Coach Nielsen's Ice Hockey Drills

Neutral Zone Continuous Passing/Forechecking


I received this drill from Wally Kozak and thought I would share it with our readers. This is an excellent drill to work with the defensemen to handle the forecheck pressure during a NZ regroup play. It also gives you the opportunity to have your forwards work on the teams NZ forecheck system. The drill is continuous back and forth. After a few rotations you can blow the whistle and have the forwards attack the defensemen 2v2 and then swap in the other defensemen.

NZ Continuous Pass/Forecheck

Click to Download the Drill

Click to Download the Drill

Filed under: coaching, Forecheck, Passing

D Under Pressure Half Ice Drill

We all know how important it is to have defensemen who can play under pressure. Many times we run drills that don’t really put the D under any real pressure to make passes and come game time that causes bad decisions and bad passes that can cost games. Here is a drill I use to help my defensemen learn how to compete under pressure. We use this drill to teach them how to communicate with each other and the goaltender and how to handle a hard forecheck. Make sure the D are doing proper shoulder checks while skating hard to retrieve the puck. Also listen to make sure the players are communicating with each other. You can also use this drill to let your forwards practice proper positioning for the forecheck system you use for the forwards. Personally I use this drill just as a way to help the defensemen learn how to play under hard pressure and the goaltender is used just to work on his communication skills with the defensemen, but you can have the offensive players cycle back into the zone after the successful breakout and play 3v2 against the D while the original three forechecking forwards vacate the zone. Either way it’s a great drill to help your defensemen build confidence when playing under pressure.

D-Under Pressure Breakout


Click to Download the Drill

Click to Download the Drill


Filed under: Breakout, coaching, Defense, Forecheck

New Stuff – Plays and Systems Website

I thought it might be helpful to some of the coaches who visit our site if they had access to my team playbook. After last season I did this and it was a big success, so this year I took it a bit further. I’ve created a site for Ice Hockey Plays and Systems that you may have interest in using with your teams next season. Basically it’s a series of videos describing different plays and systems that I either use with my current teams or know enough about to share with my readers.

I have a section on off ice training that can help you get your team in shape during the summer months. The training drills need only a simple parking lot or open area along with some chalk and maybe a few cones. I’ve used this training regimen with my teams for the past three seasons and it has been well received by the players and shown success at the beginning of each season when my teams have started strong.

I have a section under “Printed Material” where all the plays are documented in DrillDraw format and can be printed out.

Currently I’ve loaded faceoff plays and breakouts as well as defensive zone coverage and penalty kill videos. I will continue to add content throughout the spring and summer so that by the time next season starts you will have a place you can send your players to if you want them to learn any of the plays or just use it yourself to help teach your team some of the information. I hope it’s something you’re interested in and it helps you with your team in some small way.

To visit the site go to

or just go to the normal drills site and click on the link on the right side of the page.

As always, thanks to all of you for your support and I will do my best to keep both sites loaded with useful and FREE content.


Filed under: coaching, Defense, Forecheck, Offense, Power Play, Systems

Neutral Zone Forecheck

Here is a fairly detailed explanation of one version of the NZ forecheck defensive system.

Filed under: Forecheck, Systems, , , ,



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