Skating without the puck is easier than skating with the puck. Standing still and stickhandling is easier than stickhandling in motion.
For Jamie Kompon, perfecting the art of keeping your feet moving is one of the most important and often overlooked aspects of his game. It’s so under-appreciated that Kompon has players who comes through his Winnipeg Jets organization that habitually stall out, glide, and eventually find themselves sent down, sent packing, or just sent away.
In his presentation at our 2017 Coaches’ Conference, the Winnipeg Jets assistant coach brings the heat. It’s time to teach our young players, particularly our young defensemen, to change the picture to something more favourable.
“Every time you move your feet, the picture changes.”
His presentation starts off with a bang as we watch Jacob Trouba, a dynamic young Jets’ defenseman, shoulder check, retrieve a loose puck in the corner, get his feet moving, and cut up ice at the net to escape a forechecker.
All in the matter of a few split seconds. A defenseman who uses his feet to defend slows the game down and allows hockey sense the chance to take over.
It’s this ability to transport the puck north that’s getting more and more young defensemen noticed by Hockey Canada. Every conference I’ve attended in the past few years has a presentation about defensemen and their feet. In fact, it’s the foundation of the three pillars of playing defense for UBC – the first three steps are not optional, stick on puck, and toes facing the puck.
Everything rolls off those pillars. Joining the attack, puck retrievals, playing D in the offensive zone.
And according to Kamie Kompon, a d-man who can skate is a d-man who can play.
Oh yeah, there’s some defensive details for forwards in there too. If you’re into that.
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