What Is A Backcheck In Hockey

A backcheck in hockey refers to a forward skating back into his defensive zone in order to stop the opposing teams attack.

In hockey, all forwards are expected to backcheck on any given play. In most cases, the defenders are each going to pick up a forward to cover. The center will then backcheck and cover the third opposing forward on the ice.

The wingers in most cases are meant to backcheck to cover the opposing defenseman as they work their way into the offensive zone. If the center is unable to cover the third forward a winger will take up this responsibility if they are able to get there in time.

Backchecking in hockey is something that every player has to do but the energy they do it with largely varies. Some players have an incredibly high motor and are able to put in a high effort on each back check .

These players are often considered two-way players due to their ability to help out on the defensive side of the puck.

Benefits Of Back Checking In Hockey

Now that you know what backchecking means in hockey it’s time to learn how this action can help out your team. Below we will break down some of the key ways how this can help your hockey team.

Picking Up The Third Forward

The main reason that backchecking cannot be ignored in hockey is that it is the only reason the opposing team is not going to have a three on two each time they enter the offensive zone.

The way that a hockey team sets up is with only two players staying back while their team has the puck. Without backchecking the two defenseman would have to take on all three forwards when they take possession of the puck.

This is reffered to as an odd man rush.

On each play, a forward is going to backcheck enough that they will be able to cover one of the three forwards that is working their way into the offensive zone.

Without this backcheck the offense would be able to generate a good scoring opportunity a large portion of the time they got the puck.

Putting Pressure On The Puck Carrier

Another reason backchecking is so important in hockey is due to the pressure it puts in the puck carrier. If a backcheck does not come the puck carrier is going to have tons of time in the offensive zone.

In this situation, the forwards are only going to be pressured by the defensemen. Since the defenseman need to stay in front of their own net they are not going to be able to pursue a puck carrier as actively as a back checker.

Once a forward applies pressure from behind the puck carrier will be forced to make a quick decision. This can be difficult for the offensive player and typically makes it much harder to maintain possession of the puck.

This also puts a lot less pressure on the defenseman as they can focus on not allowing anyone to get behind them with the puck.

Helping A Pinching Defenseman

Another instance in which backchecking is going to benefit your team is when a defenseman is pinching. Pinching in hockey occurs when a defenseman takes a risk and pushes further into the offensive zone.

When the defenseman pinches it is crucial that another player backchecks in order to cover for him. If not when the puck is lost there will only be a single defensive player back to stop the opposing team.

For this reason, a forward should begin to backcheck the second they see a defenseman pinching. This will help to prevent 2 on 1 situation that often results in goals.

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