I made it all the way through tonight’s clinic, missing no reps; but it was a light crowd, so the coach went pretty easy on us – no end-to-end after the skating drill.  I’m still happy I made it through the whole thing and I learned why we wear our facemask.

So skating drill started with one rep of “suicides”:


Start at the goal-line, then forward to the blue-line, stop and return backward.  Repeat for the red-line, far blue-line, and far goal-line.  Very glad there was only one rep of this.  Then we moved on to puck carrying drill, thankfully not backwards.

This drill was goal-line to goal-line, carrying the puck … but carrying it in specific ways.

First, side to side in front of you – and very specifically the puck should be moving far outside your feet.  I’m right handed, so this meant when the puck was to my right it should be so far that my left (top) hand is all the way across my body and past my right hip.  Theory of this is that doing so will make the goalie move more side-to-side as well as you close on him.


Second was carrying it in front.  Instruction was to avoid drawing the puck back toward you … after all, you’re skating forward.  So push the puck forward, stop it with the stick, then put the stick down again behind the puck, by which time you’ll have caught up and can push it forward again.


Finally was dragging the puck.  Just dragging the stick a couple feet behind you with the puck on it, all the way up the ice.  And back.


So two reps each (up-back-up-back) of each of these. 

Next was some shooting/deflection drills:


Okay, so line of players at the blue-line.  One player in front of the goal, screening the goalie, and a third in the faceoff circle, waiting to move in on net.

Coach dumps the puck around the boards and next in line moves up to stop it, then takes a shot, with the guy in front of the net moving to screen/deflect.

Then shooter moves to the faceoff circle, faceoff circle moves in front of net, and the guy who was in front of the net moves to the end of the line.

After some reps of this, coach changed it up, and formed two lines:


Basically the same, except that the second line is having to skate into the zone and get into position instead of starting there.  This is when I learned the value of the face mask.

In one rep, I went in a bit to the left of the goal.  The goalie came out to block the shot, so I wound up behind him:


The shot came hard and he blocked it with his stick, so it came up past his shoulder and ping into my mask.  To which coach commented: “And that’s why we wear the facemask.”

Didn’t hurt a bit – and I hardly noticed it except for the rather loud ping right next to my face.  I have, though, now officially abandoned any contemplation of wearing a half-shield.

And one last changeup to the drill:


This time stopping the puck deeper in the zone and passing to the teammate by the goal instead of shooting.