Zone Defense

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The most basic defense in hockey is the zone defense. Each player on the defensive team is responsible for a portion of the ice. The D’s each protect a zone from the faceoff dot into the corner and back to the front of the net. The wings have the complementary zone from the face off dot to the blue line. The Center stays in the middle of the zone defensive zone.

As the puck moves around the ice the players sag out of their zone towards the puck and the defender with zone responsibility engages the puck carrier. If two attackers are in the zone a teamamate may leave their zone to assist the defender.

Keys to the playing an effective zone defense are the ability to win one on one match-ups and to effectively intercept passes as they move around the rink. Defensive players must be careful to avoid allowing attackers to slip into the seams of the zones in order to be free of all defenders – especially in front of the net.

The play illustrated below shows a dump in offensive play and the zone response. As the puck moves around the ice the zones are displayed. No attackers are shown in this diagram in order to keep the zone movement clear.

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