Learning to hockey stop is one of the key skills for any developing skater, along with techniques like learning to take off quickly from a stop, executing crossovers, and skating backwards. This style of stopping shaves the ice, throwing snow in a spectacular show. But it doesn’t just look cool, it’s also very efficient and, when done correctly, keeps your body in a good position to continue as the play develops, or heads in a different direction. Professional hockey players have spent a lifetime with skating drills to skate as well as they do. Learning to skate is a process and the more time you spend in your skates on the ice, the better you’ll get. The same goes for learning how to hockey stop. Take it slow. Begin to learn the hockey stop at slow speeds and gradually add speed as your skills and confidence grow. Be sure to wear protective gear because you will fall, so protect yourself as you learn.
Steps to perform a Hockey Stop
- Get into an athletic, hockey stance with a wide base and your knees slightly bent.
- Begin by skating forward slowly on the inside edges of both skates.
- Lighten the pressure on one skate and turn it inward slightly until it begins to shave the ice.
- The skate you turn in will cause your lower body to turn as well.
- As the skate slides across the ice, add weight to its inside edge forcing it to bite into the ice and bringing you to a stop.
- Repeat these steps adding speed slowly as you gain control.
- Once you are consistently sliding to a stop with one skate turned in, turn the other skate parallel to match. You’ll be on the inside edge of your front skate and the outside edge of the rear skate with your weight toward the front of the blade. It’s best to start slow and build speed as you gain confidence.
- Now, it’s a matter of keeping your balance and maintaining the edge as you slide to a stop.
Things to Remember
- When you take your stance and as you learn to hockey stop, you’ll want to keep your knees over your toes.
- When you turn your skates, you want to keep your momentum going the same direction you were headed before you turned your skates, until you stop.
- As your skates and lower body turn, keep your upper body facing in the direction you’re skating and lean your torso forward.
- Despite the way professional hockey skaters make it look, skating isn’t easy. It takes time and practice to master the hockey stop.
Common Mistakes in Learning to Hockey Stop
One common mistake players learning to hockey stop often make is getting their weight too far forward or back. Keep your weight slightly toward the front of your skate blade. Keeping your weight directly centered means you’ll be at risk of rocking too far either direction. Getting too far back on your blades will cause your skates to turn, not shave the ice and stop.
As you get to the point where you are shaving ice with both skates parallel, there is still the issue of weight shift. If you let your weight get too far over your skates — ahead of you — you’re likely to catch an edge and tumble over, potentially hitting the boards, goalie or other players. But if you lean too far back during your hockey stop, you could easily lose an edge and fall to the ice.
The key in learning how to hockey stop is balance. Balancing your weight on your inside edges to begin, balancing your weight toward the front of your skate blades, and balancing your weight as you slide, shaving ice, to keep from getting too far ahead or behind your skates. When you get it right, you’ll look like a pro gliding up to the bench and showering your teammates with the snow of a perfect hockey stop.