Defence (defense in the USA) in ice hockey is a player position whose primary responsibility is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. They are often referred to as defencemen, defencewomen or defenceplayers, D, D-men or blueliners (the latter a reference to the blue line in ice hockey which represents the boundary of the offensive zone; defencemen generally position themselves along the line to keep the puck in the zone). They were once called cover-point.
A good blueliner is both strong in defensive and offensive play and for defence pairing also need to be good at defending and attacking.
In regular play, two defenceplayers complement three forwards and a goaltender on the ice. Exceptions include overtime during the regular season and when a team is shorthanded (i.e. has been assessed a penalty), in which two defenceplayers are typically joined by only two forwards and a goaltender; in National Hockey League play in overtime effective with the 2015-16 season the teams have only three position players and a goaltender on the ice and may use either two forwards and one defenceplayers (typically), or conversely, two defenceplayers and one forward.
Organized play of ice hockey originates from the first indoor game in Montreal in 1875. In subsequent years, the players per side were reduced to seven per side. Positions were standardized, and two correspond to the two defencemen of current six-man rules. These were designated as cover point and point, although they lined up behind the center and the rover, unlike today. Decades later, defencemen were standardized into playing left and right sides of the ice.
According to one of the earliest books on ice hockey, Farrell's Hockey: Canada's Royal Winter Game (1899), Mike Grant of the Montreal Victorias, describes the point as "essentially defensive. He should not stray too far from his place, because oftentimes he is practically a second goal-minder ... although he should remain close to his goal-keeper, he should never obstruct that man's view of the puck. He should, as a rule, avoid rushing up the ice, but if he has a good opening for such a play he should give the puck to one of the forwards on the first opportunity and then hasten back to his position, which has been occupied, in the interim, by the cover-point."
Hugh Baird, then captain and cover-point of the Montreal Hockey Club, describes the cover-point as "a combination of a defence man and a forward, and is allowed, in virtue of this fact, more latitude with respect to leaving his position, than any man on the team, except the rover. In his capacity of a defence player, he should linger around his goals as long as the puck is near... When the play is at the other end of the rink, the cover-point should advance to about the middle, so that when the puck is lifted down, he may return it without loss of time, in order to keep the game centered around his opponents' goals, and to save his forwards the trouble of skating up to him so that they may again 'get in to play.' It is by playing far up under these circumstances that a clever cover-point can chine to the advantage of his team. If he has a good opening he should shoot well for the goals, but if he has not, he should, as I have said, return the puck instantaneously."
Defence players are often described by the amount they participate in the offence. The extreme of non-participation in offence is a Stay-at-home defender, who takes few risks and does not score much, instead focusing on defending against the opposing team. A good example is Rod Langway, who won the Norris Trophy while scoring only three goals that season, as the award winners preceding him were primarily offensive defencemen such as Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, and Larry Robinson.
The extreme of participation is an offensive defenceman, who gets aggressively involved in the team's offence. To accomplish this, the offensive defence player often pitches in to keep the play from going offside and moves towards the halfboards and high-slot area for scoring opportunities. This makes it difficult for the opposing team to protect their net from being scored upon if the team can maintain control of the puck. However, this can lead to more odd man rushes and breakaway opportunities for the opposing team if the defender does not succeed. Bobby Orr's end-to-end rushing allowed him to defend effectively as well as attack. By contrast, Paul Coffey enjoyed high offensive production but his defensive play was considered mediocre for most of his career.
When in the defensive zone, the defence player is responsible for keeping the opposing forwards' opportunities to a minimum when they are on a rush, forcing them to the corners and blocking both passing and shooting lanes. When the opposing offence is putting pressure on the defence's team, the defence skater usually plays closer to the net, attempting again to block shooting lanes but also ensure that the goalie is not screened (prevented from being able to see the puck at all times). It is especially critical for the defenceman to keep opposing forwards from being able to move effectively in front of the net. If a shot on net is made, an unguarded forward can often redirect it too quickly for the goalie to adjust or else score on a rebound. Another important duty is clearing rebounds away from the goal, and preferably to the defenceman's teammates, before opposing forwards can get to them.
In the neutral zone, the defence hangs back towards his or her own blue line, usually playing the puck up to other teammates. According to Jay Leach, who writes for NHL.com's "learn to play hockey" section, the defence must "Move the puck hard and quick to the open man. Join the rush, [but] do not lead it." Because of this responsibility, defencemen must read the other team's defensive strategy effectively in order to make an effective first pass that furthers the offensive momentum without leaving the defenceman out of position should his team lose control of the puck. In certain situations the best option could be to skate the puck into the zone to maintain offensive speed as well as preventing an offside.
In the offensive zone, the defence skaters usually "play the blue line." It is their duty to keep the puck in the offensive zone by stopping it from crossing the blue line that demarcates where the offensive zone begins. Should the puck cross this line, the offence cannot touch the puck in their opponent's zone without stopping play (see offside). Defencemen must be quick to pass the puck around, helping their forwards to open up shooting lanes, or taking open shots themselves when they become available. The defence must also be able to skate quickly to cut off any breakaways, moving themselves back into the defensive zone ahead of the onrushing opponent.
Essentially in all three zones of the rink, the defence is the backstop for the puck. It should never go behind the defence, unless the player lets it. The defence keeps the momentum of play squarely directed towards the opposing goal, or at least away from his own.
Because defenceplayers are often expected to shoot on the opposing net from long range, these players often develop the hardest and most accurate slapshots. This is because taking a more stationary position on the blue line rewards pure accuracy and patience, rather than the adept hand–eye coordination attributed to forwards. Al MacInnis, who was seven times decorated with "Hardest Shot" in NHL skills competitions, was able to score frequently from the blue line because his slapshot was simply too fast to block effectively.
When a team is on a power play, a defence player can set up plays in the offensive zone, and distribute the puck to the teammate that he or she feels is in the best position to score, similar to a point guard in basketball and a quarterback in American football and Canadian football. For this reason, a defenceman will often be described as the power play "quarterback". This is also referred to as "playing the point" (this term derives not from the basketball position, but from an older name for the defence position in hockey itself).
During faceoffs in the defensive zone, most teams have their defence players pair up with opposing forwards to tie them up while leaving the team's forwards open to move the puck, though this is at the discretion of the individual coach. In the offensive zone, the defence player acts in his or her usual role, keeping control of the puck as the forwards fight for position.
In the first organized ice hockey, (see Amateur Hockey Association of Canada), defencemen used to line up in an "I" formation behind the rover (defunct) as point and coverpoint. Defence is still referred to as "playing the point", though this term now refers mostly to the role of defenceplayers on the power-play.
Defenceplayers must possess excellent skating abilities, specifically in speed, constant foot movement and quick transitioning from forward to backward and vice versa. With regard to skating backwards, defenceplayers must acquire a higher skill level than offensive players. This allows them to face their offensive opponents as they rush down the ice toward the defensive zone. A defenceplayers must be as comfortable going backwards and sideways as forwards. Defenceplayers must also gain confidence in quickly carrying the puck to open up the attack during a defensive zone breakout. This requires the ability to burst out of the defensive zone with speed, yet at the same time having the ability to use their vision to execute quick passes to open forwards, or gaining the neutral zone before shooting the puck into the offensive zone.
Each year the NHL, the premier ice hockey league in the world, presents the James Norris Memorial Trophy to the best defenceman in the league. Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins – an eight-time Norris Trophy recipient – is often considered to be the greatest defenceman in NHL and ice hockey history. In addition to his Norris Trophy honours, he is the only defenceman in NHL history to capture the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer. In 1998, Orr was selected as the best defenceman of all-time (second overall player behind Wayne Gretzky) in The Hockey News' Top 100 NHL Players of all-time.
Conversely, according to the IIHF Centennial All-Star Team (also chosen by The Hockey News), the greatest defencemen to play in IIHF-sanctioned international competition are Vyacheslav Fetisov and Börje Salming.
The 1970 NHL Expansion Draft was the second expansion draft of the National Hockey League (NHL). The draft was held on June 10, 1970, a day before the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft. The expansion draft was held to allow the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks to acquire players for the upcoming 1970–71 season.1972 NHL Expansion Draft
The 1972 NHL Expansion Draft was held on June 6, 1972. The draft took place to fill the rosters of the league's two then-new expansion teams for the 1972–73 season, the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Flames.Al MacInnis
Allan MacInnis (born July 11, 1963) is a Canadian retired ice hockey defenceman who played 23 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues. A first round selection of the Flames in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, he went on to become a 12-time All-Star. He was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player of the playoffs in 1989 after leading the Flames to the Stanley Cup championship. He was voted the winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1999 as the top defenceman in the league while a member of the Blues. In 2017 MacInnis was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.MacInnis was most famous for having the hardest shot in the league. He tied Bobby Orr's Ontario Hockey League (OHL) record for goals by a defenceman, and won two OHL championships and a Memorial Cup with the Kitchener Rangers as a junior. He famously split goaltender Mike Liut's mask with a shot, and became only the fourth defenceman in NHL history to score 100 points in a season. Internationally, he was an all-star on defence as Canada won the 1991 Canada Cup and twice participated in the Winter Olympics. He was a member of the 2002 team that won Canada's first gold medal in 50 years.
An eye injury suffered early in the 2003–04 NHL season forced MacInnis into retirement. He finished his career third all-time among defencemen in goals, assists and points and was named to seven post-season all-star teams. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, and his jersey number 2 was retired by the Blues and is honoured by the Flames. MacInnis remains a member of the Blues organization, currently serving as the team's Vice-President of Hockey Operations.Bobby Orr
Robert Gordon Orr, OC (born March 20, 1948) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest of all time. Orr used his ice skating speed, scoring, and play-making abilities to revolutionize the position of defenceman. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 12 seasons, starting with 10 with the Boston Bruins followed by two with the Chicago Black Hawks. Orr remains the only defenceman to have won the league scoring title with two Art Ross Trophies. He holds the record for most points and assists in a single season by a defenceman. Orr won a record eight consecutive Norris Trophies as the NHL's best defenceman and three consecutive Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player (MVP). Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 at age 31, the youngest to be inducted at that time. In 2017 Orr was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history. After his hockey career, he became a well-known scout for many professional teams. He also spends time talking to and mentoring young skaters.
Orr started in organized hockey at age eight. He first played as a forward but moved to defence and was encouraged to use his skating skills to control play. Orr's play in Ontario provincial competition attracted the notice of NHL scouts as early as age twelve. At fourteen, Orr joined the Oshawa Generals, the Bruins' junior hockey affiliate, and he was an all-star for three of his four seasons.
In 1966, Orr joined the Boston Bruins, a team that had not won a Stanley Cup since 1941 and had not qualified for the playoffs since 1959. With Orr, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1970 and 1972, and lost in the 1974 Final. In both victories, Orr scored the clinching goal and was named the playoff MVP. In the final achievement of his career, he was the MVP of the 1976 Canada Cup international hockey tournament. In 1976, Orr left Boston as a free agent to join the Black Hawks, but repeated injuries had effectively destroyed his left knee, and he retired in 1978 at age 30.
Orr's first professional contract was one of the first in professional ice hockey to be negotiated by an agent. It made him the highest-paid player in NHL history as a rookie. His second contract was the first million-dollar contract in the NHL. However, after his retirement, Orr learned he was deeply in debt and he had to sell off most of what he owned. Orr broke with his agent Alan Eagleson and sued the Black Hawks to settle his contract. Orr and his family returned to Boston where Orr went into business to rebuild his finances. Orr aided the investigations that led to Eagleson's fraud convictions and disbarment. Orr also supported the lawsuit that exposed the corruption of the NHL's pension plan.
Orr entered the player agent business in 1996 and today is president of the Orr Hockey Group agency. As of 2009, the agency represents over 30 active NHL players. Orr is also active in charitable works and in television commercials. Since 1996, Orr has coached a team of junior hockey players in the annual CHL Top Prospects Game. Orr was married in 1972. He is the father of two sons and is a grandfather.Brent Burns
Brent Burns (born March 9, 1985) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman, who at times has been utilized as a forward, currently playing for the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was converted into a defenceman upon turning professional, after being drafted as a right wing (20th overall) at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild.
During the shortened 2012–13 season, and continuing through the 2013–14 season, the Sharks utilized Burns as a forward. Starting with the 2014–15 season, he was returned to defence. At the end of the 2015–16 season, Burns finished third in voting for the James Norris Memorial Trophy (awarded to the NHL's best defenceman); one year later, at the end of the 2016–17 season, Burns won the award for the first time in his career.CHL Defenceman of the Year
The CHL Defenceman of the Year Award is given out annually to the top defenceman in the Canadian Hockey League. It is chosen from the winners of the league trophies, the Max Kaminsky Trophy of the Ontario Hockey League, the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy of the Western Hockey League, and the Emile Bouchard Trophy of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.Centre (ice hockey)
The centre (or center in the United States) in ice hockey is a forward position of a player whose primary zone of play is the middle of the ice, away from the side boards. Centres have more flexibility in their positioning and are expected to cover more ice surface than any other player. Centres are ideally stronger, faster skaters who can back-check quickly from deep in the opposing zone. Generally, centres are expected to be gifted passers more than goal scorers, although there are exceptions. They are also expected to have exceptional "ice vision", intelligence, and creativity. They also generally are the most defensively oriented forwards on the ice. Centres usually play as part of a line of players that are substituted frequently to keep fresh and keep the game moving. First-liners are usually the top players, although some top players make the second line to allow for offensive scoring opportunities.Denis Potvin
Denis Charles Potvin (born October 29, 1953) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey defenceman and team captain for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is a four-time Stanley Cup winner as a member of the early 1980s New York Islanders. He is also a three-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenceman. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 and served as a commentator for Ottawa Senators' television broadcasts on Sportsnet. He is currently the color commentator for the Florida Panthers. Potvin was born in Vanier, Ontario, but grew up in Hull, Quebec. In 2017, he was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.Dion Phaneuf
Dion Phaneuf (born April 10, 1985) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has previously played for the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, serving as captain in Toronto and as an alternate captain in both Calgary and Ottawa. He was drafted ninth overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by Calgary and made his NHL debut in 2005 after a four-year junior career with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League (WHL), in which he was twice named the Defenceman of the Year.
Phaneuf set a Flames record for most goals by a first-year defenceman and was named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as top rookie in 2005–06. Two years later, he was a finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as top defenceman, though he did not win either award. Since going pro, Phaneuf has been involved in two blockbuster trades. The first came in late 2009, when he was involved in a seven-player trade that saw him move from Calgary to Toronto. Six years later, Phaneuf was the centrepiece of a nine-player trade that saw him sent to Ottawa. He was traded to Los Angeles nearing the trade deadline in February 2018.
Phaneuf is a three-time NHL All-Star. He has represented Canada internationally five times in his career, winning a silver medal and a gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship in 2004 and 2005, respectively, as well as a gold medal at the 2007 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships.
Phaneuf is active in the community; the Flames honoured Phaneuf for his role as an ambassador to the Alberta Children's Hospital, where he participated in events that help sick and injured children during his time in Calgary. Phaneuf was a common sight at Toronto events, often appearing at fundraisers, promotional activities or visiting patients at Sick Kids Hospital.Doug Wilson (ice hockey)
Douglas Frederick Wilson (born July 5, 1957) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey defenceman and the current General Manager of the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League.Forward (ice hockey)
In ice hockey, a forward is a player position on the ice whose primary responsibility is to score and assist goals. Generally, the forwards try to stay in three different lanes, also known as thirds, of the ice going from goal to goal. It is not mandatory, however, to stay in a lane. Staying in a lane aids in forming the common offensive strategy known as a triangle. One forward obtains the puck and then the forwards pass it between themselves making the goalie move side to side. This strategy opens up the net for scoring opportunities. This strategy allows for a constant flow of the play, attempting to maintain the control of play by one team in the offensive zone. The forwards can pass to the defence players playing at the blue line, thus freeing up the play and allowing either a shot from the point (blue line position where the defence stands) or a pass back to the offence. This then begins the triangle again.
Each team has three forwards in each line:
Right WingList of ECAC Hockey Player of the Year
The ECAC Hockey Player of the Year is an annual award given out at the conclusion of the ECAC Hockey regular season to the best player in the conference as voted by the coaches of each ECAC team.The Player of the Year was first awarded in 1962 and every year thereafter.
Four players (Bob Brinkworth, Scott Fusco, Chase Polacek and Jimmy Vesey) have received the award two separate times, each doing so in consecutive years. The award has been split twice in its history, 2002–03 and 2013–14.List of ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year
The ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year is an annual award given out at the conclusion of the ECAC Hockey regular season to the best freshman player in the conference as voted by the coaches of each ECAC team.The Rookie of the Year was first awarded in 1962 and every year thereafter.
The vote has been split for the award four times in its history.List of first overall NHL draft picks
The NHL Entry Draft, originally known as the NHL Amateur Draft, is a collective meeting in which the franchises of the National Hockey League (NHL) systematically select the exclusive rights to available amateur players who meet the eligibility requirements to play professional hockey in the NHL. First held in 1963, the draft prior to 1969 was a shorter affair. Any amateur player who was 17 years of age and older and was not already sponsored by an NHL club was eligible to be drafted. In 1969 the rules were changed so that any amateur player between the ages of 17 and 20 was eligible to be drafted. The draft has grown, and in 2017, 217 players were selected over seven rounds.A total of 53 different players have been selected first. Of those, 39 have been Canadian, seven were American, three Russian, two Czech, two Swedish and one Swiss. Every first overall pick taken between 1968 and 2010 has played in at least 299 NHL games. Three players retired without ever having played an NHL game.
The Montreal Canadiens have had the most first overall picks of any other team, selecting five players first between 1963 and 1980. Five players have come from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, more than any other team. 11 players have won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year: Gilbert Perreault, Denis Potvin, Bobby Smith, Dale Hawerchuk, Mario Lemieux, Bryan Berard, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Nathan MacKinnon, Aaron Ekblad and Auston Matthews. Eight have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Perreault, Potvin, Guy Lafleur, Eric Lindros, Hawerchuk, Lemieux, Mats Sundin and Mike Modano.Max Kaminsky Trophy
The Max Kaminsky Trophy is awarded annually by the Ontario Hockey League to the most outstanding defenceman. The award is named in honour of Max Kaminsky, who coached the St. Catharines Teepees to the Memorial Cup in 1960 and died shortly thereafter of cancer. The winner of the Max Kaminsky Trophy is nominated for the CHL Defenceman of the Year.
Prior to 1969, the Max Kaminsky Trophy was awarded to the most gentlemanly player in the league. The William Hanley Trophy is now awarded for the most sportsmanlike player in the OHL.Nicklas Lidström
Erik Nicklas Lidström (pronounced [ˈnɪkːlas ²liːdstrœm]; born 28 April 1970) is a Swedish former professional ice hockey defenceman who played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings, which he captained for the final six seasons of his career. He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history.
Over his 20 NHL seasons, Lidström won four Stanley Cup championships, seven James Norris Memorial Trophies (awarded to the NHL's top defenceman), one Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, and was voted into 12 NHL All-Star Games. The Red Wings never missed the postseason during his career, the longest in league history for a player never missing the playoffs. Lidström was the first European-born-and-trained captain of a Stanley Cup winning team, as well as the first European player named playoff MVP. Lidström is also the all-time leader in games played with only one NHL team and by a European-born player. Lidström was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on 9 November 2015. In 2017 Lidström was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.P. K. Subban
Pernell-Karl Sylvester "P. K." Subban (born May 13, 1989) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL). Subban was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, 43rd overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. In 2013, he won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenceman, and tied with Kris Letang as the leading scorer among defencemen. In the summer of 2014 he signed an eight-year, $72 million contract with the Canadiens, running through the 2021–22 season. After the 2015–16 season, Subban was sent to Nashville in a highly publicized trade in exchange for Shea Weber.Paul Coffey
Paul Douglas Coffey (born June 1, 1961) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey defenceman who played for nine teams in the National Hockey League. Known for his speed and scoring prowess, Coffey ranks second all-time among NHL defencemen in career goals, assists, and points, behind Ray Bourque. He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman three times and was voted to eight end-of-season All-Star Teams (four First-Team and four Second-Team). He holds the record for the most goals by a defencemen in one season, 48 in 1985-86, and is the only defencemen to have scored 40 goals more than once, also doing it in 1983-84. He is also one of only two defencemen to score 100 points in a season more than one time, as he did it five times; Bobby Orr did it six times. Paul Coffey holds or shares 33 NHL records in the regular season and playoffs.
Coffey was born in Weston, Ontario, but grew up in Malton, Ontario. The city of Mississauga renamed Malton Arena to Paul Coffey Arena and renamed Wildwood Park to Paul Coffey Park in a ceremony on September 23, 2016. In 2017 Coffey was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.Winger (ice hockey)
Winger, in the game of ice hockey, is a forward position of a player whose primary zone of play on the ice is along the outer playing area. They typically work by flanking the centre forward. Originally the name was given to forward players who went up and down the sides of the rink. Nowadays, there are different types of wingers in the game — out-and-out goal scorers, checkers who disrupt the opponents, and forwards who work along the boards and in the corners. They tend to be bigger than centreman and smaller than defenseman.
This position is commonly referred to by the side of the rink that the winger normally takes, i.e. "left wing" or "right wing."