Dump and Chase: What is It, and How Do You Use it in Hockey?

Dump and Chase

Have you ever wondered about the DUMP and CHASE in ice hockey? It’s a technique in which the team with the puck dumps the opposing team with a trick. They throw the puck into the opposing team with the most power, intending to catch it back from another zone. And by doing this, you dump the opposite team, and your fast wingers will again capture the puck while the opposition is held off guard.

Thus, your team can get themselves through the consistent following of other teams and have the opportunity to score a goal. This dumping of the puck to the opposition and then chasing it for good is termed Dump and Chase. The dump and chase trick is among the first techniques pro hockey instructors and coaches teach their newcomer athletes. It’s one of the easiest tricks in hockey for youngsters to learn, and it’s also one of the most effective ones worth knowing.

History of Dump and Chase

Dump and chase come with quite a story as history. So let us begin in the 1900s when the fans, players, and fans of the NHL liked the old dodo way of playing the game. The game was slightly different as forward passing was not allowed, and the match used to carry on like rugby on the ice rink. Then the forward pass was introduced in the game in 1913 by Pacific Coast Hockey Association.

History of Dump and Chase

This rule went on to the national level in 1918. Later the players found out that rather than passing the puck backward, it could be forwarded into the crowd of opponents and recovered. This was not considered a forward pass because the puck can go to the opponent’s possession, and the fans also found it unsporting. Then, in the 1940s, forward passing gets introduced, and the chase and dump took its form like today in the modern ice hockey game.

When can you use Dump and Chase?

The dump and chase can be used when the encounter is between an aggressive and a defensive group of players. To cope with the speed and aggression of opponents, the defensemen dump the puck through the aggressors and try to pass it to the competitive players of their team. This case can be called a mismatch of players. This trick can be helpful to get the energy back and change the line of the fresh players from the bench. 

Why Dumping The Puck?

So, the question is, why does one team dump the puck into the other team? It could be advantageous if the other team gets possession of the puck. But it is done for two concrete reasons; one is to give time to a group of changing lines in the game and get fresh and energized players onto the ice. The other reason is to cope with the offensive attack from the opponents and get the puck back after dumping it.

Dumping In and Line Change

This action of players in ice hockey is widespread because the player goes off the red line while skating and pushes the puck to avoid icing into the offensive area of the ring. This helps the players change the line instead of going for the puck. Ice hockey is different, it does not require whistling like other games to change lines, but the players can switch terns even when the game is going on in full zest.

This technique is called “switching on the fly,” but the advantage comes with the risk that while dumping the puck, you might not be able to chase it back and lose the puck to the other team. Or the player switching inline change choose the wrong time to switch. Imagine that the puck is in the neutral zone in the opponents’ hands, and the defensemen are changing the line to beat. This will create a scoring opportunity for the opponents by two on one. Thus, every good thing comes with a disadvantage if not implied correctly.

Effectively Dumping and Chasing

Effectively Dumping and Chasing

With the chance of losing the puck while dumping and chasing, the dumping and chasing need to be done very effectively. Therefore, we are sharing some tips here to understand the process.

1. Defensemen should Move First

In ice hockey, the defensemen prevent the team with the puck from securing a goal in the net. So, when the puck is in the neutral zone, but the opposite team wants to take it to the defensive side, the defensemen steps in the try to avoid the team getting closer to the scoring positioning. When the dump and chase come into action, the defensemen try to possess the puck and take it to their team’s advantage.

Whenever the puck is pushed into the offensive zone, the intention is to score a goal. All the opponents start chasing the puck while skating forward. In this situation, the defensemen must be the ones to slide in the forward direction and chase the puck, maintaining the speed of the offensive wingers along with him.

If the defensemen change the skating from the bold to the backward direction, the split of delay in the move and the puck can get into the possession of the wingers. The wingers will take control of the puck with the possibility of scoring a goal into the net.

2. Lead the way with Quick Wits

In an ice hockey match, if you are the one who is dumping the puck into the zone. Then, you have three possibilities or situations that will help you get the dumping with its full advantage. At first, dump the puck very fast and it takes milliseconds for the puck to get to the goal.

This way, the puck will travel to the back of the net in the hands of your team member stationed there in advance. Dump the puck very fast and sharply to the corner so your winger can get it and use it to score a goal on your behalf. Or the other possibility is that you dump the puck and chase it yourself with all the might and speed, then the goal will be yours.

Positioning the puck behind the net by dumping it far away from the boards can be considered a great option. This way, your three fast wingers can skate to get control of it behind the net and play their part in the scoring. This method will make it three versus two situations, where three offensive mates tackle two defensive mates on the ice.

When you dump the puck in forward directly to your three wingers waiting for it, the defensemen are short of speed when they change the skating in a forward direction from the backward one. This time-lapse will help the wingers to take advantage and use the time to score.

The third option is to chase the puck yourself. If you see that the defensemen are very close to you and you can get the puck yourself if you skated fast, then it’s the golden chance for you to leave the defensemen out of position and again take hold of the puck and beat them.

3. Skate Hardly in a Forward Direction

The Dump and Chase in the matches are seen too often. The players do not feel confident if they will get the puck back in the hands of their team or not. Turning the puck out of hands is not very convincing to every mind. But, trying hard to get is a new charm of the game. You take more minor risks to avoid more considerable risks; thus, try to use the technique and skate in the forward direction to chase it back into your hands.

Dump and Change Game Example

You can understand it well by the example of the Washington Capitals. The Capital’s defenseman fired the puck hard into the opposing team’s net. From this point, the Capital’s right-winger outraces the other team defender in the corner to get off the puck. And in this race, the defender had to change from a back skate to a forward skate, giving the winger enough time to cross him and lead the puck. And when the right-winger takes control of the puck, the Capital’s left winger moves onto the net to have a pass and shoot the puck into the net.

Dump and Change Game Example

Thanks to the Capitals’ quick wits and hard Forecheck, they gained control of the puck even after the dump-in and were successful in shooting the two good shots onto the net. They went back onto the defense side in time to stop the fast break around.

Dump and Chase in the NHL

As I said earlier, only a few NHL teams use this method, while most avoid it. The teams who like to use the dump-and-chase strategy have faster active roasters than those who don’t use this method.

RankTeamDump n’ Chase (Neutral Power)

With the stats written above in the table, the team who used the dump and chase tactic most by February 2019 is New York Islanders. They used it in 55.6% of their offensive zone entry strategies, and with that, they have the lowest neutral zone turnover rates in the NHL by standing at 8.9%.

If you dig deep and study it more, you will notice that the dump n’ chase and neutral zone turnover directly relate to them.

Dump and Chase Vs. Skating the Puck

Dump n’ chase and skating the puck into the offensive zone, also known as the entry zone, are the two most used ways. Both have pros and cons; it is up to the team’s playing style and the method they will use to get the puck. So, with that, let’s have a look at both sides.

Dump and Chase

Dump and chase can be positive for the teams with fast, skilled wingers capable of outskating the opposite defenseman and winning the puck back. It will be more fruitful when the defending team’s defensemen are slow skating, not at par with the winger.

But aside from this advantage, the most common argument that faces dump and chase is, what if the puck race turns over and the defensemen get possession of it? Foreseeing that reason, many teams do not agree on giving up on the puck intentionally (which means losing it in dumping and then getting it back). Because if the situation reverses and the other team gets the puck, it will be a fast break for you, causing you a disadvantage.

Skating the Puck

Skating the puck is contrary to dump and chasing. It’s like a controlled entry play, ‘more threat, more recompense.’ This would be good for the team whose forwards are skilled puck handlers, fast skaters, and passers. Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers are the teams that are good at carrying the puck from neutral to offensive zone thanks to the players like Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid. Such players are good at keeping possession of the puck and rarely lose it. As a result, they get more scoring opportunities.

However, the downside is that carrying the puck into the offensive zone does not work 100% every time because there is a high potential for turnovers in the neutral zone that should always be kept in mind when skating the puck to the offensive zone.

A simple suggestion for teams is to use both methods in their game plot and apply them accordingly instead of altogether avoiding any of these methods.


To summarize all the details of DUMP and CHASE, this technique is not often practiced in modern ice hockey. The player now believes in taking hold and possessing the puck. And do not want to consume their energy in harsh forechecking to chase the puck. But when needed, this technique can be used as a quick offensive strategy and help buy time for a line change.

Austin Taylor

Who is Austin Taylor?

Meet Austin Taylor, your go-to source for everything ice hockey! With a passion for the sport that’s as deep as the ice itself, Austin Taylor brings you concise, expert insights and nitty-gritty details on all things hockey. From gear reviews to strategy breakdowns, Austin Taylor is your trusted guide to navigating the exhilarating world of ice hockey. Get ready to lace up your skates and dive into the game with Austin Taylor as your ultimate companion.

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