Want to win more games? Reduce goals against.

Six Steps to Better Beer League Hockey

Better Beer League Hockey

Everybody knows how to play hockey. After all, its our national sport, right? Beer league hockey is played every night of the week, all year long, all across the country.

So, if everybody on your team knows how to play hockey, then why are you losing so many games?

Chances are that there are lots of individual reasons, but they all fall under the same heading – you’re not playing a team game, and more than any other single thing, team play translates into better beer league hockey.

Before we look at the solution let’s remember a few things:

  • This is beer league hockey;
  • There are no scouts in the stands;
  • Half the fun is drinking beer after the game.

So, with that said, let’s look at the problem. A typical beer league team plays 25-30 games during the regular season. A concrete example is a Div. 4 team that played 28 games over the winter. They came in 7th in a field of eight. Here’s their record:

  • 11 wins
  • 14 losses
  • 2 ties
  • 87 goals for
  • 106 against

They say that offense wins games and defense wins championships, but who’s kidding who? A 7th place team has a long way to go before they can talk about championships. They’re lucky that everyone makes the playoffs. Let’s get realistic and see how we can improve.

Crunch The Numbers

  • 87 for, 106 against
  • That’s a difference of 19 goals over 28 games
  • That’s less than 1 goal per game

87 goals over 28 games is 3.1 goals a game. We all know that a team that scores three goals a game should win most games.

106 goals over 28 games isn’t much more – 3.78 goals against per game, on average.

Of course, we all know that a bad beer league goalie can let in way more than 3.78 goals per game. In other words, you can’t hang all the losses on a bad goalie if he’s posting a 3.78 GAA.

What’s The Solution?

The solution should be pretty obvious by now. If, on average, a team scores 3 goals a game but lets in 4, they’re going to have a losing season. And we all know that on losing teams goals are very hard to come by. You can’t just tell the forwards to score more goals.

If, however, they continue to score 3 goals a game but let in, on average, less than three, then on average, they’re going to win.


How hard is it to trim of one goal against per game? Not tough. Here’s are six simple steps:

  1. Reduce odd man rushes against;
  2. Introduce the center to the D-men;
  3. Play 5 on 5 in both ends;
  4. Cover the points;
  5. Don’t change when the play’s going back to your end;
  6. Don’t seagull.