The centers are often the most skilled player on a hockey team. Centers are also the leaders of a forward line. Centers have to be smart and must read and anticipate the opposing team. Centers are typically the best passers on the ice.
Roles and Responsibilities
Centers take faceoffs, create offense, and play an important role in the defensive zone and the breakout. If there is a very good player on the opposing team, the top center may be tasked with shadowing the other team's star player.
Centers play a large role both offensively and defensively in ice hockey. They are largely responsible for monitoring center ice when the puck is in the attacking zone and defensive zone.
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:
- to perform face-offs
- to control center ice
- to play defensively and offensively
- to score goals
- to make shots on goal
The center accomplishes the roles and responsibilities by constantly shifting and changing his position on the ice based on the location of the puck.
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.
Like in the attacking zone, center ice is typically the center's primary area where he is stationed defensively.
A good center is determined by stats like Face-off Percentage (FO PCT), Goals (G), Assists (A), and Shots on Goal (S)
Top NHL Centers
The following lists some of the top centers in the National Hockey League by team:
|Mario Lemieux||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Wayne Gretzky||Indianapolis Racers, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers|
|Steve Yzerman||Detroit Red Wings|
|Mark Messier||New York Rangers|
|Sidney Crosby||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Connor McDavid||Edmonton Oilers|
|Steven Stamkos||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Patrice Bergeron||Boston Bruins|
What does a center do in hockey?
A center is an offensive forward player in hockey who primarily focuses on making shots on goal. Centers are also responsible for taking face-offs. They often lead the forwards into the attacking zone to get a goal for their team. A good center also knows when to play defense when they have to.