Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Drills from Miami of Ohio Coach Rico Blasi

Here are some drills from head coach Rico Blasi that he runs with his D1 Miami of Ohio team. Obviously at this level these drills are done at a very high tempo. Some of the drills we have on the site already in a similar style, but I thought it would be good to group all these drills together anyway. The drills cover  warm-up, passing, read and react, coverage and player battle areas of the game.

I use the Double Pass Wide in almost every full ice practice because it gets the players to make passes through some traffic and keeps them skating. I’ll add a player to the front of the net to track rebounds so the goalies don’t get lazy when making saves. I also use the Two Shot Drive and 4 Whistles drills many times during the season. I believe that these nine drills alone can make up a very good practice that runs at high tempo.

One Touch Passing
Double One Touch Passing
Double Pass Wide
Two Shot Drive with Stretch Pass
Miami 1on1 Continuous
5×2 To 3×3
4 Whistles
Half Ice Breakout
Player Battles

Filed under: Breakout, coaching, Drills, Passing, Practice, Shooting, Transition, Warm-Up

Head Coach Derek Schooley Brings us This Simple but Effective Passing Drill

Yesterday I received this simple but very effective passing drill from Derek Schooley ( @DerekSchooley Twitter handle ) head coach at Robert Morris University. Coach Schooley was the very first D I coach to offer to help with this site when I first started it three years ago so it was really great to get some unsolicited drills from him again yesterday. I took it to practice last night and used it with my team and was very pleased with how it flows. You don’t need goaltenders for this drill so my guys were working with the goalie coach while the team executed the drill. If you don’t have a goalie coach to occupy your goaltenders just have them do some crease movement drills or run it the last few minutes of practice and let the goalies go off the ice early. Make sure the players execute the drill with a high tempo and be sure to make them keep their sticks on the ice so the passes can be quick one-touch type of passes.

Raider Passing Drill

Click to Download the Drill

Click to Download the Drill


Filed under: coaching, Drills, Passing, Practice

Post-Up Half Ice Passing Drill

Every week when I look at the site statistics I see that the half ice drill section is always at or near the top for views. I know many organizations are going to more shared ice practices to save on cost and get players on the ice more often. This new dynamic is causing coaches to seek new drills to work on skills for the whole team while keeping it to half a sheet of ice. I ran this drill with my team last night and it worked nicely once we got the flow right. Make sure F1 comes up high between the D so he can better time his entry back across the blue line. This is a drill that works on quick passing skills as well as a play that your team will use during games, posting up and chip passing to an incoming skater.

If you don’t have access to two nets you can run this with one net in the normal spot, just have all the players on one side of the ice.

Post-Up 5 Pass Drill


Click to Download the above Drill

Click to Download the  Drill

Filed under: coaching, Drills, HalfIce, Passing

Horacek Underneath Drill

I picked this drill up watching former NHL player Tony Horacek running a practice with his team last week. I ran it with my team last night and really liked it. The drill takes a minute for everyone to understand their role but once it gets going it really has the players working to make good passes and understanding the underneath route to making headman passes. I’ve created a quick video to explain the drill just in case the document isn’t clear enough.

Make sure you have the player looping back into the zone make a good hockey stop and quick transition. I told my guys to act like there was a turnover in the neutral zone and they had to quickly get back to defensive positions. Hope you like this drill as much as I do.

Horacek Underneath Passing Drill

Filed under: coaching, Drills, Passing, Transition

Team Canada Passing Drills

Here are a couple of simple but effective passing drills supplied by the coaches of Team Canada.
When working on passing drills make sure your players stay focused on the fundamentals of a good pass.

  • Head-up
  • Stick on the Ice to receive
  • Tape to Tape
  • Good Pace on the Pass
  • Don’t get lazy and make sloppy passes

Each of these drills are run at full speed with timing involved. Make sure the players accelerate into the receiving zone.

Team Canada 2×0
Team Canada Outlet Pass


Filed under: coaching, Drills, Passing, Practice

Cornell One Touch Warm-Up

Here is a simple warm-up drill from Cornell university that works on one-touch passing and moving the puck up the wall for a shot on goal. This drill helps develop better passing skills and also helps to warm-up the goaltenders. Make sure to tell the players where to shoot from.I prefer to keep the shots from the tops of the circles.

Cornell One Touch Warm Up


Filed under: Drills, Passing

Combination Drill From Former NHL Player Tony Horacek

Former NHL player Tony Horacek coaches in our organization and I went out to watch his practice the other night. While watching a really up tempo session I saw his team run this drill and thought it was really excellent and worked on a number of areas of the game. I spoke with Tony about it and got the details and am sharing it with all of you. It is a multi-part drill so I did my best to make it understandable in the diagram, but if you have any trouble I also did a YouTube video explanation. Hope you like it.

Horacek Combination Drill

Filed under: coaching, Cycling, Defensemen, Drills, Forwards, Passing, Practice, Shooting, Transition

DIII Head Coach Jack Arena of Amherst College Offers 4 Small Area Half Ice Drills

Coach Arena has been the head coach at Amherst University for over 30 years. In 2008-09 he won Coach of the Year honors for NESCAC and New England hockey writers ECAC East. In 2011-12 he won National Coach of the Year honors from the AHCA. I contacted Coach Arena and asked him if he would be interested in contributing a few drills to our site and he agreed. I told him I’ve been receiving many requests for half ice drills because so many teams now share ice to save on cost. Coach Arena supplied us with four very nice half ice drills that go beyond just small ice games. Take a look and see what you think.

I will add these drills to the Half-Ice section and also an Amherst College section for future use if Coach Arena would like to contribute additional drills.

4v4 Back-To-Back

4v4 Transition

Plattsburg 2v1

3v3 Forecheck/Breakout


Filed under: coaching, Defensemen, Drills, Forwards, Goaltender, HalfIce, Passing, Practice, Shooting, Small Area Games, Transition

Chip To Speed Passing Drill

I worked this drill at practice last night and really liked the results. You have to keep the tempo high and make sure the players are focusing on making a good pass off the wall. I prefer the players to pass the puck off the yellow dasher and not up off the wall. I think you get a better pass with less flutter to the puck. You can start with the basic drill and then add pressure on F1 and even have F1 join the rush after the pass and have it be a 2-on-1 or 2-on-2. I think getting players familiar with making indirect passes off the wall is a skill that can really help your zone exits and really help a team work with speed through the neutral zone. Hope you find this drill helpful.

Chip To Speed


Filed under: Drills, Passing

3 Player Passing Drill

I don’t remember where I got this drill but I really like it and so do my players. You can run it with any player in each line or have the X2 player be the defensemen. Basically this drill is working on outlet and headman passing. Give it a try.

3 Player Timing Passing Drill


I will add this drill to the passing section of the site.


Filed under: Drills, Passing



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