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-   -   From non-checking to checking league (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=437889)

Ender641 11-02-2007 09:16 PM

From non-checking to checking league
I have been playing house league all my life and I'm soon going to be playing in my school league against other teams where the average player will be in AA or A. I play center.

I am pretty sure I can keep up with the level of play since I've already played with my friends who are in A and I'm just as good. However, I have never ever played in a league with checking and I'm looking for some tips on how to not get smoked whenever I get the puck.

I skate and stick-handle mostly with my head up so that should help. But I don't really know about coming out of my zone, for example. What if someone sends me a pass and I have to look back to receive it?

I would just like some tips and general knowledge of what I should do and not do in a checking league.


nni 11-02-2007 09:41 PM

dont play scared, thats huge. getting hit doesnt hurt (most of the time) so dont stress it. if you are going for a check, dont get your hands up. keep your elbow close to your body, bend your arm and boom shoulder lead hit.

if you are quick you can avoid hits, if you get an FU pass to your skates you have to try to get rid of it quick because that hit is coming.

RangerSteve 11-02-2007 10:44 PM

Keep your head on a swivle. The moves you might have been able to pull off in a non-checking league certainly won't happen against an average dman ina checking league. Give yourself a few games and you should be fine.

droller* 11-02-2007 10:49 PM

playing center is probably the best position if you aren't a major fan of contact. as a smaller player that has played with some big boys (i played AAA hockey and junior B). I currently stand at 5'9 175lbs... during my 1st year of hitting hockey (when I was 14) i was 5'4 140lbs so i was tiny (most guys were around 5'10ish, some monster D).

ANYWAYS.. here we go. When I started off, Im not gonna lie.. I had my clock cleaned a few times. Some of them hurt too :). Think the best advice I've gotten was from my father.. "Keep your head up." Just always have a good idea of where everyone is on the ice. "keep your head on a swivle" is also commonly used. Don't set yourself up to get crunch.. skating north/south is asking to get clocked playing center. When breaking out of your zone, always have a peek in front of you to see whos lining you up.. attempt to get open for a pass by going in a diagonal direction (cutting across the ice).

You're gonna get hit along the boards.. When you are, prepare for it and don't leave yourself in a bad position. Getting right up or very close to the boards will reduce the blow to you. Always try to take hits in the shoulder. I wouldn't worry too much about being hit in the offensive zone.. you gotta worry about the area between the top of the circles in your end until the opponents blueline (where they'll stand you up).

If you gotta take a pass from a D man and have to look back, take a quick look in front of you to see whats ahead. Don't be afraid to let the puck go by if you can clearly see yourself getting clocked by the guy (this isn't the NHL or junior hockey, your health is more important than taking a pass and getting clocked). You'll learn to make a quick play o nthe puck before getting hit.

Lastly when going into the boards with someone, try to lock up with them and go in together. I've seen a few injuries with guys just going stright to the puck and getting nailed at top speed into the boards.

Other than that... show these boys you can play. snipe a few, get some apples and have fun :)

RobertKron 11-02-2007 11:36 PM

Keep your head up, know where guys are on the ice, don't try to rag the puck for ages, and, most importantly, understand that you will get hit, and that being scared of it will get you a lot more hurt than just taking it.

Ender641 11-03-2007 03:55 PM

Thanks everyone for the quick responses. I have a better idea of what I shouldn't be doing now. Now I just have to wait for the games to start. :D

FutureConsiderations 11-03-2007 04:24 PM

Keep your head up, keep your body low, and don't change your play for the first few games. You will get smoked, probably, but that's how you learn that they just don't hurt. The first one is going to knock the wind out of you, but by game three you'll be used to it.

Hank19* 11-05-2007 07:40 AM

This reminds me of my first year playing hockey for a small school in Winnipeg. It had been years since I played organized hockey complete with hitting.

My first practice I got leveled about 6 times and it was the best thing for me. After that, I learned to keep my head up and my game improved dramatically. I don't believe I got hit clean the rest of the year.

And with hitting, I found that you could definitely pull of more moves because guys are always looking for the hit and I was able to dangle pucks around them easier.

Good luck and have fun!

frito 11-05-2007 10:08 AM

See if your organizations offers a checking clinic. Our organization requires all kids who are playing at checking level for the first time to attend such a clinic which consists of a 30 minute video and an hour and a half on the ice. The prupose of the clinic is:
  • Teach the kids the proper way to accept a check and keeping themselves out of bad situations to avoid getting injured
  • Teaching the kids the proper way to check so as not to injure somebody else
  • Teaching the kdis that checking isn't really that bad. The main pupose is (should be) to get the other team off the puck so your team can gain control of it

A lot of the advice above was good. Another critical item is to not put yourself in a position to get checked from behind. NEVER GO STRAIGHT INTO THE BOARDS FOR A PUCK. Always take it at an angle. Going straight at the boards is the best way to open yourself up to the most dangerous play in hockey, geting checked from behind. That is the first thing that is taught in our checking clinics. My daughter ignored this advice in her first checking level game. She went straight towards the boards looking down at the puck. A first year player came in from behind and drilled her head first into the boards. This even after both sides were reminded not to go into the boards head first and never hit from behind. After I got done scolding the kid who laided the hit from behind, I immediately went over to her and asked what she did wrong. She knew and has nver done it again.

That leads me to my next point, if you see numbers, PULL UP. Swerve and bang into the glass. It's not worth paralyzing somebody for life just to get the puck.

Beyond that, skate with your head up. Don't skate two - three feet from the boards as you can go sailing into them when you're hit. Either skate far enough away from them so that won't be at risk get your head knocked into them or skate right up along the boards so your entire body can absorb the hit.

Ender641 11-05-2007 04:59 PM

I think Hank is right. I just have to get nailed a few times and then I will learn to always look up. My friend who played in the league last year also told me that it is easier to deke players because you can always count on them going for the big hit. That being said I'm still not going to try and any pull moves. For now. lol;)

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