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The deke may originally have referred to quickly pushing the puck forward or laterally with the forehand and catching it on the backhand (or vice-versa), but now is used as a name for any of a wide number of feints, fakes or skillful maneuvers to beat defenders or goaltenders. The position of the player performing the deke and the opponent determines where the puck will be moved and the speed. The deke can be used to move the puck out of reach of an opposing player, move the puck past the opposing player, or quickly change direction of the puck so the opposing player is caught out of position. Dekes are usually used in combination with either a change of direction or speed, or both; the deke may refer to the entire sequence of actions as well as the maneuver(s) made with the stick. Often a change in direction or a change in speed is enough to get past an opposing player, but dekes are used in combination with these to better protect the puck and get by a defender.
There are many advanced dekes that players use, and all are customized by the player to suit the situation and his playing style. One such deke is the toe drag, performed by pushing the puck forward with the forehand before quickly pulling it back with the toe of the blade. A variation of the toe drag is the backhand toe drag. Unlike the backhand shot, this does not refer to going in the opposite direction; rather, the same move is performed but with the wrists turned so the toe of the blade is down and the heel is up, with the puck being dragged with the backhand side of the toe. The angle of the stick adds further confusion for defenders, and the backhand toe drag can flow naturally from a faked shot where the heel of the stick passes over the puck.
In Canada, the term deke has come to broadly mean deceiving someone.