Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Double D Retrieval 2v1 / 3v2

This drill is brought to us by Peter Russo, who is an assistant coach at The Brooks Prep School in North Andover MA. Peter also runs a website where he shares his ideas about all things hockey. You can visit his site at .

In Peter’s own words “The main focus is D1 retrieving pucks quickly and efficiently and learning how to jump into a rush”.

Double D Retrieval 2v1 / 3v2



Click to Download the Drill

Click to Download the Drill

Filed under: 1 x 1 - 2 x 1 - 3 x 1, coaching, Drills, Passing, Transition

Hockey Canada – D Agility Transition

Got this drill from my friends at Hockey Canada. Worked it at practice last night and it looked good once we got the hang of it. The drill works on supporting the puck with the weakside D as well as transitioning to offense using the forward cutting through the middle. Make sure your D concentrate on the D2D pass as well as the initial transition pass to the forward. You can add a D at the other end to make the drill a 2v1 if you prefer.


Defense Agility Transition





Click to Download the Drill

Click to Download the Drill







Filed under: Defensemen, Drills, Transition

Wisconsin Head Coach Mike Eaves – AROSA 7 Passes

I received this drill from Coach Eaves last year, but thought it would be good to highlight again as we begin to prepare for the upcoming season. I use this drill a lot because it works a number of areas in a quick moving drill. Players need to concentrate on good passing and receiving skills, timing, speed through the neutral zone and attacking the net. There are a few options for this drill. You can have the D be the players in the corner so they can work on the outlet pass, or you can have all the players work both parts of the drill to gain confidence in the outlet pass. You can also have the player from the corner turn to the outside to receive the pass and attack the zone wide. Also, be sure your goaltender is concentrating on directing his saves away from the front of the net.

AROSA 7 Passes


Once again, I’d like to thank the guys over at for their animation software.



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

Wisconsin Coach Mike Eaves – Russian Paradox Drill

I really like this drill. It works individual defensive skills along with team defensive skills.
The idea is to get the puck out of the zone either by carrying it or passing to a teammate who can carry it. You don’t want the defensive team to just flip the puck out of the zone. The drill is designed to make the players work on transition from defense to offense in the defensive zone.

This drill along with the 4 Whistles drill from Rico Blasi really get the players working hard on transition.

Russian Paradox

Click to Download the Drills

Click to Download the Drills


Filed under: coaching, Defensemen, Drills, Forwards, HalfIce, Transition

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

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

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

University of Denver Pioneers Transition Drills

Here are a few transition drills from head coach George Gwozdecky of the University of Denver.

These drills add to the growing library of drills given to us from Division 1 head coaches. Hope they can bring some benefit to your team.

Transition Drill #1

Transition Drill #2 (3 Passes)

Transition Regroup

5 on 0 Transition

Breakout V Pressure

Hinge Drill






Filed under: coaching, Drills, Transition



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