 Game is a great small area game that creates a lot of turnovers and transitions, which is common for the neutral zone. To be successful, teams will need to play with their head up, keep their sticks on the ice and communicate with their teammates.

Game Setup

  • Teams line up in opposite corners of the neutral zone (as pictured in the video and diagram).
  • Each team has a coach (or player) that is on their team and is lined up on the same blue line as them.
    • Each coach (or player) needs to be aware of the game and they are required to pass their team the puck if the puck goes out of play, a goal is scored, a goalie makes a save, or the puck goes past the blue line on their end. Players can intentionally pass the puck out of their end to create a "breakout" situation where the coach will pass their team a new puck (you can see this example in the video if you watch closely).
  • If the puck goes past the blue line it is out of play.
  • Each team battles to score.
  • The shift length should be anywhere from 15 - 45 seconds long.

Coaching Points

  • Head up: Everyone with and without the puck needs to keep their head up and on a swivel. It is important to know where the puck is, where your teammates are and where the opposition is.
  • Stick on the ice: This is important for the forwards (because it shows your teammate where you want the puck) and for the defense (it allows you to angle and cut off passing lanes).
  • Communicate: There will be lots of new pucks and transitions so it is important to communicate with your teammates and coaches (or players) who are passing the new pucks.
  • Move to space: Forwards should jump to open space and become an outlet for their teammate if they do not have the puck. 


  • You can play this game in a 2v2 or 3v3 setup.
  • You can allow players to pass the puck to their coach. This variation was not shown in the video.

Membership gives you access to:

  • Over 550 Animated Drills & Systems
  • Denis Savard Coaching Videos
  • Use Drill Lists to Organize Content
  • Create Your Own Practices
  • Share Practice Plans, Drills, and Systems
  • Mobile and Tablet Friendly
  • Print PDF's of Drills, Systems, and Practices
  • Expert Coaching Advice
  • Pre-Planned Practices by Age Level
  • Motivational Techniques
We Accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover