Hockey Lingo

Some basics in the language of hockey.  Feel free to send in others that I may have missed.


Against the grain – In a manner counter to the way most players on the ice are moving.
Attacking zone – The opposing team’s end of the ice, as determined by the blue line.
Apple – Another term for assist.


Backhander or Backhand shot – A shot that is taken from the backside of the blade.
Backchecking – Rushing back to the defensive zone in response to an opposing team’s attack.
Backdoor  –  The unprotected side of the goal when the goaltender is protecting one side.
Backstop – A goaltender.
Bar down – A shot that hits the crossbar and then proceeds down into the net for a goal.
Bender – A person who is bad at skating or hockey in general, thus resulting in the bending of ankles.
Bird cage – The cage on the helmet.
Biscuit – The puck.
Biscuit in the basket – Scoring a goal.
Blocker – The rectangular pad that a goaltender wears on the stick-holding hand. (See waffle pad.)
Blowing a tire – When a player that is skating falls down for no apparent reason.
Blue line – The lines separating the attack/defense zones from the neutral zone.
Blueliner – A defenseman.
Boarding – Checking a player from behind into the boards.
Body checking – Using the hip or body to knock an opponent against the boards or to the ice (also known as hip checking).
Bomb Shell(s) – A huge slapshot usually from the point.
Boobirds – Obnoxious fans who boo the home team or a player when they are playing poorly, or they boo an ex-player who returns to the rink.
Bottle Rocket – The event in which a goal is scored and the goaltender’s water bottle, which is placed on top of the net during play, is propelled into the air by the puck striking it from underneath. When this happens, the shot is almost always from a very steep angle, close to the net.
The box – Penalty box
Brain bucket – A cheap helmet.
Breakaway – When a player has possession of the puck and there are no defenders other than the goalie between him and the opposing goal.
Butterfly – A style of goaltending wherein the goalie tends to drop to their knees to cover the lower half of the net with his or her leg pads.
Breezers – Hockey pants.
Bucket – A helmet.
Bundled – A player being checked hard.


Cage – Metal grid that attaches to the front of a helmet to protect the face.
Cannonading Drive – A very hard slap-shot taken from the point.
Catcher or Catch glove – The webbed glove that the goaltender wears on the hand opposite the stick. (Also known as the trapper.)
Center – A forward position whose primary zone of play is the middle of the ice.
Change on the fly – Substituting a player from the bench while the game clock is running.
Cherry Picking – When a player stays near their opponent’s defensive zone waiting for an outlet pass in order to receive a breakaway.
Chippy – Using, or characterized by, aggressive, rough play or commission of fouls (e.g., “a chippy player,” “a chippy second period”).
Coast to coast – A solo scoring chance originating in the player’s own defensive zone.
Coincidental penalties – When both teams are assessed an equal amount of penalties at the same time, usually on the same play or incident.
Contract year – The last year of a multi-year contract.
Cookie jar – Top section of the net (e.g., “Put that biscuit right in the cookie jar!”).
Crashing the net – Players head with full steam to the front of the net, into the goalie’s space and/or straight into the goalie. Also known as crashing the crease.
Crease – The blue ice in front of each net.
Cross-checking – The act of checking an opponent with the shaft of the stick held in both hands. This is illegal and earns a minor or major penalty depending on the severity of the infraction.


D to D – A pass from one defenseman to another defenseman, both on the same team.
Dangler – A player who has exceptionally good stick handling abilities and can easily fool opposing players.
Defensive zone – The defending team’s zone as determined by the blue line.
Deke – When a player handles the puck or himself in such a manner to fool the opponent into moving out of position, allowing the player to get past. Originated from the word decoy.
Delay of game – Deliberately causing a stoppage of play; player is penalized with a minor penalty.
Delayed offside – If a player enters the attacking zone ahead of the puck but does not touch it, the play is offside but no whistle is blown immediately, thus creating a delayed offside. When all players from the offside team leave their offensive zone and go into the neutral zone the linesman cancels the offside infraction. Conversely, if the offending team touches the puck before leaving their offensive zone the whistle is blown for the offside infraction.
Delayed penalty – When a penalty is called, the referee will raise his or her arm to indicate that one is being called, but if the team who committed the infraction is not in control of the puck, no whistle will be blown until a player from the offending team controls the puck.
Delayed whistle – An official waits to blow his whistle, usually due to a delayed offside or delayed penalty call.
Dirty – Physical play in hockey, typically consisting of disallowed techniques such as elbowing, high-sticking, cross-checking, and/or fighting.
Dipsy Doodle – A fancy deke which fools the opponent, allowing the puck handler to sneak past ‘in style’.
Dive – When a player embellishes contact made against him in order to entice the referee into calling a penalty against the opposition; however sometimes this ends up in a “unsportsmanlike conduct” penalty being called against the embellishing player.
Donkey Kong – When a goaltender is on his stomach and the shot is going over the goaltender’s body, the goaltender bends both legs up to try to block the puck in mid air and from going into the net (usually used in the most desperate situations).
Driftwood – A broken stick that remains on the ice until the next stoppage of play.
Drop pass – When a player passes the puck behind himself to a teammate.
Dropping the mitts – Fighting 
Dummied – When a player is hit hard and lays on the ice without moving for at least 3 seconds.
Dump and chase – An offensive strategy used to get the puck over the opposing team’s blue line and into the corners where players can race to get it, thereby moving the play into the attacking zone.
Dust – A player or team with no skill. Sits on the bench and collects dust. For example: “Ryan sits on the bench the whole game”


Empty net goal – A goal scored when the opposing goalie is not on the ice.
Enforcer – A player quick to fight who defends his teammates against violent members of the other team.
Extra attacker – A player who has been substituted for the team’s goaltender on the ice.


Faceoff – The method used to begin play at the beginning of a period or after a stoppage of play. The two teams line up in opposition to each other. One player from each team attempts to gain control of the puck after it is dropped by an official between their sticks onto a “face-off spot” on the ice .
Face wash – When a player rubs his hockey glove over the face of an opponent.
Fan – When a player misses the puck when attempting to play or shoot it.
Fighting strap – A strap inside the back of the jersey that loops through the belt, so that the jersey may not be pulled over a player’s head during a fight.
Filthy – Something that is unreal or referring to an amazing play or style
Fire Wagon Hockey- is a style of play that is personified by hi-tempo offensive transition. featuring end-to-end rushes, exciting scoring chances, and wide-open play.
Fisticuffs – A fight.
Five on three – Five on three (also called two-man advantage) is when one team has had two players sent to the penalty box. This leaves the opponent with five skaters (i.e., not including the goaltender) to penalized team’s three. The team with the advantage has a very good chance of scoring during this period of play.
Five on five – Full strength
Five-hole – The gap between a goaltender’s legs. (the other four are the four corners of the net)
Flop – When the tongue of the skate is bent, 90 degrees or more, at the ankle, i.e. Sean Avery has the filthiest flop in the show.
Flow – The swift act of dangling on the rush, or a player’s hair coming out of the back of their helmet, i.e. Jaromir Jagr’s got some filthy flow.
Forechecking – Checking in the offensive zone in order to gain control of the puck and set up a scoring opportunity.
Freezing the puck – The act of trapping the puck so it cannot be played.
Full strength – Full strength (also called 5-on-5) refers to when both teams have five skaters and one goaltender on the ice.
Gate – Penalty box.
Garbage goal – A goal that takes little talent to score. Most such goals are scored from right in front of the net, often when the goaltender is out of position. Phil Esposito andWayne Gretzky both had reputations for scoring garbage goals.
Gino – Another term for a goal
Goal – A goal is scored when the puck crosses completely over the goal line within the goal frame.
Goal line – The line that the puck must completely cross in order to be considered a goal.
Goon – Enforcer (usually refers to an enforcer that plays for the other team).
Gong Show – 1) A player that usually is above the average size and thinks he is the best player out on the ice, but really is awful (refer to bender). 2) A game that devolves into a series a fights and altercations, often with numerous players being thrown out of the game.
Gordie Howe hat trick – A Gordie Howe hat trick is when one player scores a goal, notches an assist and gets into a fight all in the same game (a natural Gordie Howe hat trick occurs when a player does all three in one period.
Greasy – As in a ‘greasy goal’ or a ‘greasy win’ that is not pretty, but gets the job done through hard work.
Gretzky’s office – The area behind the net, made known by Wayne Gretzky for his ability to set up and score goals from there.
Grinder – Hockey grinder


Hand pass – The act of passing the puck using one’s hand. This is legal inside a team’s defensive zone, but illegal in the neutral zone and attacking zone, even if the pass originates from another zone.
Hash marks – The straight lines from the faceoff circles in front of both nets. Used to line up faceoffs.
Haymaker – A fighting fist swing coined from hockey fights, where you swing your fist in a wide arc starting behind you and coming wide around with a straight arm to catch the opponent from the side.
Hat-trick – When one player scores three goals in one game.
High stick – The act of hitting a player in the head or shoulders with a stick. Also the act of hitting the puck in the air above the height of the top goal pipe (4′).
Hip checking – Using the hip to knock an opponent against the boards or to the ice.
Home-ice advantage – The ability to make the last line change.
Hockey bag – a duffel bag for hockey equipment. (that usually stinks to high heaven)
Hooking – Using a stick to hold or slow down a player (illegal).
Howitzer – A very fast slap shot.
Hoser – In pre-Zamboni days, the losing team had to hose the ice down with water.


Icing – Icing occurs when a player shoots the puck across both the center red line and the opposing team’s goal line without the puck going into the net or being able to be touched by an opposing player in their neutral or defensive zones. If an offensive player touches the puck first after it crosses both the red line and the goal line, icing is negated. When icing occurs, a linesman stops play. Play is resumed with a faceoff in the defending zone of the team that committed the infraction (with the team that committed the infraction being unable to make a line change during the stoppage).
Iron – Another term for the post or crossbar.


Jock – A jock (or for females, a jill) are simple devices used to protect the genitalia of an ice hockey player.
Jersey, Jersied, Jerseying – In a hockey fight, pulling the opponent jersey over their head so they are stuck inside the jersey while you continue to fight.
Jibbs – the teeth
J-shot – a quick pull with the puck than snap-shot


Laser – A hard, accurate shot.
Laying on the lumber – Slashing.
Left wing – Winger.
Left wing lock – The left wing lock is a defensive ice hockey strategy similar to the neutral zone trap. In the most basic form, once puck possession changes, the left wing moves back in line with the defensemen. Each defender (including the left winger) play a zone defense and are responsible for a third of the ice each. Since there are normally only two defensemen, this tactic helps to avoid odd man rushes.
Light the lamp – Scoring a goal.
Line brawl – A series of fights involving most, or all, players on the ice at the same time.
Long change – In the second period, the goaltenders change ends, meaning that the players’ bench is closer to the offensive zone rather than the defensive zone. The “long change” can be a factor when a tired line is stuck in the defensive zone and cannot come off due to the increased distance to the bench.
Long side – The side of the goal furthest from the shooter.


Man advantage – When one team is penalized, and one of its players sent to the penalty box, the second team maintains a man advantage for the duration of the penalty (Major penalty) or until a goal is scored (Minor penalty). If two penalties are called on one team there will be a two man advantage. If more than two penalties are called on one team the man advantage is limited to two men.
Man on – A warning from teammates to a player that an opposing player (that he may be unaware of) is near him. Usually given in loose puck situations.
Murphy dump – The technique of clearing the puck out of the defensive zone by lifting it high above the oppositions heads, with it dropping before reaching the opposing goal line. (popularized by Larry Murphy while with the Pittsburgh Penguins.)


Natural hat-trick – A player scores three goals in a row without any player from either team scoring in between them, also when three goals are scored by one player in one period.
Neutral zone trap – A defensive strategy focused on preventing the opposing team from proceeding with the puck through the neutral zone (the area between both blue lines) and attempting to take the puck from the opposing team.


Odd man rush – When a team enters the attacking zone and outnumbers the opposing players in the zone.
Offensive zone – Attack zone.
One timer – The act of shooting the puck directly off a pass without playing the puck in any way.


Paddle – The wide portion above the blade of a goalie’s stick.
Penalty box – The area where a player sits to serve the time of a given penalty, for an offense not severe enough to merit outright expulsion from the contest (sometimes called the sin bin or bin).
Pipes – The goal posts. The phrase ‘between the pipes’ usually refers to the player playing the position of goalie.
Playmaker – A fast player who usually scores more assists than goals. A Playmaker has the speed and balance to make plays, and frequently relies on a sniper to finish them. (e.g. Joe Thornton)
Playoff beard – The superstitious practice of a hockey player not shaving off his facial hair during the playoffs, consequently growing a beard.
Plus-minus – A hockey statistic that can apply to a player or an offensive or defensive line indicating whether they were on the ice when the opposing team scored (a minus) or on the ice when their team scored (a plus).
The point – A player in the opponent’s end zone at the junction of the blue line with the boards is said to be at the point.
Poke checking – Using the stick to poke the puck away from an opponent.
Pond hockey – A form of outdoor hockey similar to shinny. A fan might state that their team ‘looks like they’re playing pond hockey’ if the players are not displaying the heart or concentration upon the game that their elite professional level demands.
Power forward – A power forward is a large, muscular offensive player (6’0″ – 6’5″, 210 to 240 pounds), with the mobility to track a puck to the corners of the rink, the physical toughness required to dig it out, and the puck-handling skills to get it back to anyone in front of the net.
Powerplay – A powerplay occurs when one team has more players on the ice than the other team as a result of penalties assessed to the shorthanded team.
Puck bunny – A puck bunny is a female ice hockey fan, often one whose interest in the sport is primarily motivated by sexual attraction to the players rather than enjoyment of the game itself.
Pull the goalie – Removing the goalie from the ice in order to temporarily replace him with an extra skater (attacker). This usually occurs in the final minutes of the game when a team is behind by 1 or 2 goals and can be surprisingly effective for a last ditch effort.
Pylon- A player with little quickness, or a player who is standing still when an opposing player goes by him with the puck.


Quarterback – Generally, an offensive defensemen that plays one of the points on the power play, and is adept at skating and handling the puck.
Quick whistle – A stoppage in play that occasionally occurs when an on-ice official view of the puck is obstructed while the puck is still moving or playable but the official stops the play with a whistle. The most common example of this is a goaltender appearing to have trapped the puck underneath his catcher, yet the puck is still freely moving and within legal striking distance of the opposing players. The official will whistle the play “dead” with the puck still visible to others. This often draws an unfavorable reaction from hometown crowds when the whistle negates a perceived scoring chance for the home team.


Rearguard – A defenseman.
Rebound – A rebound occurs when the puck bounces off a goalie, a player, or the net (or occasionally, the back boards) after a shot on goal.
Referee’s crease – The semi-circular area at the red line along the scorer’s bench into which a player may not follow a referee.
Ringing the pipe – A hard shot that squarely hits the goal post or crossbar and makes a ringing sounds. Note; this is not scored as a shot on goal.
Rink rat – A pond hockey or shinny player that always seems to be around to play in a pick-up game. Also, a father of a youth hockey player who always attends every game, even if it’s not his own son’s. Is often known well by both the players and parents.
Right wing – Winger.
Ripple the twine – Scoring a goal.
Rocked – Big hit.
Roofie – Shooting high on a goalie that always drops to his pads; shooting for the “roof” of the net.
Roughing – Penalty for aggressively interfering with another player (punch, unnecessary hits etc.)


Sauce – The amount of force put into a shot or pass (e.g., “I put a lot of sauce on that pass, didn’t think you would get it!” or “Shoulda put more sauce on that one…). Reference is usually to hot sauce, or mustard, being that they both pack a punch.
Saucer pass – An airborne pass from one player to another. It is called a saucer pass because the puck resembles a flying saucer in mid air.
Saucer – A saucer pass.
Scrap – A fight.
Screened shot – A shot that the goaltender cannot see due to other players obscuring it.
Shadow – When a player is assigned to ‘shadow’ or follow a player (usually of exceptional skill) to hamper their impact upon the game.
Shaft – The long part of the stick that is straight and is held by the player.
Shorthanded – A team is said to be shorthanded when they have fewer players on the ice than the opposing team as a result of penalties.
Shortside – The side of the goal closest to the shooter.
Shot on goal – A shot that will enter the goal if it is not stopped by the goaltender. A shot on goal must result in either a goal or a save (shots that hit the main pipes of the goal are not counted as shots).
Show – Term for the pros/NHL.
Shutdown – A defensive play that stops an offensive play.
Shutdown player – A player skilled at defensive play.
Shutdown pair – Two forwards or defensemen working together, fundamentally to stop the opposing teams offense players.
Sin bin – The penalty box.
Sieve – Refers to a goalie who allows a lot of goals.
Slapshot – A slapshot is a hard shot, usually with a big wind up, wherein the player bends his stick on the ice and allows the energy stored in bending the stick to launch the puck forward.
Slashing – Striking an opponent’s arms or lower body with the hockey stick. Usually a penalty is incurred.
Slew foot – Sweeping or kicking out a player’s skate or tripping them from behind, causing them to fall backwards.
Slot – Slot is the area on the hockey rink directly in front of the goaltender between the face-off circles on each side.
Slow whistle – When an official is slow to blow his whistle compared to when the whistle would be blown under similar circumstances.
Snap shot – A snap shot is a like an abbreviated slap shot. The purpose of the snap shot is to combine the main advantages of the wrist shot (shot accuracy and quick delivery) and the slap shot (puck speed). The stick should start at your hip when shooting.
Sniper – A player with a powerful, accurate shot skilled at finishing plays. Snipers frequently score more goals than assists. Snipers can be either forwards or defensemen.
Snow Angel – When the goalie is lying on his back in his crease, and moves his arms to his sides and legs together to try and trap the puck, in case it’s in one of those areas.
Spin-o-rama – A phrase coined by sportscaster Danny Gallivan to describe a player completing several tight circles with the puck fully under control of his stick, eluding pursuing opponents who cannot keep up or intercept the player.
Split the D – When an offensive player confuses or out maneuvers two defensemen in order to get between them.
Stack the pads – A save wherein the goaltender drops to one side and makes the save with his leg pads.
Stands on his head – When the goaltender makes many spectacular saves, usually resulting in a win for his team.
Standup goalie – A goalie that often stays on their skates when a player shoots, as opposed to a a butterfly goalie.
Stay-at-home defenseman – A defenseman who plays very defensively. He doesn’t skate with the puck toward the offensive zone very often but will look to pass first. Usually the last player to leave his defensive zone.
Stick checking – Using the stick to interfere with an opponent’s stick.
Stickhandling – The act of controlling the puck with one’s stick, especially while maneuvering through opponents.
Stoned – A goalkeeper makes a great save and the shooter is “stoned”.
Stripes – Referees.
Style – Refers to whether the player has a good setup of equipment. For example “Man you got some dirty style going on”. ; Sweep checking : Using the stick in a sweeping motion to knock the puck away from an opponent or deter him from passing.
Sunburn – When the red goal indicator light lights up a lot behind a goalie, he gets sunburned.
Shnedberdoink – A clapper that hits the crossbar and deflects down and past the goal line.


T-bar – The front, top bar on the frame of a hockey net, running perpendicular to the posts.
Tag up – The act of returning to the neutral zone after a delayed offside is signaled by the linesman.
Tilly – A fight. See “Fisticuffs”
Toe drag – Dragging the puck along the ice with the end (toe) of the stick blade on the ice as opposed to pushing with the bottom edge.
Top shelf – The top section of the net. Also referred to as “Top Ched” or “Top Cheese”
The trap – Also called the “neutral zone trap”, is a defensive-style hockey strategy in which a team loads up the neutral zone with players so that the opposing team has a difficult time crossing the blue line and gaining the zone. It is considered to be very boring to watch.
Trapezoid – In the NHL, the trapezoidal area behind the goal line and net where the goaltender may touch the puck. A minor penalty (delay of game) is assessed if the goaltender plays the puck behind the goal line outside of the trapezoid.
Trapper – Goalie’s Catch glove.
Trolley tracks – Coined by Don Cherry, the trolley tracks are two ‘lanes’ in the neutral zone, located midway between the center face-off dot and the boards, spanning from blue-line to blue-line. They are named this due to the common occurrence of a forward receiving a pass from his defense-man during breakout, and then getting completely demolished by an opposing player, usually because they are still looking back at where the pass had originated. This pass is often referred to as a suicide pass. It can be blamed on either the defense-man for setting up such an obvious pass, or the player receiving the pass for not keeping their head up.
Turnbuckle – The padded post where the glass begins at the end of the players’ bench.
Twig – A player’s stick.
Two-way forward – A forward who handles the defensive aspects of the game as well as the offensive aspects..


Undressing – The act of the puck carrier displaying exceptional skill in out-maneuvering the defender, usually in a 1 on 1 situation with the last defender. “He undresses the defenseman and walks in on goal!”


Video goal judge – An off-ice official who reviews a goal by video instant replay.  Note that all replays are reviewed at a central office in Canada.


Waffle – The goalie’s blocker. This term stemmed from the visual appearance of the blocker in the pre-modern ice hockey equipment era (also refer to waffle-boarding).
Waffle-boarding – A quick save with the goalie’s blocker, usually a sideways-sweeping motion.
Wagon -A washed up, typically post 20′s player. Past their prime but haven’t hung up the skates yet.
Wheel – Typically referred to when there is time and space to skate with the puck, sometimes is said to tell someone to skate faster.
Wheeling – The act of trying to pursue girls outside the hockey rink.
Wheels – A player’s skates.
Whole Sale  -When every single player from a team changes on the fly (except the goalie). Also could be used with just one single offensive line changing.
Winger – A winger is a forward position of a player whose primary zone of play on the ice is along the outer playing area. A right winger is responsible for the right-hand side of the ice and a left winger is responsible for the left-hand side.
Wrap around – Scoring from behind the net.
Wrist shot – A type of shot that involves using arm muscles (especially those in the wrist and forearm) to propel a puck forward from the open-faced, concave part of the blade of a hockey stick.


X-ray vision – a goalie making a save when being screened. “The goalie used x-ray vision to save the shot from the point”


Yard sale – When a player gets knocked to the ice and loses a piece of his equipment; or when a team wins an important game and throws their hockey gloves/sticks/helmets all about the ice.


Zamboni – Ice resurfacer.
Zone – One of three zones on the ice, the offensive zone, the neutral zone and the defensive zone.
Zebra – Referee.