Role of Hockey Captain

I have been getting a lot of emails and hits on my opinion of what is important for the captain’s role within my hockey teams. I wrote about the selection process that I used over my many years of coaching. I touched briefly on the role when it came to the selection process. Many have asked what I used to say to those captains and alternate captains upon selection. Here goes – it is now in writing…


  • You must know the rules of the game! If you have not taken the level one officials program from USA Hockey, please do so. I will fund it for you… This is the best way to understand the rules and how officials do their job. Having that background will help you to understand the game better. Will help you communicate with officials better.
  • Be the hardest working player on the team. Get to the rink early. When it comes time for all team activities, demonstrate that you are not going to be outworked. Set a standard where all players need to be.
  • Be a great team mate. Spend time with all of your team mates. Listen to them when they are talking. You can easily learn what is going on. If they are feeling good, hurt or unhappy. You are the ears to the locker room. Share with them your thoughts. Be one of them…
  • Be a great sportsman. Setting the example of sportsmanship is important. When I am coaching youth sports, sportsmanship is my main priority for both players and parents. Being respectful of the game, team mates, opposing players, coaches and officials is paramount. I will not tolerate unsportsmanlike behavior, especially from the leaders of the team. When you see a player not meeting the teams expectations, say/do something.
  • Locker room  is “your” domain.  As the captain and alternate captains, the locker room is yours. Respectful behavior at all times… Make sure that players are ready. Make sure the locker room is a reflection of our team goals of sportsmanship. When we leave it is cleaner than when we came. You own it till the coaching staff comes in for pre-game and post-game discussions.

Players learn to understand that the responsibility of the captains and alternates is an extremely important job. They are the extension of the coaching staff. They are the face of the team. They should represent their team and themselves well. Not all players have worked out to be the best. It is a lot of work and effort to be a good captain. Some just don’t work out as expected. I will say, those that have worked out… I am very proud of how they are doing today, in the non-hockey world. They are well respected and successful individuals in their line of work. Hopefully, those captain expectations helped to shape them!

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