How Many Assistant Captains In Hockey? [Ultimate Guide!]

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The number of assistant captains in hockey has increased from two to as many as six or seven over the years, and it seems like each team has at least one or two. The reasons why coaches choose to have their assistants lead their teams during the national anfinity games are manifold. Perhaps the increased role is a product of the wider roles that female coaches have taken on in the last few years. Maybe it’s also a reflection of increased coaching experience or savvy as the game has evolved. Whatever the reason, the number of assistant captains in hockey has more than doubled in the last decade.

The Evolution Of Coaching

The evolution of coaching can be tracked through several statistics. First, the number of NHL head coaches with previous experience has increased from six in 2005-2006 to 14 in 2018-2019. That’s an average of 1.4 full-time coaches per team. Additionally, the average number of players per team has decreased from 4.7 in 2005-2006 to 4.2 this year. Finally, the number of teams has increased from 12 in 2005-2006 to 30 in 2018-2019. The last statistic indicates that there are more options for coaches to work in the NHL than there has ever been.

In contrast, the number of assistant captains hasn’t kept pace with the evolutions of coaching and game strategy. During the 2011-2012 season, there were two assistant captains per team on average. In 2017-2018 that number increased to three per team, and it has continued to climb since then. It seems that teams will always have one or two assistant captain slots left over for the next highest-ranking assistant.

The Rise Of Women In Hockey

Over the last decade, women in hockey have made incredible strides toward equality and have worked to increase their presence in all aspects of the game. In 2011 only five NHL teams had a majority of their players being women, while 22 teams had between 10% and 29% of their players being women. This past season, for the first time in history, the percentage of NHL players who were men was less than 47% and the percentage of players who were women was more than 53%. This year three of the four division winners were coached by women, and the New York Islanders won the Stanley Cup without a single male coach on their staff. With more and more NHL players choosing to participate in the sport and the number of teams decreasing, the future looks incredibly exciting for women in hockey.

One area where women in hockey have made significant strides toward equality is in the role of assistant captain. In recent years, more and more women have been given the honor of serving as an assistant captain. The evolution of coaching has shifted to favor more female candidates, and the increased role has allowed more women to shine in the role. When considering these statistics, it’s clear that the roles of men and women in hockey have changed for the better over the last decade. Perhaps not only is the role of the assistant captain increasing as a reflection of the increased role of women in the sport, but the role itself is changing as well.

The Changing Face Of Hockey

The increased role that women and minorities play in hockey couldn’t come at a better time. In 2021 the NHL will be celebrating their 100th season, and throughout the league there will be numerous opportunities for people of color to shine. With fewer and fewer barriers to entry in hockey, the sport will continue to attract people from all backgrounds and allow for more people to realize their full potential. Ultimately, the evolution of hockey will continue to be positive, and with more people being invested in the game, it will only get better.

To gauge the positive impact that hockey is having on people of color, take a look at the number of minority coaches and executives in the NHL. In January 2021 there were only two black NHL head coaches and two black front- office members. Over the course of the season that number is predicted to increase to four black head coaches and four black front-office members. Additionally, the number of Hispanic, Asian, and Native American NHL coaches and executives is steadily increasing. It’s quite the trend to be on the right side of history when it comes to hockey.

How To Be An Assistant Captain

While the percentage of people who identify as women has increased in the NHL in the last few years, the number of women who play hockey has decreased. If you’re a woman looking to make the jump from spectator to participant, here’s how you can ensure that when the puck does drop, you’re ready to participate at the highest level possible.

First, identify a skill set that compliments your teammate’s. If you’re on a team with a lot of offense, you might want to focus on defense or vice versa. Next, become a student of the game. Watch as many games as you can, read up on NHL game strategy, and attend organized hockey training sessions. Finally, find a role on your team that allows you to use your skill set to the maximum effect. If you can become an offensive defenseman, you can coordinate the offense and penalty kill while defending the net. If you’re a shoot-first defenseman, you’ll be giving the puck more time and space to find the twine.

Regardless of your particular skill set, if you want to be an assistant captain in hockey, you need to do your research and prepare for the role. With increased participation in the game and greater opportunities for people of color, the positive impact that hockey can have on society will undoubtedly continue to grow.

To learn more, visit the NHL’s official website.

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