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Hockey Tryouts: What the coach is looking for…

Everybody sweats an audition. No matter how prepared you are for hockey tryouts, you only get a brief shot at showing a coach what you can do. For some young athletes, the pressure can be tough to beat.

When you’re preparing for tryouts, it’s important to understand what hockey coaches are looking for. Focusing on these key skills can make a bigger difference to your tryout success than trying to be the best at everything—that’s what the season’s for, right?

Skating is the most important skill. Period.

Speed, hustle and great stops, starts, and crossovers will stand out. If you consistently get to the right place first, you have an edge.


If you’re a forward, work on back-checking and being a two-way player. Don’t stand around waiting for the puck, get back and support your team’s defence. Defence should work on protecting their end—don’t get too aggressive in the offensive zone.

A pro attitude.

Young players who are respectful, responsive to direction, treat others well, and show up prepared and ready to go stand out. While straight-up skills always matter, coaches are human and prefer to work with athletes who take direction, respond to guidance, and behave like professionals. No one likes a lazy or arrogant player or one who can’t manage their emotions on the ice.

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