What Is a Rush in Ice Hockey? (Everything You Need to Know)

There are hundreds of hockey terms. And, while some have been around for generations, it seems new hockey lingo and slang words are popping up all over the place.

For instance, we all know what a “goon” is, yet that term wasn’t around until recently (if you don’t know, it’s someone known for fighting in hockey).

But, what about the term “rush”?

What is it, and why is it important in ice hockey?

In this article, we’ll show you what a “rush” is in ice hockey and why it’s important to understand when it comes to gameplay.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s What a Rush Is in Ice Hockey:

A hockey “rush” is a combined attack by more than one player on a hockey team that’s in possession of the hockey puck. A rush is when there are either 2, 3, 4, or 5 players going up the ice to attack the opponent’s net.

What Is an Odd Man Rush in Hockey?

In hockey, an odd-man rush is when a team is rushing up the ice on the attack with more attackers than the opposing team has in defenders.

For instance, if the attacking team enters the offensive zone with three players, and there is only one defenseman, it’s an odd-man rush.

As long as you have more attackers entering the zone than the other team has defenders, you are in an odd-man rush. 

An odd-man rush is powerful as it gives your team the best chances of scoring a goal since you have more players which means more opportunities to create a scoring opportunity.

Here are the most common examples of an odd-man rush:

  • 3 on 2 (3 attackers vs. 2 defenders)
  • 2 on 1 (2 attackers vs. 1 defender)
  • 1 on 0 (1 attacker vs. 0 defenders) otherwise known as a “breakaway”

Here is every type of odd-man rush possible in ice hockey:

5 on 45 on 35 on 25 on 15 on 0
4 on 34 on 24 on 14 on 0
3 on 23 on 13 on 0
2 on 12 on 0
1 on 0 (breakaway)

You could technically have 6 on 5, 6 on 4, 6 on 3, 6 on 2, 6 on 1, and 6 on 0, but it is extremely unlikely.

This could only happen if a team pulls their goalie and they all come up on the rush (which would never happen) as they would want some players to stay back to defend their net.

What Does Rush the Puck Mean?

The term “rush the puck” in ice hockey is when a defenseman carries the puck up the ice into the offensive zone to create a scoring chance.

This could mean starting in your defensive zone and going end to end like Cale Makar does here:

Rushing the puck doesn’t always have to be doing an end-to-end as a defender. It could also be when a defenseman carries the puck from the neutral zone to create a scoring opportunity after receiving a pass or during a regroup.

While a defenseman’s primary goal is to protect their net and shut down the opposing team from scoring, they will still be called on to play an offensive role from time to time. Especially in today’s game, we’re seeing the role of the modern defenseman transform into a much more offensive role as seen in players such as Cale Makar, Quinn Hughes, Victor Hedman, and Roman Josi.

How Do You Rush a Puck in Hockey?

The most effective way to rush the puck in hockey as a defenseman is by taking it up the ice and then handing it off to a forward before you get into the offensive zone.

The main reason for this is that someone has to stay back.

For example, if you’re on defense and you take the puck into the O-zone, then one of your forwards will have to cover your spot at the blue line.

If a forward doesn’t cover for you and the opposing team gets the puck, the opposing team is likely to generate an odd-man rush against you (like a 3 v 2 or 3 v 1).

Here’s a great video by 24/7 hockey explaining how you should rush the puck in hockey as a defenseman:

What Does Off the Rush Mean in Hockey?

The term “off the rush” refers to attacking the net while your team enters the offensive zone to attack.

A “rush” is when your team is skating up the ice and you enter the offensive zone. Attacking “off the rush” is simply making a play during this initial rush into the zone.

How Do You Defend the Rush in Hockey?

As a defenseman, you’ll be faced with several “rushes” into your zone by the opposing team throughout the game.

So, how do you defend the rush?

One of the main contributors to defending the rush is strong backchecking pressure.

By backchecking quickly and maintaining space between you and the opposing attacker, you’re able to eliminate their options to attack the net.

Want more answers to the most common hockey questions? Be sure to check out our other popular articles: Why Is Fighting Allowed in Hockey, What Are ODR Rules (Outdoor Hockey Rink), and What Hockey Numbers Are Retired from the NHL.




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