The Ultimate Guide To Hockey Slang

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“All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.”

That came straight from the mouth of Gordie Howe, himself.

Since then, the game has transformed in almost every way imaginable. Players from overseas are ultimately bilingual, trilingual, quadrilingual or something even more impressive. But on the ice, your native tongue is replaced with slang, a whole other language of its own.

Slang, of course, stems from excluding outsiders by using words and phrases only those on the “in” know. That means you’re here for a reason.

Maybe you want to be on the “in” and understand more of what your favorite players and announcers are actually saying. Maybe you’re a parent and you just want to know what your kid and his team are blathering about half the time. Maybe you want to know what your team is blathering about.

Well, whatever brought you here, below you’ll find the guide to some of hockey’s most common slang and terminology. Enjoy. 

A

Apple: an assist

B

Bar down: when the puck goes in the net off the bottom of the crossbar

Barn: an arena rink

Barnburner: a high-scoring game

Bender: a badly skating player whose ankles bend beneath him

Beauty: a pretty play 

Biscuit: the puck

Bottle rocket: when a goal breaks the goalie's water bottle

Breakaway: when a player has the puck and an open skating lane to the net with no one in front of him

Bucket: a helmet

C

Celly: a celebration after a goal

Cheese: the top shelf of the net (see, top cookies)

Chel: the EA Sports NHL video game

Cherry picker: a player who stands behind the opposing team's defense in hopes for a breakaway

Chiclets: teeth

Chirp: when you talk trash to opposing players

Clapper: a slapshot

Coast to coast: taking the puck all the way down the ice

Crossbar: the post that runs along the top of the net

D

Dangle: a deke

Dirty: used to describe an incredible deke or pass (see, filthy)

Duster: a player who doesn’t play much and “collects dust” on the bench

F

Face wash: when you shove your glove into an opponents face

Filthy: also used to describe an incredible deke or pass

Fishbowl: a full face shield

Five-hole: the area between a goalie’s legs

Flamingo: when a player lifts his leg to avoid blocking a shot

Flow: long hair (see, lettuce)

G

Garbage: referring to the puck when there is a rebound, picking up the garbage means putting the rebound in the net

Gino: a goal

Gongshow: when a game that is getting out of control, possibly from the score, a lot of fights or big hits

Goon: a player whose only talent is fighting, usually to keep the teams best players safe

Gordie Howe hat trick: when a player scores a goal, adds an assist and gets in a fight in one game

Grinder: a lesser-skilled player who is meant to hit and agitate the opposing players 

Grocery stick: the player who separates the offense from the defense on the bench

H

Hands: refers to a player who has good stickhandling and often dangles opposing players

Hoser: another term for loser, derived from the when the losing team would hose down the ice before the invention of the Zamboni

J

Junction: the corner of the goal where the crossbar and post meets (also referred to as the “junk”)

K

Kronwalled: a big hit a defenseman lays on a player attempting to carry the puck out of his zone, derived from Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall who is famous for this type of hit

L

Lettuce: hair, including both on the head and facial hair (see, lip lettuce)

Light the lamp: scoring a goal 

Lip lettuce: a mustache

Lumber: a hockey stick, derived from when sticks were made of wood (see, twig)

M

Mitts: hockey gloves

O

ODR: an outdoor rink (see, pond)

Open ice hit: a big hit on that happens away from the boards 

P

Pigeon: a player who can’t score on his own and relies on others to feed him the puck or pick up the garbage 

Pipe: the goal post

Pinch: when a defenseman moves into the offensive zone in an attempt to keep the puck inside the zone

Plug: a useless player, derived from when a removable extension for a composite stick

Playoff beard: when players stop shaving during the playoffs

Point: a defenseman in the offensive zone

Pond: where players play outdoors in the winter

Pylon: a slow defenseman that often gets skated around

S

Sauce: a pass that leaves the ice to make it more difficult for opposing players to intercept

(The) Show: the NHL

Silky: used to describe a smooth occurrence such as a play or a player’s hands 

Stripes: the referee

Sieve: a bad goalie, often referred to as full of holes

Sin-bin: the penalty box

Slot: the high-scoring area in front of the net

Snipe: a perfectly placed shot

Stack the pads: when a goalie lays on his side and puts his pads on top of each other to make a save

Stay at home defenseman: a defenseman who is strong in his own zone but not particularly good in the offensive zone

Stoned: when a goalie makes a great save

Suicide pass: when a player receives a pass that puts him in danger of immediately receiving a hard hit

Sweater: a hockey jersey

T

Tape to tape: a pass that perfectly lands on your teammate’s blade

Tic-tac-toe: refers to a quick passing play that results in a goal

Toe drag: when a player uses the end of his blade to dangle the opposition

Top cookies: top shelf (where grandma hides the cookies)

Trapezoid: the area behind the net where a goalie is allowed to play the puck

Turtle: when a player completely covers himself up as to not be involved in a fight

Twig: a hockey stick, also derived from when they used to be made of wood

W

Wheel: refers to a player's strong skating, in addition to picking up girls

Wraparound: when a player takes the puck around the back of the net and tries to score in one full motion


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