Checking is one of the best parts of hockey. Not only does it make hockey an exciting physical sport to watch, it also results in strong, outstanding athletes who are impressive on the ice.

Checking is the physical process by which a hockey player gains possession of the puck or gets in between an opponent and the puck. There are many types of checks in hockey — including the stick check, poke check, or back check. While there are many ways that players physically insert themselves between an opponent and the puck to gain possession, there is only one way to do the perfect hockey check — as outlined below.

The Shoulder Check

The safest and most effective check used in hockey is the shoulder check. Defensive players usually use the shoulder check to disrupt a forward coming toward them. Players who want to do the perfect shoulder check should keep in mind the following:

  • Match the speed of the person carrying the puck. To check, players should make sure their speed matches that of the puck carrier. That way, they don’t miss the player or get cited for a charging penalty.
  • It’s all shoulder. No player should use their elbow to check another player. Instead, players should approach the puck carrier with feet shoulder-width apart and then bend the knees and use the legs to drive the shoulder into the opponent’s chest and through the body.
  • Keep the stick down. The hockey stick should remain down and on the ice at all times. Checkers should aim to put the stick between the legs of the person they are checking.
  • Return to position. Players checking should keep their head up while they check; then, once the puck is dislodged, they should quickly return to their position. This is important in case an opponent’s teammate has taken possession of the dislodged puck.

Examples of the Perfect Hockey Check

Many NHL players have perfected the hockey check. To see some examples check out the videos below:

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