Grit Zone – The Area of the Ice Surface Outside the Face-off Dots

Grit Zone (GZ) – Incorporates all 3 zones (DZ,NZ & OZ) but is ONLY the area outside the face-off dots.

Accepted Zones of the Ice Surface

The 3 zones in hockey today:

  1. Defensive Zone (DZ) – Defensive Team, blue line to end boards
  2. Offensive Zone (OZ) – Offensive Team, blue line to end boards
  3. Neutral Zone (NZ) – The area from the top of the face-off circles at both ends of the ice surface
  4. *Grit Zone (GZ) – Includes all 3 zones above but ONLY the area outside the face-off dots

The Grit Zone should be added to the list of zones used to identify key areas of the ice surface.

Definition of GRIT

For a hockey player to be a strong Grit Zone Player he/she must consistently demonstrate grit in their performance of the skills and tactics in this key area of the ice surface.

A Grit Zone Player

The following are the essential qualifications of a Grit Zone Player. A Grit Zone Player must be able to demonstrate on a consistent basis, the following skills and abilities in this key area of the ice surface:

  1. Win races to retrieve loose pucks
  2. Angle and play the body to separate a player from the puck
  3. Pressure up individually and as a group to win puck recovery battles
  4. Be strong on the puck and protect the puck (with the body) to retain puck possession & control under check pressure
  5. Execute tight turns to change direction quickly with the puck & control the puck
  6. Separate a player from the puck & regain puck possession
  7. Take the puck to the net from the Grit Zone
  8. Cycle the puck low & high as a unit/group while maintaining control of the puck
  9. Relocate pucks to safe areas for retrieval to retain puck possession
  10. Advance and control the puck as an individual & a unit/group in a crowd
  11. Not take penalties (remain in control of emotions)
  12. Be in control of mind, body and stick in all situations
  13. Maintain control of the puck individually & as a unit/group
  14. Compete for ice to establish offensive & defensive position as required
  15. Hunt, recover, rebound and deflect pucks in tight space
  16. Use the boards to effectively manage and control the puck
  17. Prevent the opponent (individual & group) from carrying or advancing the puck (North-South)
  18. Win one against one player battles
  19. Take away ice of a puck carrier with stops and starts and effective angling technique
  20. Work give and go plays and make short passes to control the puck

Develop Grit Zone Players

The best hockey players are able to dominate the game inside the dots and outside the dots. The best players have grit, perseverance and the necessary courage to play the game in traffic and to execute the skills and tactics of the game, where the game is most physical and challenging, in the Grit Zone (outside the dots).

Hockey is a Possession Game and that game is generally won outside the dots in battle areas. Player development should focus on the skills required for a player to become a strong Grit Zone Player. You can never have too many strong Grit Zone Players on a team.

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