If you are involved in hockey in some facet, player, coach, whatever it may be. You probably are starting to realize and see a trend in professional hockey called "position-less hockey". Some youth or major junior teams are starting to buy into this trend and do the same. I do want to take a stance on this and come out on it to help clarify it for some coaches who may be unsure or new to coaching.
Position-less hockey essentially is defined as there is no positions and every one is one cohesive unit. You'll see defenseman jump in the rush in the offensive zone, see defensemen carry the puck more, be more active in both zones, and not just abide by the "defense chip and chase, defenseman do not leave the blue line, defense do not leave the front of the net or only are responsible for making break out passes, etc.."
While the concept is great, it is not for EVERY team. For example if you are a youth team with strong forwards and not many strong defenseman or defenseman who are not quote on quote the smartest players out there then it will be tough to instill a position less hockey scheme. Or if you have forwards who are quote on quote not the smartest forwards and are very offensive minded and worry too much about scoring or recieving the puck, what happens when a defenseman leaves the blue line, no one covers for them and puck goes the other way? You'll be teaching back checking a lot, how to defend odd-man rushes a lot and put a lot of focus on structure and position. Which is why at the professional level it is more realistic and "do-able". Because....
A. Professional hockey players have all the fundamentals in place, they have the basics of hockey MASTERED and now all they need to learn is what the coach is trying to teach, what to do when X happens, where to be in X situation and such.
B. The reason position less hockey does not and should not be taught at the younger age and youth level is because you need to teach kids, youth hockey players basic skills, basic skating and get them to feel comfortable with the basics and work on the fundamentals of hockey like shooting, stick handling, shooting, skating, etc before they should be expected to understand and run a position-less hockey scheme.
I understand that position-less hockey teaches teamwork, communication and being aware and responsible on the ice but it is extremely difficult to teach a position-less scheme to a team that does not have the FUNDAMENTALS of hockey mastered, or even do the basics well enough. If they do not have the fundamentals down or some what down. I am a big believer that you should probably have the basics taught to you first before you can expect to know where to be, when to be where, what to do in X, what happens if your defenseman goes in the zone, and so on and so on.
I love the concept but it is influencing coaches to take a focus off the fundamentals of hockey and put more focus into systems and structure at a young age. Practices at a youth level, depending on the team, should consist of fundamentals, stick handling and skating, skating with your head up, shooting, passing, angling, how to receive a hit, puck retrieval on the wall, basic defensive schemes and lessons, 2 on 1 situations, 3 v 2 situations, zone entry, and then once they can do all of these and even more well then we can go into "ok so your strong side D jumps into the zone and is below the hash mark, strong side forward or closest forward has to back out and cover for them" type of stuff.
As I said I love the concept but coaches need to focus on getting the fundamentals and basics of hockey down for their players until they make these kids buy into and run a system and structure like position-less hockey.