Defending against a female player
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12-05-2012, 01:14 AM
After 5 years...
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New York
Originally Posted by
heh. I'm sure she deserved it.
Size doesn't have to be a problem, although I can see why people would think it is. (It's not just a concern for women either, not all male hockey players are 6 ft and 200lb!) Most experienced players seem to be able to absorb collisions well even from a larger guy. I've never played contact but my understanding is that a good clean hit should knock a player off the puck, not squish them between you and the boards, right?
The danger comes from those 300lb benders who go barreling around at top speed with their heads down. If someone who isn't confident on their skates or is on the small side gets in the way, the results are invariably awful. I know from experience
Well, it depends. In essence, any hit that, as you say, knocks you off the puck cleanly and effectively, is good a hit, but depending on the hockey being played, squishing agains the boards is desirable and this is where size and strength do come in. If you keep getting plastered, whether you're big enough, strong enough or experienced enough, to absorb most of it, it wears you down quickly and you fatigue. You also may start rushing plays or hesitating to want to go into the corner if you know you're going to get laid into real good each time, even if it doesn't necessarily "hurt". This is why it's so important in the NHL to have a good forecheck, the reason you always hear people talk about "finishing checks" and the reason energy line guys are often referred to as "grinders". You literally grind your opponents down when you keep laying into them with your full weight.
You're also correct in that not all male players are the same size and that it's not an issue that is exclusive to female players. In general, however, experienced male players are going to be sturdier than even experienced female players. By no means is that universal, nor does it mean that there aren't females who are tougher than even experienced male players, or take a hit better, but in general, a man who is an experienced hitter (played/was coached in a league that has full, NHL rules, regarding hitting) is going to have a significant weight advantage over a woman playing hockey and it can make a huge difference. Just for example, I play with some very, very talented, experienced young women who can play some really aggressive, physical hockey and forecheck, finish checks and provide a serious challenge even for us experienced guys BUT, on one or two occasions I have laid a full, unrestrained hit (not dirty, just didn't take anything off of it, as if it was one of my good buddies who I knew was good with it) on one of these girls and the results were ugly. I'm only 5'9 but I'm just so much thicker and heavier, especially at the speed we play at. Virtually 99.9% of the time, against a guy, even a huge hit, unless it results in clear injury, I'm just going to shout "you alright?" make sure I didn't cross any lines or do harm, and later, when the play is elsewhere and I have a chance, give the guy a little tap to acknowledge I'm not out there to be a jerk. With the girls, everyone stopped skating and most eyes on the ice were on me with a "whoa... that was not good" expression. There's just a difference.
You're also right about the inexperienced guys who end up going flying into people. But I just mean, as far as real hockey hitting goes, even when the girls are among the very best players on the ice, it's not really a good idea to put them on the same level as the guys, when it comes to whether or not you're going to lay into them or just use the 'separate them from the puck' method. That's why my initial post said that, in my usual group of players, I will play the girls we have (former college hockey players) identically to how I will play the best guy on the ice, right down to how much pressure I'll put on them in the corners, but I just won't hit them at more than 50% if I can help it.
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