If the term ‘fast and furious’ suited any sport, it would be ice hockey. One of the quickest games in sport, ice hockey places emphasis on agility, strength and skate speeding.

Those familiar with NHL betting odds will know about the best players in the league but the hockey positions and names can stump even the biggest ice lovers.

Hockey Positions & Roles:

There are five outfield players on a hockey team; one center, a left and right wing and two defencemen.

The goalie then rounds up the team to make it a total of six players on the ice at any one time. Many believe that the goaltender is the most important hockey position of all.


Here, we look at the different ice hockey positions and discuss the roles and responsibilities of each player on the team.



Fairly self-explanatory, the Center can move freely across the entire ice rink. Labelled as a forward, the Center forms a close partnership with the wingers.

The primary aim of a Center is to score goals but that isn’t the only role. Another crucial job for this hockey position is to distract opposing defenders to create space for teammates.

The Center will often make a nuisance of himself in front of the goalie and/or defencemen in a bid to open up a shooting lane for another member of the forward line.

Center position hockey

Center Responsibilities In Ice Hockey:

  • To score goals

  • To win faceoffs and regain the puck

  • To retain possession

  • To support wingers

  • To collect rebounds

  • To distract opponents in front of goal

  • To lead breakouts

  • To start attacks

To be a successful ice hockey Center, you must be dominant and assertive. You must have good all-round puck skills but should be able to hold your own physically too.

With so many responsibilities for this hockey position, creativity and reliability are two of the main traits required to become a strong Center.


The left and right wingers make up the forward line alongside the center – with the main responsibility to assist goals and provide support in attacking areas.

Yes, wingers are attackers but both the right wing forward and left wing forward are usually proficient when it comes to defending. Just ask any ice hockey betting tips expert!

Like the center, wingers take on different roles and responsibilities depending on the game situation. Stopping opposing defencemen to get involved with attacks is a key task.

Ice hockey position winger

Winger Responsibilities In Hockey:

  • To move the puck out of the defensive zone

  • To score and assist goals

  • To link up with the Center

  • To prevent opposing defenders from getting the puck

  • To block shots and intercept passes

  • To start attacks when receiving the puck

Fast skating is an absolute must for any winger. If you want to be one of the best hockey wingers in the game, you need to be agile and quick over the ice.

In addition, accurate passing, quick thinking and dribbling ability are three traits needed to thrive at the wing forward position in ice hockey.


Some of the highest paid players in the NHL are defencemen but an elite defensive player is worth paying for. Hockey betting punters know just how important defence is!

The main task for a defenceman is to protect the goal from attacks – as well as making sure teammates are safe on the ice. 

Defending is the name of the game for players taking on this role and ensuring there are no gaps in defence in front of the goalie is their main responsibility

Defence hockey position

Defencemen Responsibilities In Hockey:

  • Defend opposing attacks

  • Stop opposing forwards from passing

  • To gain and keep possession of the puck

  • To control the defensive section of the ice

  • To clear rebounds from defensive zone

  • To join in with attacking phases when appropriate

  • Work closely and in sync with other defenceman

One of the most physically defending hockey positions, you need to have a strong presence and impact to flourish as a defenceman in ice hockey.

Communication, reading the game and reactions are three of the most important traits for any defenceman looking to make it at the highest level.

The partnership between the defencemen is arguably the most important relationship on the rink. It can take weeks, months or even years to develop but the best teams often have a strong defensive pairing.


Arguably the most important hockey position of all, the goaltender is tasked with protecting his goal – preventing the opponents from scoring is his main responsibility.

The goalkeeper position is unique, with different equipment required to the rest of the team as well as specialist training relating to shot stopping and reflexes.

A solid goaltender can give the entire team a boost. If you know you have a reliable shot stopper in net, you will generally feel more relaxed and focused on your own role.

Ben Bowns Goalkeeper

Goalie Responsibilities In Hockey:

  • To fend off shots from opponents

  • To cover the puck to avoid rebounds

  • To pass the puck to start a counter attack

  • To show a strong mental attitude and will to succeed

  • To train hard and stay focused at all times

The role of a goalkeeper has changed somewhat in recent times, with goalies often getting involved in intercepting the puck behind the net – acting like a sweeper.

You need to be fearless, confident and brave to be a goalie in hockey. It is the scariest ice hockey position but often the most appreciated role on the team.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*


Alex is a sports betting tipster, specialising in Premier League football, the Champions League and horse racing.

He loves placing a weekly accumulator on the football at the weekend and dreams of landing the big winner that will take him back to Las Vegas.

As well as writing sports betting tips for 888sport since 2015, Alex has produced content for several international media companies, such as Goal.com and The SPORTBible.