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  • Writer's pictureUnofficial Bighorns Blog

Hockey 101: Understanding the Basics (Part 1)

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Hockey, with its origins tracing centuries, has become one of the world's most beloved sports, capturing hearts from frosty Canadian rinks to arenas across the globe. Its skill, strategy, and sheer speed make it a thrilling spectacle for fans and players alike. For the residents of Helena and Montana, this passion takes on a local hue with the Helena Bighorns, an embodiment of community spirit and athletic prowess.

Understanding how to play hockey enriches the viewing experience and deepens the bond with our local heroes on the ice. Whether you're a newcomer to the sport or a longtime fan, a deeper dive into hockey's intricacies promises a richer connection to Montana's proud hockey tradition.

The Basics of Hockey Equipment

Every ice hockey player, from beginners to pros, requires a specific gear to step onto the rink. This includes skates for swift movement, a stick for puck control, helmets to guard the head, and pads for the shoulders, elbows, shins, and knees. Goalies have specialized equipment, like larger leg pads and catching gloves. But this gear isn't just about performance; it's vital for safety. The fast-paced nature of hockey, with hard shots and physical contact, makes protective equipment crucial. In a game where split-second actions matter, ensuring player safety with the right equipment becomes paramount, blending performance with precaution.

Hockey Player Positions: Roles and Responsibilities

In the dynamic world of ice hockey, each player has a distinct role, defined by their position on the ice:


  • Centers: Often seen as the 'playmakers'. They lead offensive plays, take face-offs, and are crucial in attack and defense. Their versatility means they're frequently in the thick of the action.

  • Left Wings: Positioned on the offense's left side, they work with centers during attacks, aiming to score or create scoring opportunities.

  • Right Wings: Mirroring the left wing's role, but on the right side. They need to be sharpshooters, capitalizing on passes and scoring chances.


  • Left Defense: Protects the left side of the rink. Their primary role is to stop opposing forwards, but they can also initiate offensive plays.

  • Right Defense: They guard the right side, intercepting pucks and blocking shots while supporting offensive pushes when right.

  • Goalies: The guardians of the net and the last line of defense. Their reflexes, vision, and bravery are paramount. They face a barrage of shots, making crucial saves to keep the team in the game.

The Helena Bighorns roster boasts exemplary talent in each of these positions. Their players understand their roles and elevate them, bringing a unique Montana spirit to every game and showcasing the essence of teamwork and skill.

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