What Is A Forecheck In Hockey? (Explained)



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Many hockey fans have heard the term forecheck, but what exactly is it? what is the different system for it? and what is the Basics Of Forechecking? Here I will explain everything related to Forecheck in detail.

Forecheck is a defensive play move that one team will make in the offensive zone in order to get control over the puck when the opposite team has it. It generally involves creating pressure or disruption to make the turnover happen.

Every hockey player knows that it’s difficult to score a goal when they can’t get the puck. This is why it’s important for every hockey team to have a good forecheck strategy planned ahead of the game. Keep reading to learn more about the forecheck and why it will benefit your hockey team.

What Does The Forecheck Mean In Hockey?

This process means that one team will put pressure on the other team when they have the puck. Opposite teams can put this defense move into play when the team that has the puck is either in their zone or a neutral zone. The main reason for the forecheck is to either cause a turnover or slow down a fast goal.

When watching a game of hockey, you will likely see the forecheck be used when one team loses possession of the puck. They will attempt to create a bit of chaos to distract the other team a bit and get the puck back.

Some players will also use a dump and chase strategy, where they shoot the puck into the corner of the rink. When this happens, random players from both teams race to the puck. Putting the forecheck strategy into place can work to the team’s advantage to get control over the puck.

What Are The Basics Of Forechecking?

It’s very important for every team to implement a proper forechecking strategy before the game begins. This isn’t a situation where the players can go buck wild and start acting foolish to create a distraction. If the forechecking strategy isn’t well-placed then the other team will simply skate across with the puck in their possession. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind about the forecheck is that when it needs to be used that only 2 or 3 players get involved. A hockey team’s main priority when starting a forecheck to put pressure on the puck handler. This way, their control over the puck will likely weaken. It could cause them to pass back or even turn towards their own net. 

The players who are involved in the forecheck can’t just jump in to create chaos either. It’s important to assign this role to players who know how to work their angles on the rink. They need to know how to use these angles the right way, so they can stop the player with the puck right in their tracks. 

Sometimes, only one player will need to use the forecheck strategy. However, when multiple players from the opposite team get involved, it’s important to have other players onboard and ready to implement the strategy.

What Influences A Forecheck?

There are many different factors to consider before choosing a forecheck system to work with. The three main things that every team considers are their coach’s philosophy, the team’s skills and abilities, and the situation at hand in the game. Let’s take a closer look at these factors:

1. Coach’s Philosophy

As many players know, each coach has their own approach to the game. Some coaches are more conservative, while others are more aggressive. Since each coach has their own philosophy on what it takes to win the hockey game, you can expect they will each have their own opinions on how to best implement a forechecking plan.

2. Skills and Abilities

While each coach will have a philosophy, they will put their players’ skills and abilities above that in order to win a game. Every team is made up of different players who have different skills. While some players may be able to speed around the rink like lightning, others are bigger in size with great strength.

A coach must consider what each player brings to the table for a good forechecking strategy. 

3. Game’s Situation

Every team must be able to master one good forecheck system that they can put into place when need be. However, they also need to be prepared for many situations. Sometimes, in order to get that puck, a team will need to switch up how they use their strategy. There is more than one forecheck system, so a team should be familiar with what works for certain situations.

What Are The Different Forecheck Systems?

There are many different forecheck systems that a team can learn to get control of the puck and change the game around. Each one has its own set of pros and cons, and each one works better for certain teams. Let’s take a closer look at what some of the different forecheck systems are and if they could benefit your hockey team:

Standard Triangle

This is the easiest forecheck system to teach to new players. It involves one player going in towards the player with the puck, and the other two working as the support system. While the second player can stay back as support, the third will be able to move towards an area where the first player can shoot the puck to them. 

Not only is this a great system to teach players how forechecking works, but it also encourages them to work together. It’s also a great method for applying stress to the player with the puck.


The 1-2-2 system is a much more conservative approach that allows your players the opportunity to get the puck by making it more difficult for the puck holder to shoot it to one of their teammates. This strategy has one player going in towards the player with the puck, while the others stay towards the sideboards. 

Many teams like this system because it requires very few adjustments, but also successfully allows them to put stress on the other team.


If there are not many strong players on a team, this is a more neutral strategy that can be worked with. One player will go to the center towards the puck holder, while the other two hang back in the defense. Many teams view this strategy as a neutral trap to get that puck. 

While this system doesn’t necessarily involve putting pressure on the opposite team, it does involve players involved to create a wall that acts as a barrier for the player with the puck. This makes it more difficult for them to pass the puck around. 

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the different forecheck systems that coaches can put in place for new players to learn. This defense move was created to make it easier for players to gain control of the puck without having to get physical with the other team. Although there are many different strategies a team can use, we reviewed some of the more conservative ones to teach new teams. 

In order to win a hockey game, every team should be prepared to implement a forecheck system before they hit the ice. This will help them get the puck so they can start scoring goals. 

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