Entering the offensive zone effectively is a crucial skill for any hockey player looking to make a difference on the ice. In this article, we will explore the two primary strategies for mastering the art of offensive zone entry. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player, understanding these techniques can greatly enhance your offensive prowess.

1. The McDavid Drive Wide Guide: Speed and Precision

The "McDavid Drive Wide Guide" is one of the fundamental strategies for entering the offensive zone. Named after the hockey superstar Connor McDavid, this technique emphasizes speed and precision. Here's how it works:

Crossover to the Middle: As you approach the offensive zone, initiate a quick crossover toward the center, positioning yourself near the face-off dots.

Crossover Wide: Following the middle crossover, execute another crossover, this time taking you out wide toward the boards.

Crossover Around the Defender: To complete the maneuver, perform a final crossover, this time skirting around the defender in your path.

The goal of this technique is to set up for a potential short-side shot, offering a high-reward, low-risk opportunity if you can outpace the defender. However, even if you can't beat the defender with sheer speed, the McDavid Drive Wide Guide remains a valuable strategy. Here's why:

The Punch Turn: In case you can't blow past the defender, the punch turn comes into play. This move involves a quick turn or cut, and your decision to punch toward the middle or turn away depends on the available spacing.

For tight situations with little room, the punch turn lets you evade the defender. On the other hand, if you have more space and control, especially on your forehand, consider punching toward the middle to alter your angle of attack. Remember to maintain your speed before executing the punch to keep the defender on their toes.

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2. Entering Through the Middle: Mastering Control

Our second strategy focuses on entering the offensive zone through the middle, emphasizing control over sheer speed. This approach is all about using specific techniques to manage your speed and create lateral options. Here's how to do it:

Downhill Skating Techniques: Embrace techniques like the soft drag, anchor, and punch to maintain control over your speed while allowing for lateral movement.

As you skate into the offensive zone, situated between the two face-off dots, you should avoid the common mistake of "closing your own gap." In essence, refrain from charging straight ahead into the defenders, as this makes it easier for them to defend. Instead, employ the soft drag, anchor, or punch to slow down your approach, forcing the defender to respond. This action creates passing opportunities and opens up space for a shot.


Mastering the art of offensive zone entry is a critical skill for hockey players at all levels. By understanding the two primary strategies outlined here—the McDavid Drive Wide Guide for speed and precision and entering through the middle for control—you can greatly enhance your offensive capabilities.

To further refine your skills and techniques, consider enrolling in our free downhill skating training program. This comprehensive resource covers the mechanics and tactics required for successful offensive zone entry. Click the link to sign up and take your hockey game to the next level.

Thank you for reading this guide on "How to Enter the Offensive Zone Like a Pro." We look forward to seeing you on the ice, ready to make a significant impact during offensive plays.

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