So you’ve joined a team, bought your ice hockey skates and had a few scrapes and bangs. Now you know what the game is all about it’s time to choose your position. Take a look at the following to find out everything you need to know about ice hockey positions so you can ensure you’re perfectly placed for your next match.
The Ropes for Hockey Beginners
When you first join a hockey team you’ll probably be expected to learn the ropes by rotating between positions, which will give you a better idea of where you feel comfortable and where your strengths lie.
There are four positions in ice hockey; these are goalie, defence, centre and wing. The position names group players together based on similarity, so centres and wingers are known as ‘forwards’ and those in defence are called ‘skaters’. Forwards attempt to score goals to win the game and defenders, along with the goalie, defend the goal.
Ice Hockey Goalies have a well-deserved reputation as the toughest sportsmen around and there’s no denying that being a goalie certainly requires guts. The goalie’s job is to keep the puck from entering the net, which can involve making some bone cracking dives and taking a battering from opposing players – not for the feint-hearted!
A full strength team has two players in defence on the left and right side of the ice. Defence players are there to defend the goal. Some choose to play more offensively, handling the puck with aplomb and leading their team up the ice, whilst others prefer to keep within their zone but play a more physical game. Work out a way to combine the two and you’ll quickly become the star of your team.
The right winger player will mostly stay on the right side of the ice and should be a more physical player with exceptional skating skills. The right winger player works within the defensive zone and guards the left defence player on the other team.
In American hockey left wingers are usually left handed, but in Europe both left and right handers play in left wing. Whichever way they shoot, left wingers should know how to handle a puck and be able to battle it out in front of the net and skilfully dig out the puck from the corners to get it back in play.
If you’re not afraid of a faceoff and an ace at passing then centre is the position for you! The centre needs to be super-fit because they work at both ends of the ice, which means lots a combination of speed, skill, endurance and fearlessness. Centre’s work hard, but as goal takers they get plenty of glory too – so it helps to be an ace shot!
As with any sport, practice makes perfect and the more you play, the more you will learn about the type of player you are, so get your ice hockey skates on, get out there and pick the position that will work for you.
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John Hinds writes for Lojix. His interests include blogging, reading, playing tennis, listening to music and traveling.