Possession of the of puck switches teams over 100 time per game. Regardless of the position you play, you are constantly switching between offense and defense, both mentally and physically.
You may be defensively covering your check one minute, and a tip of the puck, or a crazy bounce later, your team suddenly has the puck. Your brain instantly switches to offensive mode. Now your job is to get open, and be ready for a pass.
Stick on the Ice
A pass can come come at you any time, even when you don't expect it. With your stick on the ice, you've got a far better chance of receiving an unexpected pass, than if your stick is hovering around your waist.
The blade of your stick on the ice also gives your teammate a target. Show your teammates exactly where you want the puck.
Hockey is a fast game. When the pressure is on, your teammate may only have a split second to decide what to do with the puck. With you and your stick ready for a pass, you're giving him at least one favorable play option.
Keep Your Eye on the Puck.
While breaking out of our own end, I'll often see beginning players skate into the neutral zone (between the two blue lines) with their head down. They're skating for open ice, so they've got the right idea, but they're not watching the play. When I have the puck and look up to see who's open, and all I see is the back of their head, I KNOW they're not ready for a pass. Oblivious to the play, they're essentially a roaming pylon.
Compare this image to the puck-hungry player I see streaking across the ice, banging his stick, calling my name, and glaring at me. I KNOW he's ready for a pass. I will do everything I can to get the puck on his stick.
Always be ready for a pass.
More Ice Hockey Tips on: Passing