Hockey Forechecking

ice hockey forechecking

Forechecking is a defensive scheme designed to pressure the opposing team in the offensive zone. Some teams will not use the same forecheck for an entire game and implement different strategies depending on in-game situations. There are several different forechecking formations that are designed to trap or slow down an opponent’s progress on offense.

2-1-2 Aggressive Forecheck

Ice Hockey 2-1-2 Aggressive Forecheck

In the 2-1-2 set, the high forwards will press hard and aggressively push opposing players toward the boards. The third forward remains in the slot and will help trap opposing players. The two defensemen support the forwards and pinch in. The goal of this system is to pin the offense and not let them exit the offensive zone.

1-3-1 Aggressive Forecheck

Ice Hockey 1-3-1 Aggressive Forecheck

The 1-3-1 is designed to push the puck towards the boards, where two forecheckers will trap the puck carrier. This type of forechecking is only successful when the defensive team outnumbers the offense in the zone. The 1-3-1 requires four players to forecheck while one defenseman stays above the offensive zone and acts as a safety support.

1-2-2 Conservative Forecheck

Ice Hockey 1-2-2 Conservative Forecheck

The 1-2-2 formation is designed to flush an offensive team away from center ice. In this formation, three forwards are in the offensive zone and a single high forward presses the puck. The two defenders remain back in the neutral zone. Most teams will implement this form of forechecking when they are ahead to waste the clock and make it harder for the opposition to advance the puck.

1-4 Conservative Forecheck

Ice Hockey 1-4 Conservative Forecheck

1-4 forecheck formation involves four players staying in the neutral zone while one forward pressures inside the offensive zone. This conservative forecheck is a “bend, don’t break” system designed to apply pressure but eliminate breakaway plays toward the goaltender. When the offense advances the puck into the neutral zone, the four defenders will trap the puck and disrupt passing lanes.


What are forechecking and backchecking in hockey?

Forechecking is when the defensive team pressures the opposing team inside the offensive zone. Forechecking involves the forwards playing aggressive defense to try and create a turnover near the opposing goal. Backchecking is when the defensive team retreats quickly to protect their defensive zone. Backchecking is the counter result of a forecheck. If the offense breaks the forecheck, the pressing forwards must hustle back to eliminate easy scoring chances.

What does F1 mean in hockey?

F1 stands for the position of first forward in hockey. The letter “F” stands for “forward,” and the number “1” stands for the placement on the ice. This player will be the first to enter the offensive zone when forechecking. Their job is to chase the puck and force the offense into the forechecking trap. Since F1 plays high in the offensive zone, this player is usually the best offensively skilled player on the ice. 

What is the offensive zone in hockey?

The hockey rink is separated by two blue lines. Each of the three areas designated by the blue lines is called a zone. The zone in which a team is trying to score in is known as the offensive zone. An offensive player cannot enter the offensive zone before the puck, or an offsides penalty will be called. When teams forecheck, they are applying pressure on the opposing team in the offensive zone to try and create a turnover near the opposing goal.

What's offside in hockey?

Offside is a penalty in hockey that will be called when an offensive player enters the offensive zone before the puck. To distinguish an offsides penalty, a player must have both skates across the blue offensive zone line. Players will commonly drag their skate or stop completely at the blue line to avoid offsides. Moreover, offsides will not be called immediately if a player enters the offensive zone before the puck. Once the player touches the puck, play will then be stopped and a faceoff will occur. This is called a delayed offside.