Hockey Talk 101: Popular Hockey Terms & Lingo

A-D | E-J | K-R | S-Z

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At the heart of hockey is the sense of community that surrounds a game and the teams who play. Whether it’s wearing your team sweaters or tailgating for home games, the camaraderie behind the culture of supporting your team is the defining factor that makes being a fan such a sweet experience. The mark of the biggest and loudest fans is usually identified with the slang they use to describe the game. Without sufficient experience or exposure to the community, a new fan might be clueless to the descriptions being provided. Luckily, we’ve put together this guide to help NHL fans get caught up on popular hockey slang and lingo.

Popular Hockey Slang

A – D

Apple: an assist (the pass that leads to a goal)
Bar Down: a goal that results in an elevated shot that strikes the top crossbar and deflects down, known for the unique “ding” from the strike
Barn: the hockey arena or rink where the game is played
Bender: a player whose ankles bend while they’re skating
Beauty/Beautician: a beloved player known for both skill and charisma
Biscuit: the puck
Blades of Steel: a hockey video game released in 1987 that was known for its fast-paced action and especially the fights
Bottle Rocket: a shot (or goal) that knocks the goalie’s water bottle off the back of the net
Brawl: a fight
Breakaway: when a player has a one-on-one opportunity on the open ice against the goalie
Breadbasket: the goalie’s chest/torso
Brick Wall: describes a goalie who makes countless saves
Bucket: a helmet
Cage: a helmet
Celly: a celebration after a goal is made
Charlestown Chiefs — the team name and mascot from the 1977 cult hockey comedy film Slap Shot
Cheap-shot Artist: a player known for making purposefully dirty plays
Cheese: a goal at the “top shelf” of the net
Cherry picker: a player who stands behind the opposing defense for a breakaway scoring opportunity
Chiclets: a hockey player’s teeth
Chirp: to talk trash
Clapper: a slapshot
Coast-to-coast: taking the puck from one side of the rink to the other
Dangle: a term used to describe when a player makes moves to fake out a goalie or opposing player — also called a deke (or decoy)
Disk: the puck (see Biscuit)
Duster: a player who doesn’t play much (therefore collecting dust on the bench)
Dusts it Off: when a defender steals the puck and then quickly outlets it forward to a teammate

E – J

Egg: a game that ends 0–0
Enforcer: an unofficial role in ice hockey, an Enforcer is a player who is there to protect their teammates, often by getting into fisticuffs with opposing players
Face wash: when a player intentionally sticks their open palm into an opponent’s face; similar to a stiff arm
Fan: to shoot the puck and miss it entirely
Filthy: to positively connote the skill of a pass, shot or hit
Fishbowl: a helmet with a full plastic face mask instead of a cage; sometimes used as an insult to call a player “soft”
Five-hole: the space between a goalie’s legs, usually used to describe a low shot that goes in between a goalie’s legs
Flamingo: to describe the pose a player makes when they lift a leg to get out of the way of an oncoming shot
Flash the Leather: when a goalie (or defender) makes an impressive glove save
Flow: to describe a player’s long hair
Geno/Gino: a goal
Gongshow: a game that is chaotic from fights, penalties, goals or any combination of the three
Goon: a player who’s known specifically as a fighter or enforcer
Gordie Howe Hat Trick: when a player has a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game
The Great One: Wayne Gretzky, statistically the best hockey player of all time
Greasy: a goal that’s neither smooth nor elegant, and often made in such a chaotic manner that the scorer might not even realize they made the goal
Grinder: a player who is more known for making effort plays than skill plays
Grocery Stick: a player who sits on the bench between defenders and forwards
Hands: to describe a player that displays skill with possession of the puck and can fake others out effortlessly
Handcuffed: to describe a player who has been denied every scoring chance by the goalie or defender
Hanging from the Rafters: retired jerseys are often referred to as “hanging from the rafters” as they are hung from the rafters of their home arena
Holy Grail: the nickname of the Stanley Cup®
Howitzer: a fast slap shot
Hoser: an insult to your opponent to call them a loser
Journeyman: a player who has played for a large number of teams
Junction (Junk): the corner of the goal where the crossbar and the posts meet

K – R

Knuckle Puck: a shot that knuckles and curls in the air
Kronwalled: an impressive hit by a defenseman, named after star Niklas Kronwall
Lamplighter: a proficient goal scorer
Laser Beam: a hard shot on a straight line
Laying Lumber: the term for using one’s stick to harass an opponent
Lettuce: to describe a player’s long hair
Lip Lettuce: to describe a player’s mustache
Light the Lamp: scoring a goal
Lumber: a stick
Mitts: a player’s gloves
Muffin: a shot that wavers back and forth in the air all the way to the net
Muzzy: a mustache
ODR: outdoor rink
Office: the area behind the goal where the goalie will place the puck after a save to switch possession
Paint: the crease in front of the goal
Peanut Butter: a goal scored on the top shelf of the net
Pigeon: an insult to describe a player who can’t score on his own and relies on others to send him the puck
Pillows: a goalie’s knee pads
Pipe: the goal post
Pinch: an action by the defenseman to move into the offensive zone to keep the puck inside the zone
Pond: when players play in an outdoor game
Plug: to describe an ineffective player
Plumber: a player who is known for doing all the dirty, gritty work to win
Pylon: a slow defender
Ripple the Mesh: another term for scoring a goal
Roof: the top shelf of the goal
Rubber: the puck

S – Z

Salad: to describe a player’s short but nice head of hair
Shinny Hockey: to describe a game of pickup hockey, typically played on frozen lakes
Sieve: a goalie who lets a lot of goals through
Sin-bin: the penalty box
Slew-footing: a term used to describe when a player uses his leg or foot to knock or kick an opposing player’s feet from under him
Snow job: when a player intentionally carves on the ice in front of the goalie, covering him in ice
Spitting Chiclets: when a player spits out his teeth after being hit
Sweater: a hockey jersey
Tape-to-tape: an effective, precise pass from one teammate to another
Tic-tac-toe: to connote a quick series of three passes that lead to a goal
Top shelf: the top level of the goal
Twig: a player’s stick
Uncork: to shoot the puck with extreme velocity
Wheels: used to describe a fast skater
Where Mama Keeps the Good Stuff: a phrase to describe a goal scored at the top shelf, aka “Where Mama Hides the Cookies”
Wraparound: when a player tries to skate behind the goal and sneak the puck in the other side in a swift motion
Yard Sale: to describe a player who loses equipment on the ice, usually after a big hit
Yawning Cage: a wide-open net to shoot a goal at
Zebra: the referee

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