Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

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

Top 10 Most Viewed Drills from 2013

I thought it would be interesting to see what the top viewed drills were in 2013 and share that with everyone. I was surprised a little by one or two, but the others seem to make sense. Many can be run on half ice, which so many organizations are doing now to get more teams on the ice each week. Here is the list of the top 10 in order of most views.

  1. Breakout Options
  2. Right Up Breakout
  3. 4 Corners Warm-Up
  4. 3 Pass Breakout Drill
  5. Forwards v Defensemen Game
  6. Drive Drill
  7. 2 Man Drive Passing
  8. Behind The Net Forecheck 2 on 1
  9. 4 Dot Skate And Shoot
  10. NZ Regroup Dump And Chase
Click to Download the Drills

Click to Download the Drills

Filed under: coaching, Drills, HalfIce

Half Ice Checking and Support Drill

I picked this one up from Ken Pauly who is a very well respected coach in Minnesota high school hockey.

I like to use this drill a few times each year to just get the players to understand working hard along the walls and in the corners. This drill isn’t the typical gauntlet drill where you have each player try to crush the incoming skater. What we want to do with this drill along the wall is have the players create resistance by chipping the skater, not try to put him through the glass.

You can separate the players however you want to but I like having the centers up high and using them to act as support in front of the net. Once you get the timing down this drill flows real nice and works a number of important areas of the ice.

Red Knight Compete


Click to Download the Drill

Click to Download the Drill


Filed under: Checking, coaching, Drills, HalfIce

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

Small Area Drills from Jim Johnson San Jose Sharks Assistant Coach

Here are a few small area drills/games that you can use to develop specific skills your players will need in game situations.
With more and more organizations going to shared ice practice it’s good to have a variety of small area drills you can use to
keep your team focused and developing. Hope these drills from Coach Johnson help.

2×2 Activation
2×3 From Corner
3×3 Passing
4×2 Quarter Ice






Filed under: coaching, Drills, HalfIce, Small Area Games

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

New Half Ice Drills

Spent some time on the ice with my buddy who coaches a junior team and he had about fifty players on the ice to run a practice. He ran a few half-ice drills on both ends to keep everyone moving and I thought I would share them with everyone. Hope these are helpful in your practices.

I will add these drills to the Half Ice Section of the site.

Half Ice 2 on 1

Dump In to 1 on 1

3 Passes and Shot

Pass To One Timer






Filed under: coaching, Drills, HalfIce



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