How Many Players Are in an Ice Hockey Team?

Ice Hockey Players

A thrilling ice hockey match leaves spectators teetering on the brink of the seats, but do you know how many players are needed to complete an ice hockey team? or Do you know the types of hockey games and their number of players? 

What is Ice Hockey and Its History?

Ice hockey is a sport that is played on an ice rink surface. It is much similar to football with ice skates and sticks. Because of the frozen landscape, the football boots and balls are replaced with ice hockey skates and a puck. The puck slides 30 meters in seconds when hit by a stick. It is known as a fast-paced game because of this feature.  In this game, you have to score against your competitor’s goal.

In the mid-1800s, it is accepted that ice hockey originates from England, India, and Canada. According to the international ice hockey federation, the first hockey game was played in Canada in the year 1875, and no rules were made until 1877. 

Even though having a complicated history, ice hockey emerges as an exhilarating masterpiece of radical games and excitement.

How Many Players Are in Ice Hockey?

As a rule of thumb, there are six pliers on the ice at once, including the goaltender. It means there are five skaters and one goalie.

Regarding the serving penalties, this will affect the player’s number, and drop them to four or three and the penalty for infraction is 2-5 minutes. During the overtime, with only three players each team will skate in the regular season.

How to Play Ice Hockey?

The ice hockey rink length is approximately 61 meters x 30 meters. The rink is divided into three sections for this game. In the middle section, the players start the match, the other two sections are for the attacking and defending zones. In ice hockey, there are 3 periods of 20 minutes, and players also get 15 minutes of recess besides that.

Each player has the stick to hit the puck, made of dense rubber, and weighs. It means that it is heavy and needs powers and skills to play. In this game, the usage of hands is banned and to score points you have to beat the opponent team.

Basic Rules of Ice Hockey:

  • There should be a total of 6 players in the ice hockey game. 5 skaters and one goalie.
  • The must-wear accessory for every team member is a helmet ( including coaches and managers).
  • Without skates, no member is allowed to step on the ice rink. This means managers and coaches are not allowed on the rink.
  • The necessary equipment is a helmet, shin pads, gloves, face mask, skates, and goalie skates. 
  • During the regular season, matches can’t be overtime. For this reason, they are considered as ties. 
  • The penalties are divided into two sections: major offenses and minor offenses. Transgressions are also included in penalties.
  • Major offenses: Elbowing, tripping, hooking, charging, holding, boarding, interference, roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct, checking from behind, and more
  • Major offenses: Fighting, serious injury, repeated minor violations, and more.

Necessary Equipment to Play Ice Hockey:

Commonly 3-4 items are used in most sports, but when we talk about ice hockey then remember it is no joke you have to be prepared for the ice in the literal sense. so these are the essential equipment to play ice hockey. 

  • Player’s Stick/Goaltender’s Stick
  • Elbow pad
  • Ice Hockey Skates
  • Gloves
  • Jersey
  • Ice Hockey Helmet
  • Jockstrap
  • Mouthguards
  • Puck
  • Shoulder and Chest Padding

Different Types of Hockey Games:

  • Ice hockey
  • Roller hockey
  • Field hockey
  • Street hockey
  • Sledge hockey
  • Bandy

The Comparison of the Number of Players on Different Hockey Teams:

These are the player count of different types of hockey teams:

  1. Street hockey: 12 players
  2. Field Hockey: 11 players
  3. Roller Hockey: 16 players
  4. Sledge Hockey: 12 players
  5. Bandy: 11 players
  6. Ice Hockey: 12 players

How Penalties Affect the Number of Players:

Have you ever watched a hockey game in which suddenly you notice that one team is striking with four skaters instead of five? This is due to a player getting sent to the penalty box, the team skated shorthanded for the duration of the penalty. 

The team may even go down to three skaters after two penalties, resulting in a 5-on-3 situation. A team must have at least three players on the ice, and if another penalty is accrued while two players are already in the box, it will be served after one of the existing penalties has ended.

The time penalties range from 2 to 5 minutes, it depends whether it’s minor or major. As we have mentioned above the minor and major penalties.

As the team serving the penalty is on the penalty kill, they’re often in their defending zone and attempting to defend against the opponent. In the power play situation, the other team has more players on the ice and is in control of the puck in the offensive zone.

What Happens If Too Many Players Are On the Ice?

A team with too many players on the ice will receive a 2-minute penalty if they are caught with too many players on the ice. So in that case, to serve the penalty, the coach will summon any player from the team.

It is mandatory for a player to be within five feet of the bench before another takes his place during a shift change.

Too many men on the ice penalty can also be called if the opposing player leaves the bench prematurely. It shows that this game is all about timings, so the players must be mindful and with heightened senses as they take the ice.

Those who watch or play hockey regularly are aware of the importance of shift changes. While play is still in progress, players are on and off the ice, which can sometimes lead to confusion and miscommunication. This is what commonly leads to this compelling penalty.


In the thrilling realm of ice hockey, the team players are an essential thread in the sport’s colorful tapestry. In this game, six players unite as a force and propel the game to electrifying heights. It is the sports that show the unparalleled power of teamwork and the pure joy of competition. Hope you got some juicy nuggets from this blog.

How Many Players Are in an Ice Hockey Team?