Hockey Passing


When a player first gets possession of the puck, he has a couple of things he can do with it that can be threatening to opposing team. A player can:

  1. Skate With The Puck
  2. Pass The Puck
  3. Shoot The Puck

In this chapter, we will learn about passing in ice hockey, its rules, and basic strategies.

Passing The Puck

Passing is a two-step process and requires a minimum of two players on the same team to be an effective way of moving the puck in ice hockey.

In a pass, the first step requires a player with possession of the puck to hit the puck to a teammate.

The second step of passing the puck in ice hockey requires a teammate to regain possession of the puck with his hockey stick.

Rules Of Passing

The rules of passing in ice hockey are as follows...

A player CAN:

A player CAN NOT:

  • pass the puck to a teammate who has entered the attacking zone prior to the puck entering it. This is an offsides penalty. We'll learn more about offsides in future chapters.

A Player MUST:

  • be considered an eligible skater. There cannot be more than five skaters on the ice per team.

Goals Of Passing

So why is passing an effective means of puck movement in ice hockey? Here are the reasons why a team should pass the puck frequently:

  • to confuse players on the opposing team
  • to create openings for players to take shots
  • to maintain control of the puck

PRO TIP: In addition, passing is the fastest and most effective way to move the puck on the ice.


A hand-pass in ice hockey is when a player pushes the puck along ice or in air. This is legal as long as it's not an intended pass directly to a teammate or to gain an advantage on the ice. On a hand-pass, the player can catch the puck out of air, but must immediately put it on the ice or risk being called for a minor penalty. Play is never stopped for a hand pass by players if it's done in a team's own defensive zone.

Passing Strategies

Passing helps a team find weaknesses in the opposing team. By designing and executing passing plays, a team can find an opening for a shot to be taken.


One such passing strategy is called cycling. A team will cycle the puck by passing it between teammates in the attacking zone to create openings on the ice for shots on goal.

We'll learn more about cycling in future chapters.

Blind Pass

A blind pass is a pass made from a player to a teammate without the player looking in the direction of the recipient of the pass. The idea of a blind pass is to confuse opposing players and to catch them off guard.

Back Pass

A back pass is a pass made from a player to a teammate that is located behind him on the ice. A player should choose to perform back pass if the player behind them.

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