Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Defenseman Hinge Drills

While in Pittsburgh for the America’s Showcase tournament I had the chance to speak with a number of coaches about drills and specifically how to teach the hinge play successfully to defensemen. I came away with three drills that really seem to work well. The Shot and Hinge is from Derek Schooley of Robert Morris University and the other two came from Jerry Domish a junior “A” coach and a coach I respect a lot. Hope you like these and can incorporate them into future practice plans.

I have added these to the Defensemen section of the site as well.

Hinge Drill

Hinge With Regroup Pass

Shot and Hinge


Filed under: coaching, Defense, Defensemen

America’s Showcase Day #5

Sunday was a great day for the HS team from the Philadelphia area as we won the Showcase championship 5-3 over the host Pittsburgh team. The game got off to a rocky start for us when we gave up a goal just 51 seconds into the period. Pittsburgh was flying after that and really giving us a hard time. We kept telling our guys to just hang tough and play hard. We tied the game at the 7:38 mark and then put two behind the Pittsburgh netminder at 13:32 and 13:48 to take a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately a letdown on defense off the ensuing face-off led to a Pittsburgh goal at 14:02. So much for a nice two goal cushion! We scored again with just 53 seconds to go in the period and took a 4-2 lead after one period of play.

The second period was a better all around period for both teams as we settled in after some obvious nerves early on. Pittsburgh scored the only goal of the period and after two we held a 4-3 lead. The third period had 7 penalties and a player from Pittsburgh ejected. We scored our fifth goal of the game at the 8:35 mark to get back the two goal lead and then just kept the puck deep and played strong defense to finish out the game.

Jonathan Ruiz from our club led the tournament in goals with 7 and Trevor Gooch led with 12 points. Very proud of the effort by the team and to be a part of the first team Philadelphia championship in the Showcase long history (used to be the Chicago Showcase).

I want to thank Jerry Domish and Dave Baun for making me part of the coaching staff and I want to thank all the coaches who tracked me down during the event to talk about this website. I had some really great conversations and met a bunch of great coaches who use this site on a regular basis.

Karl Reidel (aka..Gregg Riddle)

Bill Thompson

Chuck Hergenroeder

Dave Katsisas

Andy Glenn

Tom Simpson

Dale Jennings

Paul K (not even going to try your  last name!)

Thanks again guys it was a great time in Pittsburgh. Also one last thank you to John our bus driver who stayed with us all five days and got us everywhere we needed to go safe and sound.

Filed under: coaching

America’s Showcase Day #4

Getting ready to hit the bed but wanted to let those that are interested know that we won today and will play Pittsburgh for the championship tomorrow. We beat them 3-2 in the round robin so this should be another excellent game.

Spent some time having a great hockey conversation with

Bill Thompson, Gregg Riddle and Dave Baun tonight. Thanks guys for all the info.

Filed under: General

America’s Showcase Day #3

Big win for our team today beating Pittsburgh 3-2. We took a 2-0 lead late into the second period but got a little complacent and Pittsburgh fought back to tie the score midway through the third. We scored with 5:02 to play and hung on for the win.

This win moves us on to the playoff round against New Jersey. NJ won all three of their games in the “B” pool so they will be tough. Looking forward to the chance to play tomorrow in a meaningful game. Lots of scouts from big colleges were at the rink watching the game.

Again today I had a reader of the site stop and say hello to me (Chuck). We had a nice conversation about coaching. I really appreciate all the kind words from the readers and I will keep trying to get us good content from top coaches. Wish me luck again for tomorrow.

Filed under: General

America’s Showcase Day #2

Played the team from New England and lost 5-1. Score was 2-1 until middle of the third and then two goals in the last minute when we were jumping every play to try and get a goal. The NE team was strong and fast and our boys just didn’t have the same drive and intensity that NE had. A number of very talented players on NE, but that is expected with players from that area of the country.

The scouts are all over some of our players and that’s nice to see. Tomorrow we play Pittsburgh and not sure what to think. Watched them play yesterday and  beat NE 2-1 and then today they lost to the Mid-West team we beat yesterday 7-1. I guess that’s why you play the games. Game will determine our place in the playoffs on Saturday. A win will certainly get us in and a loss will likely send us home. We’ll have to have the boys ready to play.

I want to thank Greg Riddle (hope I got your name right) for stopping by and saying hello to me. He is one of the followers on this site and is coaching one of the teams in the tournament. Was pretty cool to have someone come up and say how much they like the site. Every once in a while I will meet someone at a rink that follows the site and they are always really nice to me, so thanks to Greg and all of you.

Wish us luck, I’d really like to make the playoffs on Saturday.


Filed under: General

America’s Showcase High School All-Star Tournament

I am in Pittsburgh as one of the coaches for the America’s Showcase event with team Philadelphia. Our team consists of many of the top high  school junior and senior players from the eastern Pennsylvania area. Lots of college scouts in attendance.

We arrived yesterday and played a team from the Mid-West area and won 7-1. Today we take on the team from New England and tomorrow the host Pittsburgh team. Some have suggested that our team is one of the favorites along with Pittsburgh, New Your and New England. I guess we will see if we are a true contender over the next two days.

Spending time with a number of very good coaches and really enjoying seeing different ways to approach old ideas and really enjoying the conversations with some very smart coaches.

Getting ready to head to the rink and take on a tough New England team. I’ll post results throughout the week.

Filed under: General



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