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The positions in ice hockey are divided between six players: two defensemen, three forwards (a center and two wingers) and a goalie.

The players skate on the ice and use sticks to move a rubber puck around in order to score a goal by throwing the puck between the opponent’s net.

With this overview of field hockey, we begin our guide with a complete explanation of the positions in ice hockey. Read on and get all your questions answered.

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Guide to all ice hockey positions

The list of ice hockey positions includes:

  • Goalie
  • Defense
  • Center
  • Left wing (Wingers)
  • Right wing (Wingers)

Just as in soccer, for example, where the striker’s main objective is to score goals and the defender’s main objective is to prevent the opponent from scoring, in field hockey, each position has a set of duties during a match, with the focus on leading the team to victory.

Below, we detail what each position does and who the greatest athletes in field hockey history are.

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1. Goalkeeper

Just like in soccer, the goalkeeper is a team’s last line of defense. Their main responsibility is to prevent the puck from entering the goal.

To do this, they must have quick reflexes, precise positioning skills and the ability to read the game.

The goalkeeper uses special equipment to protect himself and to block the puck from entering the goal.

The goalkeeper has a delimited space in front of the goal called the “crease” (goalkeeper’s area). Opposing players may not interfere with the goalkeeper within this area.

In addition, he can use any part of his body or equipment to prevent the puck from crossing the line.

Greatest goalies in field hockey history

  • Patrick Roy: Known for his incredible skills and performance in decisive games, Roy won four Stanley Cups and is one of the few goalies to win the Conn Smythe Trophy three times.
  • Dominik Hasek: Nicknamed “The Dominator”, Hasek was known for his unconventional defense style and exceptional reflexes, winning six Vezina Trophies as the NHL‘s best goalie.
  • Martin Brodeur: With a record 691 wins, Brodeur is widely regarded as one of the best goalies of all time, standing out for his durability and consistency.

2. Defenseman

Defenders are responsible forprotecting the defensive zone and preventing opposing strikers from scoring.

They also help initiate attacks, making passes and supporting the forwards in the attacking zone.

There are two main types of defenders:

  • stay-at-home defenders, who focus more on defense;
  • offensive defenders, who contribute significantly to the attack.

Greatest Athletes in History

  • Bobby Orr: Revolutionized the position of defenseman, combining offensive and defensive skills. Orr won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman eight times in a row.
  • Ray Bourque: Known for his consistency and longevity, Bourque holds the record for the most points by a defenseman in the NHL and has won the Norris Trophy five times.
  • Nicklas Lidstrom: Considered one of the most complete defensemen of all time, Lidstrom won seven Norris Trophies and four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.

3. Center

The center is a type of midfielder, and the athletes who occupy these positions in ice hockey are often considered the most versatile players on the ice, responsible for both offensive and defensive tasks.

They take face-offs, control the puck and facilitate play between the forwards.

A good center needs to have precise passing skills, exceptional vision and the ability to score goals.

Read also: Hockey glossary: powerplay, stickhanding, penalty kill and more

Greatest Athletes in History

  • Wayne Gretzky: “The Great One” is the greatest scorer in NHL history, with unbeatable records for points and assists. Gretzky redefined the role of the center with his vision and game intelligence.
  • Mario Lemieux: known for his combination of size, skill and intelligence, Lemieux was a dominant force on both offense and defense.
  • Sidney Crosby: one of the best field hockey players of all time, Crosby is known for his leadership, offensive skills and ability to play in any situation.

4. Left Wing

The left wing is responsible for covering the left side of the ice and contributing both offensively and defensively.

They work in tandem with the center and right wing to create scoring opportunities, and also have the job of dropping back to help the defense when necessary.

Greatest left wingers in field hockey history

  • Bobby Hull: nicknamed “The Golden Jet” for his speed and powerful shot, Hull was one of the greatest goal scorers of all time.
  • Luc Robitaille: the most productive left wing in NHL history in terms of goals and points, Robitaille was a consistent force throughout his career.
  • Alexander Ovechkin: Known for his powerful shot and scoring ability, Ovechkin is one of the greatest goal scorers of the modern era and continues to break records.

5. Right Wing

Among the positions in ice hockey, the right wing is responsible for covering the right side of the ice and plays a crucial role in attack and defense.

They often have a strong shot and are responsible for creating and finishing scoring opportunities.

Greatest Athletes in History

  • Gordie Howe: known as “Mr. Hockey”, Howe is widely regarded as one of the most complete players in history, with a career spanning several decades.
  • Jaromir Jagr: with a long career, Jagr is one of the greatest scorers in NHL history and is known for his puck control skills and toughness.
  • Mike Bossy: one of the greatest scorers in NHL history, Bossy was a crucial component of the New York Islanders during their dynasty in the 1980s.

As you can see, among the positions in ice hockey, the attack is largely carried out by the centers and wingers (right and left).

Each team has a captain, who is in charge of leading the team in the game, and is the only player on a team who is allowed to speak directly to the judges or linesmen.

Each position in ice hockey has its own unique responsibilities and skills. From the goalie to the forwards, each player plays a vital role in the team’s success.

Now that you know the importance of each of the ice hockey positions, following the sport’s competitions will become much more exciting!

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