Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

A Day with Tony Horacek at Midget National Camp

I posted about this before but just in case you don’t remember, my organization has former NHL player Tony Horacek coaching our 16 National program. Tony invited me out to skate with his team yesterday to help with day 2 of his summer camp. I took the opportunity with excitement because I really like watching how other coaches do things and with my summer camp starting next Friday I figured it would give me some ideas on things to add to my program. I’ve watched Tony run practice in the past and admired how up-tempo the skates are and how he handles the team. I wish I could have attended all three days of his camp but with mine coming up next weekend I didn’t have the free time this week to commit. Here is a breakdown of his day 2 camp schedule.

The players started with some basic stretching and skating exercises up and down the ice just to get everyone ready to go at an up-tempo.

We then switched to some simple passing drills, but even though the drill is simple it reinforces the basic skills that all players need to be fundamentally sound on.

Three Short Ice Passing/Skating Drills

Next up were a few simple Neutral Zone passing drills all run at high tempo. Again these are simple drills that we have all run at times but the emphasis was on making and receiving good passes while skating hard. All shots were to be taken from the top of the circles.

3 Neutral Zone Passing Drills

The team then transitioned into a continuous 2 on 0 drill that emphasized the importance of backside support and coming underneath for a pass while the player without the puck skates hard to the front of the net for rebounds.

Continuous 2 on 0

Next up were two drills that worked on gap control for the defensemen. The first drill also emphasized that the forwards have to bust down the outside lane to get around the defense.

1 on 1 Full Ice

2 on 1 Full Ice

The next drill worked on breakouts and using different options off the breakout and finishing up with screen shots from the points. The drill runs from both ends of the ice and has everyone moving. (I have to admit that I did to Tony what I hate my players doing to me…….I skated away from the board before he was done describing the drill because I thought I knew what he wanted and because of that I screwed up the first two or three rotations…….UGH!!!!)

5 on 0 BO with Screen/Deflection Drill

Last up was a conditioning drill that worked on some small area 2 on 0 as well. I can tell you that at the end of this drill all the players were exhausted.

2 on 2 with Backcheck

The session ended with all the players stretching around the center circle and then off to the gym for an hour of core work.  I really had a great time skating with Tony and his team and I appreciate that he offered me the opportunity. As I said, I wish I could have done more so I would have more to pass along to all of you but above is a good practice plan that any of you can run with your teams. Tony did spend some time during the skate working on some defensive scheme concepts which I didn’t include but I think the above is a good practice with lots of hard skating.


Filed under: coaching, Conditioning, Drills

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