A player that plays in an attacking position and in front of defencemen or goaltenders. A forward's primary role is to contribute offensively, but he is also expected to be defensively aware. There are three forwards positions in hockey: centre, left wing, and right wing.
In a standard five on five situation, each team will have three forwards on the ice (or three players occupying the forward positions). When a team is on a power play, it is possible that it sends out more than three natural forwards on the ice to increase their chances of scoring. A team will also send out more than three natural forwards when it pulls its goaltender and is allowed six skaters on the ice. A shorthanded team is only allowed three or four players on the ice, so it will only send out one or two players to play the forward positions. A standard NHL lineup consists of 12 forwards, divided into four lines of three forwards each.