What Is The 6 Hole In Hockey? Here’s the Right Place to Find Out 

James Felix

6 hole hockey

In the fast-paced world of hockey, understanding the nuances of scoring is essential. One such focal point is the “6 hole,” a term that resonates with both seasoned players and avid fans. 

The 6-hole refers to the vulnerable space between a goaltender’s leg pads, strategically positioned as the sixth potential scoring area. As players aim to exploit this opening, precision, and timing become paramount. 

This blog post delves into the significance of what is the 6-hole in hockey, exploring how it influences goal-scoring strategies and the dynamic interplay between shooters and goaltenders. 

From its numerical importance to the tactical exploits of skilled players, we unravel the mysteries behind this critical aspect of the game. Stay focused. 

What Is The 6 Hole In Hockey?

In hockey, the term “six-hole” refers to the space between a goaltender’s legs, specifically the area that is considered a vulnerable spot for goal scoring. 

The numerical designation corresponds to the fact that it is the sixth potential scoring area, with the other five being the four corners of the net and the space just above the goaltender’s shoulders. 

Players aim to exploit the six-hole by shooting the puck through the goalie’s leg pads to score goals. 

Goaltenders work diligently to close the 6 hole by keeping their legs together and using their sticks to block any attempts to slide the puck through. 

This strategic aspect of the game highlights the constant battle between shooters and goaltenders, where precision and timing are crucial for success.

The Basics of Hockey Goal Scoring

Hockey goal scoring is a dynamic and crucial aspect of the game, requiring players to master various techniques and exploit openings in the opponent’s defense. 

Here are some of the key points that delve into the basics of hockey goal scoring:

Shooting Accuracy and Technique

Successful goal-scoring starts with a player’s ability to shoot accurately. Players must master shooting techniques, including wrist shots, slap shots, and snapshots, to deliver precise and powerful shots on goal. 

Practice and refinement of these skills are essential for consistently finding the back of the net.

Understanding Goalie Weaknesses

A strategic approach involves identifying the goaltender’s weaknesses, commonly referred to as the “five holes” (between the legs), corners of the net, and the upper parts of the goal. 

Skilled goal scorers exploit these vulnerabilities by adapting their shots based on the goalie’s positioning and tendencies.

Net-front Presence and Rebounds

Goal scorers excel at creating chaos in front of the net. Establishing a strong net-front presence involves positioning oneself for rebounds, deflections, and screening the goalie. 

Quick reactions and a keen sense of anticipation enable players to capitalize on loose pucks and capitalize on scoring opportunities.

Teamwork and Passing Plays

Effective goal-scoring often involves coordinated teamwork and passing plays. Players work together to move the puck seamlessly, creating openings in the opposing defense. 

One-timers, give-and-go plays, and well-executed passing sequences increase the likelihood of finding an open teammate for a high-percentage scoring chance.

Power Plays and Special Teams

Taking advantage of power plays and special teams situations is crucial for goal-scoring. 

Teams capitalize on the numerical advantage to move the puck efficiently and create high-quality scoring opportunities. 

Understanding power-play strategies and executing them effectively contribute significantly to a team’s success in finding the back of the net.

6 Hole’s Location on the Hockey Net

Understanding the “6 hole” in hockey is essential for players aiming to exploit goaltender vulnerabilities and score goals. 

Here are some of the key points that elaborate on the location of the 6 hole on the hockey net:

Numerical Significance

The term “6 hole” denotes the sixth potential scoring area on the goaltender. In hockey, the other five scoring areas include the four corners of the net and the space just above the goaltender’s shoulders. 

The 6-hole specifically refers to the area between the goalie’s leg pads, representing a prime target for shooters.

Vulnerability and Exploitation

The 6-hole is considered a vulnerable spot for goaltenders because it’s challenging for them to cover this space effectively. 

Players exploit this vulnerability by strategically shooting the puck through the goaltender’s leg pads. 

The precision required to navigate the puck through the 6 hole demands skillful and well-timed shots.

Goaltender’s Defensive Tactics

Goaltenders actively work to close the 6-hole by keeping their leg pads together and using their sticks to block any attempts to slide the puck through. 

The defensive challenge for goalies lies in balancing coverage of the entire net while remaining agile enough to thwart shots aimed at the 6-hole.

Strategic Battle

The battle between shooters aiming for the 6-hole and goaltenders defending it adds a strategic layer to the game. 

Players constantly assess the goalie’s positioning and exploit any openings in the defense, making the 6-hole a dynamic focal point during goal-scoring attempts.

Shaping Shooting Angles

Players strategically position themselves to shape shooting angles that maximize the chances of success through the 6-hole. 

This involves creating opportunities to shoot from positions that force the goaltender to open their legs or leave the 6-hole exposed. 

Understanding the nuances of these angles enhances a player’s goal-scoring prowess.

The Strategic Significance of the 6 Hole

Recognizing the strategic significance of the 6 hole in hockey adds depth to a player’s offensive arsenal and team tactics. Here are some key points elaborating on the strategic importance of the 6-hole:

Exploiting Goaltender Vulnerabilities

The 6-hole represents a tactical advantage for shooters, as it is a known weak point in a goaltender’s defense. 

Understanding this vulnerability allows players to exploit it by directing shots through the goalie’s leg pads. Teams can capitalize on this strategic insight to enhance their goal-scoring opportunities.

Forcing Defensive Adjustments

A focus on the 6 hole forces goaltenders to make defensive adjustments. 

As players consistently target this area, goalies must adapt their positioning and techniques to minimize the risk of conceding goals through the 6-hole. 

This constant threat contributes to a dynamic cat-and-mouse game between shooters and goaltenders.

Creating Space and Diversifying Attacks

Incorporating the 6-hole into offensive strategies opens up new avenues for creating space on the ice. 

Players can use the threat of targeting the 6-hole to draw goaltenders out of position, creating additional opportunities for teammates or alternative scoring chances. Diversifying attacks in this manner keeps opposing teams on their toes.

Enhancing Goal-Scoring Efficiency

Coaches and players emphasize the 6-hole as a key target to enhance goal-scoring efficiency. 

Practicing accurate and well-timed shots through the 6-hole becomes a focal point during training sessions, helping players develop the skills needed to exploit this strategic area consistently. 

A team that efficiently utilizes the 6-hole gains a competitive edge in scoring goals.

Strategic Integration in Power Plays

During power plays, teams strategically incorporate the 6-hole into their plays to create mismatches and exploit defensive weaknesses. 

The numerical advantage on power plays often leads to increased puck movement and passing precision, providing opportunities to exploit the 6-hole strategically and maximize goal-scoring potential.

Strategies goalies use to protect the 6 Hole in Hockey

Goalies play a critical role in defending the 6 hole, a vulnerable space between their leg pads that shooters aim to exploit. 

Here are some of the key strategies goalies employ to protect the 6 hole in hockey:

Pad Positioning and Butterfly Technique

Goalies utilize the butterfly technique to cover the bottom part of the net effectively. By dropping to their knees and spreading their leg pads, they create a barrier that minimizes the size of the 6-hole. 

Proper pad positioning involves keeping the knees close together to narrow the gap and reduce the chances of a puck slipping through.

Active Stick Play

Goaltenders employ their sticks as an additional line of defense for the 6-hole. Placing the stick strategically between the leg pads helps block incoming shots and provides an extra layer of protection. 

Goalies actively use their sticks to disrupt passing lanes and deflect shots away from the central target area.

Read and React

A key strategy involves goalies reading the play and reacting dynamically to shooter movements. 

Anticipating where the puck might go and adjusting positioning accordingly allows goaltenders to effectively cover the 6 hole. 

Quick reflexes and a keen understanding of the opponent’s intentions are crucial for the successful implementation of this strategy.

Aggressive Challenge and Net Control

Goaltenders often adopt an aggressive style, challenging shooters and controlling the space in front of the net. 

By being assertive in their positioning, goalies can cut down shooting angles and limit the visibility of the 6-hole for the opposing players. 

Aggressive net control helps goalies dictate the flow of the game and minimize scoring opportunities through the 6 hole.

Butterfly Slide and Post-Integration

Goaltenders employ the butterfly slide technique to cover lateral movements and seal off the 6-hole when the play shifts from side to side. Additionally, integrating the post effectively is crucial. 

Goaltenders hug the post with their leg pads and body, eliminating any gaps that shooters might exploit near the goal line and ensuring comprehensive coverage of the 6-hole.


What is the “6 hole” in hockey?

The “6 hole” refers to the space between a goaltender’s leg pads, specifically the area considered a vulnerable spot for goal scoring. 

It is the sixth potential scoring area, with the other five being the four corners of the net and the space just above the goaltender’s shoulders.

Why is the 6-hole important in hockey?

The 6-hole is strategically significant as a goaltender’s vulnerable area. Skilled shooters aim to exploit this space by directing shots through the goalie’s leg pads. 

Understanding and targeting the 6 hole enhance a player’s goal-scoring opportunities and contribute to the dynamic nature of the game.

How do players exploit the 6-hole?

Players exploit the 6-hole by shooting the puck through the goaltender’s leg pads. This requires precision and timing to navigate the puck through the vulnerable space. 

Skilled shooters assess the goalie’s positioning and capitalize on any openings, making the 6-hole a focal point for strategic goal-scoring attempts.

What defensive strategies do goalies use to protect the 6-hole?

Goalies employ various strategies to protect the 6-hole. 

These include the butterfly technique to cover the lower part of the net, active stick play to block shots, read-and-react movements to anticipate plays, an aggressive challenge to cut down shooting angles, and effective integration of the post to seal off gaps.

Is the 6 hole relevant in power plays and special teams?

Yes, the 6 hole remains relevant during power plays and special teams. Teams strategically incorporate the 6 hole into their plays to create mismatches and exploit defensive weaknesses. 

The numerical advantage during power plays often leads to increased opportunities for players to target the 6-hole for goal-scoring success.

Wrapping Up

The 6 hole in hockey encapsulates the intricate dance between offense and defense, adding depth to the game’s strategy. 

As players master the art of exploiting this vulnerable space and goaltenders develop ingenious defenses, the 6-hole remains a dynamic focal point that defines key moments in matches. 

Whether on power plays, special teams, or during intense one-on-one encounters, the 6-hole continues to shape the narrative of goal-scoring in hockey. 

With each well-placed shot through the goaltender’s leg pads, the players contribute to the rich tapestry of the sport, underscoring the importance of skill, strategy, and the pursuit of that elusive goal. Thank you for your support. 

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James Felix

As Head Boy's Ice Hockey Coach at Milton Academy, I foster teamwork, discipline, and skill development. Our success relies on dedication and refining tactics. We balance academics with on-ice performance, shaping well-rounded individuals. Together, we uphold Milton Academy's tradition of excellence in athletics and academics. LinkedIn

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