Ice Hockey Wiki

Checking in ice hockey is any one of a number of defensive techniques in which a player uses their body or stick. It is usually not a penalty.


Young boys are taught proper body checking technique.

There are various types of checking:

Body checking 
Using the body to knock an opponent against the boards or to the ice. This is often referred to as simply checking or hitting and is only permitted on an opponent with possession of the puck. Body checking can be penalized when performed recklessly. Charging, hitting from behind and boarding are examples of illegal hits, due to their dangerous nature and increased likelihood of causing serious injury. In women's hockey, any body checking is a penalty, and is also usually not allowed in amateur leagues and leagues with young children. Some intramural university leagues do not permit bodychecking, in order to avoid injury and incidents of fighting. "Leaning" against opponents is an alternative to body checking but, if abused, may be penalized for holding.
When a player drops to a near-crouching stance and swings his hips toward an opposing player, sending the opponent off balance, often falling to the ice. A hit below the knees is considered an infraction in the National Hockey League, and called "clipping".
The most common type of body-check, in which a player puts his shoulder into his opponent to muscle the opponent out of position. The elbow must be tucked in, or the player risks taking a penalty for elbowing.
Poke checking 
Using the stick to poke the puck away from an opponent.
Sweep checking 
Using the stick in a sweeping motion to knock the puck away from opponents or deter them from passing.
Stick checking 
Using the stick to interfere with an opponent's stick.
Checking in the offensive zone, with the intention of gaining control of the puck and setting up a scoring opportunity. The 2-1-2 Forecheck was used extensively by the Edmonton Oilers during their dynasty years in the late 1980's.
Rushing back to the defensive zone in response to an opposing team's attack.
The act of checking an opponent with the shaft of the stick held in both hands and with arms extended. This is illegal and earns a minor or major penalty depending on the severity of the infraction.
Lift checking 
A player lifts or knocks an opponent's stick upwards with his/her stick followed immediately by an attempt to steal the puck. This may also be used by a defenseman to keep an opposing player from deflecting shots when both players are positioned in front of the net.
Press checking 
A type of stick check used to stop or control the movement of an opponent's stick by placing stick pressure over top of the opponent's stick.

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