Hockey hip checks require skill and size on the ice. This fan favorite move sees players dropping to near crouching stances. They then swing their hips toward opposing players – sending them off balance and onto the ice. While this move is mostly done against the boards, it can also happen on the open ice. As part of our “Monday Meetups” section, here’s the best hip checks from the 2016 season.
One of the biggest hits in 2016 saw Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin send St. Louis Blues forward Paul Stastny airborne. This happened back in January with Emelin starting out with a hip check – but changing it within a split-second to a modified shoulder check.
The hit almost resulted in a brawl between the benches. It’s also important to know that any hit – or check – below the knees is considered an infraction in the NHL. This is known as “clipping” and isn’t allowed in the junior and minor leagues either.
Perhaps the best hip-check of the season went to Dmitry Orlov. The Washington Capitals defenseman floored Colorado Avalanche’s Matt Duchene with a picture-perfect hip check back in October. In fact, the commentators stated that this may have been the best hip-check they’ve seen in the last 10 NHL seasons.
Dustin Byfuglien is no stranger to hip checking. In fact, the Winnipeg Jets defenseman made many a list in 2015 for his multiple collisions. The burly blue-liner also topped the hip-checking list in 2016 – with a massive hit on Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone back in March.
While the hip check was arguably clean, it did result in a near-brawl and Stone missing the season’s final five games.
Our resident list maker, Dion Phaneuf, has also made the hip checking list for 2016. In March, the Ottawa Senators defenseman introduced himself to Sven Andrighetto with a huge hip-check. The Montreal Canadiens winger had no idea what hit him as he fell to the ice.
This amazing hip-check didn’t actually happen in the NHL. In fact, it wasn’t even a hockey player that delivered it. The credit goes to one of the referees that was officiating the North Dakota versus Michigan game in the NCAA hockey tournament.
After ND forward Drake Caggiula scored the opening goal near the end of the first period he was accidentally dropped by a vicious hip-check by the referee. It goes to show that even officials can get swept into the non-stop action of any ice hockey showdown!