The rules of a game dictate constraints and affordances. In women’s ice-hockey, body checking is a minor penalty and therefore the players are constrained to defend without it.
However, they are afforded the opportunity to develop critical defending skills such as using the stick effectively, taking away space with angling, and getting above the puck when re-loading.
While watching the women’s ice-hockey NCAA tournament, I was impressed with the pace of play, skill, and compete level. The national quarter-final game featured the University of Minnesota Duluth vs. Colgate University.
Colgate’s relentless play without the puck was a clinic on how to use sticks, angles, and re-loading to take away space and recover the puck.
Here is a short video that demonstrates these skills. If the video doesn’t load, you can watch it on YouTube here.
Drills to practice angling and defensive stick skills
If the video doesn’t load, watch it on Youtube here.