What is a Hit in Hockey? (Easy Explanation)

What are hits in hockey? A hit refers to when a player makes body contact with an opposing player who is in control of the puck. The contact can be delivered with a shoulder, arm, hip, or body, as long as the check is not made to the head of the opposing player. 

You might wonder why players do it now that you know the term. What’s the purpose? Isn’t it dangerous as there are high chances of getting injured? Well, I agree with you. I have written this article to help you understand more about ‘hit,’ sometimes called ‘hitting.’ 

What is a Hit in Hockey?

Imagine you’re playing with your friends on the ice. And you know your friends in the opponent’s team will never give you a chance to get the puck from them. They will always keep it close and will go for more goals. So how do you get the puck if opponents aren’t giving you and neither making any mistakes? Well, you must make an effort; hitting is such an effort. 

Hitting is like giving them a gentle bump with your shoulder to get the puck away from them or make them lose their balance. The purpose of a hit is to gain control of the puck and prevent the opposing player from scoring. A hit will also pump up the friends in cheering for your team and boost the team’s overall energy. 

Former NHL player Scott Stevens nicknamed ‘Captain Crunch’ was renowned for his impeccable technique, exemplified by his famous hit on Eric Lindros during the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals. I recall many matches where the coaches instructed hits as a strategy and conveyed the message to the players. During the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Carolina Hurricanes’ physical play, including hits, allowed them to thwart their opponents’ tactics and ultimately win the championship.

Purpose & Importance of a Hit 

While some people may see this contact as unnecessary or violent, it serves an essential purpose in the game. It’s not about being mean but about making the game exciting and strategic. When players hit, they create space on the ice, which means they have more room to skate and pass the puck. They can also use hitting to protect the puck from opponents who want to steal it. 

So, hitting helps their team to be in control and do better. Hitting is like a secret weapon because it can make the other team nervous. When a player gets hit, they might make mistakes, and that’s good for the team doing the hitting. It’s also a way to change the game’s speed – if a team is losing, they might start hitting more to try and turn things around and get back in the game. 

A well-executed hit can galvanize a team’s momentum and electrify the crowd, turning the game’s tide. For instance, in the 2010 Winter Olympics, the gold medal hockey match between the USA and Canada showcased the pivotal role of hits. Canadian defenseman Shea Weber’s bone-rattling hit early in the game showed that Canada was ready to assert dominance.

NHL Regulations & Types of Hit Allowed 

Hockey’s rulebook outlines the boundary between legal and illegal hits. Legal hits target an opponent’s body and are executed within specific zones, usually involving shoulder-to-shoulder contact. Illegal hits, such as hits to the head, boarding, and hits from behind, are subject to penalties. The case of Matt Cooke comes to my mind as it shows an example of the impact of illegal hits. Cooke was given a four-game suspension for a hit from behind on Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Fedor Tyutin in 2011.

There are three main types of hits in hockey: open-ice hits, body checks, and hip-checks. An open-ice hit occurs when a player is hit in the neutral zone, away from the boards. A body check or body contact is when the player delivering the hit pushes the opposing player into the boards. A hip-check is when the hitter uses their hip to knock the player off the puck. Consider Scott Stevens‘ legendary open-ice hits during his time with the New Jersey Devils.


How do you make a good hit in hockey?

To make a good hit in hockey, you must be in the right place at the right time and use your body carefully to bump into the other player without losing your balance. It’s like a skillful dance move on the ice!

Who was the hardest hitter in hockey?

Some hockey players were famous for their hard hits! People often talk about players like Scott Stevens, Bob Probert, and Dustin Brown because they were super good at hitting opponents. Their hitting skills immensely helped their teams and even inspired other players who came after them.

Are hits harder in hockey or football?

Hits in hockey and football can be hard, but they’re different because of how the sports are played. In hockey, players use their bodies on ice; in football, they tackle on a field. It’s tough in its own way in each sport.

Final Thought

So, hits are an essential part of hockey that can completely change the momentum of a game. They are used to regain control of the puck, intimidate opponents, and help a team score. Understanding the basics of what hits are, their importance, and the various types of hits can give a better understanding of the game and enhance the viewing experience for any fan. I hope you like this article and share it with your friends.

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