Ice Hockey Centers

Who is the center? What is his/her role on an ice hockey team? Get ready to learn about the center on an ice hockey team.

Introduction

Ice hockey is a 5-on-5 game (not including the goalies). Each team has six (6) players on the ice, five (5) skaters and one (1) goalie.

Hockey Team

REMEMBER: The same five (5) skaters on an ice hockey team play both offense and defense.

Each player has a unique role to fulfill on the ice in both offensive and defensive situations.

In this chapter, we will learn about the center and his role on the ice.

Meet The Center (C)

Centers play a large role both offensively and defensively in ice hockey. They are largely responsible for monitoring the middle of the ice both in the attacking zone and defensive zone. They are usually the most versatile skaters in hockey.

Hockey Center

Goals And Job

The center's jobs on the ice will change depending on the position of the puck on the ice. However, a center's core jobs are to:

Center Strategy

The capable center accomplishes these goals by constantly shifting and changing his position on the ice based on the location of the puck.

Offensive Strategy

When in the attacking zone, centers typically have a fair amount of freedom to improvise. While centers typically position themselves in the middle of the ice, some tend to drift toward the boards and even behind the net creating offensive opportunities to score.

Defensive Strategy

Like in the attacking zone, the middle of the ice is typically the center's primary area where he positions himself defensively.

However, centers can also play a supporting role on the ice. If a defensemen is fighting for a puck along the boards, the center may help to control possession of the puck.

Key Statistics

There are few important statistics that define a good goalie:

We'll learn more about ice hockey statistics in future tutorials.

Top NHL Centers Of All Time

Here are some of the best centers to ever play in the NHL that you should know:

  • Wayne Gretzky (C)
  • Mario Lemieux (C), Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Mark Messier (C), New York Rangers
  • Steve Yzerman (C), Detroit Red Wings

2017-18 NHL Centers

Here are some centers in the NHL currently that you should know:

  • Sidney Crosby (C), Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Connor McDavid (C), Edmonton Oilers
  • Steven Stamkos (C), Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Patrice Bergeron (C), Boston Bruins

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