How Will Lacrosse Help With Hockey?

Lacrosse is probably the best summer sport to play, as it is very similar to hockey. Wayne Gretzky, one of the best players of all time was known for also being great at Lacrosse. I read in Gretzky’s book that when he played in the minors a coach on the other team offered $5 for every hit laid on Gretzky in the game. The coach ended up paying $2.50 for half a hit, why? Gretzky said he had learned from Lacrosse to dodge hits, and roll off of them. That is not the only thing you will learn though, I have compiled a list below of skills that will help your hockey game that you can learn in Lacrosse.

Skills that will transfer to hockey from Lacrosse

  • Lateral movement and foot speed
  • Avoiding hits
  • Dekes and fakes
  • Positional play
  • Explosive power
  • Passing and setting up plays
  • Hand eye coordination
  • Sportsmanlike and team play
  • Acceleration and speed
  • Shooting and aim / accuracy
  • Core strength, follow through and second efforts
  • Checking and physical presence


 Here is a great list of other hockey players who would play lacrosse during the summer when they were young

Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, Doug Gilmour, Cliff Ronning, Joe Sakic, Steve Larmer, Collin Patterson, Tim Hunter, Paul Kariya, Don Cherry, Gary Roberts, Adam Oates, Paul Coffey, Joe Nieuwendyk. …and many more! – Thanks to Port Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association for the list.

It is best to enroll your child in team sports, but not every town has a local lacrosse team. When I was younger I bought a few lacrosse sticks from Canadian Tire and just tossed the ball around, or played mini games when my friends were over. Lacrosse is great at building all kinds of muscle memories that you can really use in hockey. So don’t just limit yourself, or your child to hockey, make sure they get to play a number of sports and become overall great athletes.

Photo credit Alex Cena

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Coach Jeremy
Hi my name is Jeremy Rupke. My goal is to break every hockey skill down into easy to understand articles and videos. I explain everything step-by-step to help others improve. I'm active on Instagram, Facebook and more, you can follow through the links above.
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  1. Reply Joephoto March 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I agree that both soccer and lacrosse are great sports for improving hockey type skills. I’m not so sure that I agree that the cross check from lacrosse carries over into hockey though. Maybe at the younger ages but sooner or later the kids are going to know the difference. Especially after spending time in the box to think about it.

    A couple of years back they interviewed one of the players on Canada’s world junior team about how he felt lacrosse had helped him to become a better hockey player. This was a kid that was known for his one on one skill. He said lacrosse taught him how to protect the puck better in tight, just like he had to do with the ball. It taught him how to deke at full speed. It taught him how to roll off of a check and how to take one when it was necessary but how to recover from it properly.

    As a former box lacrosse player I would like to see field lacrosse become more popular. It incorporates all of the good things in both soccer and lacrosse. Esepecially getting outside and away from the stinky arenas.

  2. Reply Ice Cold March 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Quinn played on outdoor rinks so he had no choice but to play baseball and football in the summer. Gretzky was playing AAA with boys two years older. There were no players even close to him in terms of talent, in minor hockey…these fellows played professional hockey at 17 years old; that’ll never happen again…

    …times have changed.

    …today the game is so intensively competitive that if you want to succeed, you have to work hard all year round. I remember Stamkos and Tavares playing in all those spring/summer tournaments and having personal trainers. Tavares played pro lacrosse at 13 with men; but was always at the ice rink too.

    The crazy hockey parents are partly responsible for having created this rat race. The amount of money being spent on powerskating, hockey schools and personal training is staggering. It doesn’t matter that some of the parents can’t afford it; they want that OHL or NCAA scholarship more than anything; the NHL wouldn’t be bad either.

    They haven’t figured out yet that it’s less difficult to become a doctor or a lawyer.

    • Reply LAX_player March 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

      just to clarify something

      John Taveres (the NHL John Taveres) did not ever play Pro lacrosse.

      However, he did play Jr.A lacrosse at age 14 for Mississauga which in itself is amazing.

      On a side note, and switching to hockey, I did some digging and found that Taveras play as an AP at age 13 with the Milton Icehawks (JrA)

      Anyways, his uncle John Tavares is one of the best lacrosse players of all time.

  3. Reply Gambitt March 13, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I’ve always been an advocate of Soccer during the off-season. If a younger player needs to learn positional play, instead of “chase the puck”, let them burn-out for a game or two on a soccer field. They will soon get the message.

    • Reply dawgbone November 23, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Lacrosse does have some very translatable skills to hockey, but in the end, just do something different in the summer.

      Being an adaptable athlete will help you in whatever sports you decide to play.

  4. […] How lacrosse will help improve your hockey skills […]

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