A team consists of anything up to 24 players (20 skaters and two goaltenders).
One player on each team is appointed as Captain. Each club may also appoint up to two Alternate (Assistant) Captains who will then assume the privileges of the Captain when he is not on the ice. During the game, only the captain and alternate (assistant) captains may talk with the referee.
When both teams are at full strength, there are six players on the ice at a time for each side, with one of those players being a netminder. The netminder may be “pulled” and replaced by another skater if the team desires. If there is a penalty, then a team may lose up to two players for on-ice play for that duration. During overtime, teams are only allowed five players on the ice at one time, including the goaltender.
These players operate up and down the middle of the ice. They lead their team’s attack by passing the puck between his two wings to set up a goal. Defensively, they look to keep the play from leaving the attacking zone. As the play approaches his own goal, it is the Centre’s job to hustle and break up the opposing team’s plays.
These guys follow the action up and down the rink on either side of the Centre. Left and right wings pass back and forth, while trying to position themselves for a shot on goal.
The two defencemen try to stop the incoming plays before any chance of scoring. They will block shots, clear the puck from their own area and try to keep opposing forwards away from the front of the goal. Offensively, they will move the puck up the ice, pass to the forwards and follow play into the attacking zone.
As the last line of defence, the netminder takes – and tries to stop – shots from everyone. This player’s challenge is to stop the puck from entering his goal. Netminders can use any piece of equipment or any part of his body – even the head – to protect his net. They are the only player on the ice who is allowed to cover up the puck to stop play.