Player Evaluation Criteria

The following is a reference for the various skills that is used by evaluators during the player evaluation process.  How these references are applied is based on the wide range of skill and experience levels between the different divisions and age groups.


General Overview of the Skills to Play the Game


Acceleration, speed, mobility, agility, balance, stride, crossovers, pivots, acceleration out of turns, quick feet, controlled skating, change of pace.

  • Can the player perform the basic forward and backward stride?
  • Are the player's knees well bent with the back slightly forward and the head up, or is the player hunched over, bending at the waist with little knee bend?
  • Does the player use long fluid strides, with a complete recovery of the stride leg before striding with the other leg?
  • Does the player look smooth when they skate or do they appear off-balance?
  • Can the player turn in both directions with little trouble or do they struggle to turn in one or both directions?
  • Can the player stop in both directions? Younger players will often have trouble stopping in one direction?
  • Can the player keep up with the play or do they struggle to stay with the other players on the ice ?


Passing, receiving, passing choices, on backhand, unselfish with the puck, presents a good target, receives and retains with control, touch passing.

  • Can the player pass the puck to its intended target with minimal effort?
  • Can the player make an accurate pass to a moving target?
  • Can the player receive a pass on their backhand or do they tend to shift their body to receive the pass on the forehand?
  • Can the player pass the puck off of the backhand with some speed and accuracy?
  • Does the player call for the puck versus banging their stick on the ice or saying nothing at all?
  • Does the player passing the puck make eye contact with the intended receiver or do they just pass the puck blindly?
  • Can the player execute a saucer pass over sticks and other obstacles?
  • Can the player pass the puck off of the boards to another player? 

Puck Control

Head ups, smooth and quiet, good hands, protection, in small spaces, in traffic.

  • Does the player have the basic skills to execute a forehand pass?
  • When the player passes the puck do they slap at it or is the motion smooth with the player following through to the intended target?
  • Does the player appear to be comfortable handling the puck while skating or do they appear to fight the puck and have trouble skating with some speed while handling it?
  • Can the player keep his/her head up while carrying the puck?
  • Can they execute dekes and fakes with the puck?
  • Can they stop quickly or change directions while handling the puck?
  • Can the player continue to handle the puck while in traffic and under pressure?
  • Does the player get pushed or checked off the puck easily? 


Power, accuracy, quick release, can shoot in motion, goal scorer, rebound control, variety of shots

  • Can the player execute the technique of a wrist shot and backhand?
  • Does the player follow through to the target on all shots?
  • Can the player raise the puck?
  • Is the puck shot with some velocity?
  • Does the puck sit flat in the air or does it wobble?
  • Can the player execute a one-time shot? 

Positional Play

Ability to see the play developing both offensively and defensively and moves to support, judgment, anticipation, understands systems, disciplined.

  • Does the player seem to understand where he/she are to play on the ice?
  • Do they support the puck in defensive and offensive situations?
  • Does the player show patience or do they tend to panic when pressured?
  • Do they protect the middle lane and force opposing players to the outside? 


Concept of angling, good body position with balance and control, defensive side position, aggressive checker, strength, taking checks.

  • Can the player execute basic stick and body checks?
  • Does the player check properly with their hands down or do they get their arms up to give a check?
  • Can the player receive a check properly, not turning their back and staying close to the boards?
  • Can the player check and opposing player and pin them on the boards?


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