Games for older players:

Rebound Game
Place five or more players around the net and crease area and one player at the top. The player at the top is the shooter. The shooter tries to score while the others try to score on the rebound. The game is played to 10. If the goalie covers the puck or the puck goes wide and past the goal line, the goalie gets a point. Each time the goalie earns a point, the players rotate around the crease area.

11 Relay Race
Designate two teams. On the whistle, a player from each team runs around the cones and race for the open ball. The first player to the ball tries to score. The other player back checks, trying to prevent a score. Whichever team scores five times first wins.
Develops speed and quick finishing.

12Decision Maker
Playing 3-on-3. The coach is responsible for constantly changing the game. The first game requires that teams must complete two passes before shooting. In the next game, teams can only make backhand passes and backhand shots. The third game requires that teams can only make indirect off the boards passes, etc. Be creative with the game requirements.
Develops quick thinking anticipation skills.


1-on-1 Sweep The Porch
Place a handful of balls in front of the goal. The defenseman turns his/her stick over so the butt end is on the ice. The forward tries to shoot the pucks into the net one at a time while the defenseman tries to stop him. The game ends when all the pucks have been used.
Develops solid 1-on-1 play.

14Cross-Rink Board Scrimmage
Divide the players into two teams of 3, 4 or 5. The boards at the ends of the rink are goals. The players must complete three passes before scoring. The only way to score is to have the blade of the stick holding the ball against the boards. Players cannot shoot.
Good option while players are doing other drills on each end of the rink.

15Odd/Even Game
Start the drill as a 1-on-1. Then add a player to make it a 2-on-1. Continue adding one player at a time, alternately giving each team the player advantage. Continue the drill until you have reached 4-on-4.
Develops visual skills and power play.

16Rover Transition Game
Each team starts out with one designated defensive and offensive player who must remain on their respective side of the center line (use cones to mark the center line.) The third player on each team is a rover who can play on either side of the center line. The game is a continuous 2-on-2. Create a variation by taking out one rover and creating a 2-on-1 allowing the remaining rover to play on offense for both teams.
Develops quick transition and thinking skills.


2-on-1 Corner Drill
Using both corners play a 2-on-1. The players not actively in the game surround the nets and keep the ball in play. The coach dumps a new ball in when the original ball is either shot in the goal or goes out of play. The forwards try to score as many times as they can in the time allowed while the defenseman tries to stop them. Change every 30-40 seconds.
Develops close, quick passing.

192-on-2 Corner Game
Place the goals in the corner. Players play 2-on-2 in the corner. Players not actively in the game surround the nets and keep the ball in play. Keep the shifts 30 -40 seconds just like in a real game. After a while change the rules and allow both teams to score on either net.
Creates quick thinking and quick plays.

184 Corner Support Drill
Place two players from each team, one at the centre of the rink and one in the opposite corner. Start the game playing 2-on-2. Players must pass to one support player before they can go on offense. After awhile play 3- on-3 or 4-on-4. Change the players every 30-40 seconds. The players can pass to either support player at any time. As a variation, let the players pass to any support player and get it back.
Develops passing lanes and quick thinking.

203-on-3 in front of goal
Place three offensive players and three defenseman in front of the goal. The offensive players try to score with quick ball movement while the defenders try to stop them. After a goal or a ball clearing a new ball is passed in by the coach to the offensive players. Change players after five balls have been used.
Develops close, quick passing and body checking play.

212-on-2 Tip-Ins
Divide the players into two teams and place one player per team at the center of the rink. Using twogoals, players play a 2-on-2 in front. When the top player has the ball, they wait for a teammate to get in front for a tip-in. Goals only count if they are tipped-in. After each goal, the team that scores keeps possession of the ball. Players hustle from side to side playing offense or defense depending which point player has the ball.
Teaches deflections under game conditions.

221-on-1 Empty Goal Game
Place four cones on the rink. Four forwards line up across the center. 3 meters away and facing them are four defensemen. The object is to get to the cones before you can shoot on the empty net while being defended. The first ball in the goal gets the point. The game is over when a forward scores three points. Everyone changes positions after three goals so they each work on both offensive and defensive play.
A fun way to teach 1-on-1 play.

23Red Baron Game
Use five players to start the game — two players on each team and a player who is designated as the Red Baron. The Red Baron is always on offense and can skate anywhere and score for the team that has possession of the ball. This creates a continuous 3-on-2. Create variations of the game by making the Red Baron stationary and requiring the puck be passed to him/her after transition before the other team can go on offense. The third variation allows the Red Baron to move laterally across the rink and requiring the ball be passed to him/her after transition before the other team can go on offense. You could come up with your own variants.
Improves transition awareness.

242-on-1 Transition Game
Set up a 2-on-1 at both ends. The defending player must try to get the ball to the other side while the two forwards are trying to score. The players must stay on their own end and can’t get involved with the play until the defender on the other side passes the ball to them. Continue the drill for 30-40 seconds then change.
Fun drill that teaches transition and puck movement.


Divide players into teams of 3. On a rink reduced in size they play 3-on-3. Four members of non playing teams are in the corners , one in each corner, and they keep the ball in play and act as supporting players (playing players can pass to them). Rotate the teams every 30 – 40 s.
Develops close, quick passing, body checking play, quick thinking and stamina.

262-on-2 Behind the Net Rover Game
Players play 2-on-2 and battle for the ball in front of the goal. A separate player behind the net known as the “Rover” can run to either side to set up the offensive team. The team that passes the ball to the Rover is on offense. If the other team gains control of the ball, they must pass the ball to the Rover and they are now on offense.
Creates fast transitions.

314-on-3 Activate Special Teams Game
Place one stationary player from each team at the center. The game starts out 3-on-3. The team with the ball comes out of their end, passes to their stationary player, re-groups and it now becomes a 4-on-3. After a turnover, the stationary player must return to the center, allowing the other team to utilize their stationary player for their own 4-on-3.
Designed to enhance special team transition and attacking the zone.

334-on-2 Behind the Goal
Place two stationary players from each team behind opposite goals. The game starts 2-on-2. The player with the ball passes to either teammate behind the opposing net where they can pass to anyone on their team creating a 4-on-2. After one pass is made to a teammate behind the net the offensive team can then score. Change it up every 30-40 seconds.
Special teams transition drill.

34Mid-Rink 3-on-2 Breakout
Place a stationary player from each team behind their goal. The game starts 2-on-2. The player with the ball passes to their teammate behind the net and then breaks out. The player with the ball can pass, run or shoot the ball but cannot cross the center of the rink. A quick 3-on-2 develops and the team with the ball plays it out until they score or the ball is turned over. After the play is over the other team repeats the drill going the other direction.
Quick transition breakout drill.


Town Carnival
Divide the rink into three zones. Depending on your numbers the games may need to be altered. On rink one play e.g. Red Baron Game (Baron plays with defending team), on rink two play e.g. Cross-Rink Board Scrimmage, on rink three play e.g. Red Baron Game (Baron plays with attacking team). Rotate players through stations every 2 minutes.
Drill variation to improve quick thinking.

37Full-Ice Team Zone Scrimmage
Set players up depending on how many are at practice. Play 3-on-3 in all three zones on the rink. The object is to score but the players cannot leave the zone they are playing in. Using three balls and keeping score, the players in the defensive zone try to move the ball to the players in the neutral zone who then try to move the ball up to their teammates in the offensive zone. Only players in the offensive zone can score. Switch zones every 2 minutes.
Promotes teamwork in all three zones.

384-on-4 Support Drill
Set the goals up in the neutral zone back to back. One support player from each team is placed off to the side of both goals. The teams play 2-on-2 in the middle but must pass to a support player before being able to score. The support player can also shoot. Players can score on either net.
Heads-up scoring drill.

391-on-1 Survivor Drill
Place the goals 1 meter in front of the big goal crease. Players try to score on their opponents’ net while playing a 1-on-1. Players cannot return to their line until someone has scored. Two 1-on-1s are being played at the same time. Once a goal is scored another ball is shot to the far boards and two new players enter the drill.
Heads-up goalie and shooter drill.

402-on-1 Relay
Set the goals up in both corners in one zone. Divide the players into two teams. They play 2-on-1 until they score. After scoring, all players race back into line and the next players go. The defensive player can check but only he/she is allowed to push the ball behind the net to kill time.
Great way to start or end practice.


Vítězslav Carda

Source: USA Hockey – Small Area Games

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