So how many players are on an ice hockey team? The number of players on a team's roster varies at every level of play (youth, college, pro)
On a professional NHL team, there are twenty (20) players on the team roster, eighteen (18) of which are called skaters and two (2) are goaltenders.
These eighteen (18) skaters are broken down into twelve (12) forwards and six (6) defensemen.
Captains And Alternate-Captains
Every ice hockey team has a captain and an alternate-captain. The purpose of this in the NHL is for discussing rule interpretations with referees. Only the captain of a team is allowed to discuss calls made by the referees with them.
PRO TIP: You can always spot the captain and the alternate-captain on an ice hockey team by looking at the player jerseys. The letter 'C' on a jersey denotes the team's captain, while the letter 'A' denotes the team's alternate-captain.
How Many Players On The Ice?
Hockey is a 5-on-5 game (excluding the goalie), meaning there are five (5) skaters and one (1) goalie on the ice per team.
Too Many Players
Only five (5) skaters can be on the ice at a time. If a team has more than five (5) skaters on the ice during play, they will be assessed a penalty known as too many players on the ice.
We will learn more about penalties in future chapters.