What is a cycle?

    For those that don’t know what cycling is in the game of hockey, we are just going to very briefly explain what an offensive cycle in the game of hockey is. First of all, cycling the puck can simply be thought of as a method for controlling the play in the offensive zone. Typically, a team maintains position of the puck through a series of small dumps and bank passes in the lower part of the zone. The type of play gets its name from the cyclical nature of player movement. Usually, the three forwards will trial each other in a circular fashion buying time for a chance for an offensive play. Here is a quick video of the cycle in action:

    Why do it?

    Now that we have at least a little understanding of what we are speaking of when we say “offensive cycle”, we can now move onto the greatest importance of learning some reasons why you would want to do a cycle in a game. Below are just a few:

    1. Puck Control / Possession
    When you have the puck, your opponent has no opportunity to score. Possessing the puck allows you to control the game and greatly increases your chance of winning the game. Cycling is just one way your team can better control the game in your favor. It is a very important skill and tactic in the game of hockey

    2. Wear down the opponent
    We have all been trapped in the d zone at the end of the shift. Lungs are burning. Legs feel like concrete. It’s like your skating on quick sand. The last thing you want to do is continue to chase around the other team trying to get the puck. Before you know it, you are caught out of position and the other team puts one on the board. This is a perfect example of the devastating effects of a good cycle. Controlling the puck and wearing the opponent down creates cracks within their defense.

    3. Buys you time
    Teams don’t just let you score. You have to earn it. You have to work for it. Many times, you have to have patience and let the play develop, waiting for a chance to really attack the other team. When you cycle in the offensive zone you are playing with patience and waiting for the best time to attack. You are not forcing the play or taking any undue risks.