122 Hockey Slang Words To Talk Like a Hockey Fan

Posted on April 16, 2024 by Dan Kent
Hockey Slang

Hockey players, coaches and fans are known to be creative with words. A glossary of modern hockey slang helps back up all that creativity.

It's no secret that hockey players are known for their language on the ice. Over the years since hockey was first invented, some fascinating terms have been coined that can have multiple meanings.

For even those who watch hockey regularly, there may be a few terms where the meaning still eludes them. That's why I'm going to break down 122 of the most common hockey slang words today. 

Bookmark this page and refer to it if you ever find yourself out of the loop at the rink, talking to your buddies, or simply watching hockey on television.

Table of Contents

A

Assist: In hockey, an assist is when one player helps set up another player who scores. A player is awarded one point for an assist.

Apple: This is another term which refers to an assist. 

Anchor: Someone on the team who continually makes mistakes, thus weighing down the whole team.

Axed: This term is used when someone is cut from the roster, game, team, etc. 

B

Barn: This is an older term for a hockey rink built in a wooden barn, though it is still used today.

Barnburner: Barnburner refers to a fast-paced and high-scoring game. 

Bag of Milk: This is a trash-talk type of slang some players use to call other players fat. 

Bandaid: This term is reserved for players who are always seemingly getting hurt. 

Banana: This is a hockey stick that has one extreme curve built into it.

Babysitter: When a good player is placed on the line with two players of lower skill, they are sometimes called a babysitter.

Bar Down: A unique term for a shot that deflects off the top bar and straight down into the net; typically a rare shot that is cause for celebration.

Bar North: This is the term used when the puck hits the crossbar and goes straight up into the air. 

Basket: This is just another name for the hockey net

Beaver Tap: When a player taps their stick on the ground to get the attention of the person carrying the puck, this is the term used. 

Beauty: When there is a particularly excellent play, someone displays great hockey skills, or a person simply has a wonderful personality in the game, the term beauty may be used. 

Birdcage: The wired cage attached to someone's helmet that protects their face. 

Big Hit: A simple term for a massive hit on a player.

Biscuit: The puck.

Bottle Rocket: When a shot is hit into the net so hard that it knocks the goalie's water bottle off the net, it is called a bottle rocket. 

Body Check: This may be the most well-known term in hockey and refers to when players make physical contact with other players.

Blow a Tire: This is the term used when a person falls on the ice for seemingly no reason. 

Blue Lines: These are the two blue lines on the ice that mark defensive zones.

Breakaway: When a player gets an open lane straight to the net with nobody defending the area in front of them.

Breakout: When a team is in their defensive zone and moves the puck out into the neutral zone.

Brick Wall: A goalie who seems to be on top of their game and is not letting any shots in.

Bucket: The helmet a player wears on their head.

Butterfly: When a goalie goes down onto both their knees to protect the lower part of the net between their legs.

C

Celly: Another word for a celebration after scoring a goal.

Can Opener: This term is given when a player sticks their leg between the legs of another player and twists it, tripping them and often resulting in a penalty.

Clapper: Just another term for a slapshot.

Chirp: Trash-talking by a teammate, typically directed at an opposing player or team.

Chiclets: Teeth or a lack of teeth.

Coast to Coast: When a player goes all the way down the rink, typically moving around defenders the entire way, and scores a goal.

Crossbar: The steel post running horizontally across the net.

D

Dance: When two or more players begin to fight on the ice.

Denied: A goalie stops a player from scoring a goal that should have been easy. 

Dirty: A term that is, surprisingly, used to describe an outstanding play or action on behalf of a player.

Dish: When one player passes the puck to another.

Duster: Similar to a "benchwarmer,"; a player who does not get much playing time and typically sits on the bench and collects dust.

Dust Off: When a player makes a quick pass, typically a defenseman.

E

Egg: When a hockey match ends 0:0

Empty Netter: This is when a goal is scored after the team pulls their goalie

Enforcer: The person on the team assigned as the fighter or to intimidate the other team

F

Faceoff: This refers to when a play is started, signaled by the referee dropping the puck between two centers.

Face wash: When one player rubs their glove, typically the palm, in the opponent's face.

Fishbowl: When a facemask has a plastic shield attached to it rather than the wiring protecting the face.

Fisticuffs: Another term for a fight on the ice.

Filthy: An excellent play, particularly one that seemed impossible to pull off. 

Five-hole: The specific area that is between a goalie's ankles. 

Flamingo: When the puck is flying at a player's leg, they quickly lift it to dodge the shot.

Flow: A beautiful head of hair on a hockey player that typically flows in the wind as they skate. 

Forecheck: A term used to describe a team that is applying offensive pressure to a team's defensive zone.

G

Garbage: This refers to the puck after it was shot towards the net and missed; it is used in conjunction with 'taking out the garbage' to refer to scoring a rebound.

Gino: When a player scores a goal.

Goaltender: Another term for the goalie.

Goon: Someone on the team who enjoys taking and giving dirty hits and who likes to fight other players. 

Greasy: An ugly goal or a questionable hit on another player.

Gordie Howe Hat Trick: A unique term that describes a player who manages to get a goal, assist, and gets into a fistfight - all in one game!

Grinder: When a player is particularly hard-working and displays a large amount of grit, someone who is always willing to go after the puck no matter what.

Grocery Stick: A term used for a player who sits between the forwards and the defensemen when on the bench.

H

Hatty: Another term for a hat trick, which refers to scoring three goals in the span of just a single game; the name was earned as fans traditionally throw hats on the ice when this occurs.

Hands: When a player is good with their hands on the ice and can stickhandle well.

Hash Marks: Hash marks are the small lines that are attached to the faceoff circles.

Hand Pass: When a player passes the puck using their hands instead of using their stick. 

High Cheese: A goal that is shot and scored just underneath the crossbar.

Hoser: This is an older term in hockey that is used to describe the losing team. 

I

Icing: When a player shoots the puck all the way down the ice from their red line without touching another player.

J

Junction/Junk: This term has a double meaning, though it is most often used to describe the part of the net where the crossbar meets the posts. However, it can also be used to describe a shot that accidentally hits a player in the junk.

K

Keep: This is derived from the word keeper and, as you likely guessed, is another term for the goalie.

Kronwalled: When a defenseman lays a major hit on someone attempting to take the puck out of their zone.

L

Lettuce: Another term for hair that is on a person's head or face; distinct from flow.

Light the Lamp: Scoring a goal; originally coined because of the red light that lights up behind the goal when it is scored. 

Lip Lettuce: As you can likely guess, lip lettuce refers to a player's mustache.

M

Meat Wagon: This is another term for the ambulance that picks up a player injured during a game.

Mitts: These can refer to either the gloves that a player wears or the hands of a player themselves.

Mouthy: This can also have a double meaning in hockey. The first is a mouthguard, whereas the second is when a player starts mouthing off on the ice, typically at the referee. 

Muddy Boots: A term for when a player is skating slowly on the ice rather than moving quickly, giving the appearance that they are "stuck in the mud."

N

Nail: This is another term for a hard check that is performed against another player, but it can also be used to describe a player who is particularly tough.

Natural Hat Trick: Similar to a standard hat trick, a natural hat trick is when a player scores 3 consecutive goals in the same game without being interrupted by any other goals.

Nip: When only a tiny amount of space is open in the goal, and a player manages to score.

O

Odd Man Rush: When the number of players going into the offensive zone outnumbers the defensive players. Typically viewed as an advantage in the game.

ODR: A unique term for an outdoor hockey rink.

Open Ice Hit: When a player is hit hard in open ice.

Old School Player: A term for a player who chooses to use out-of-date equipment or speaks in older terms.

One-Timer: When a player takes a shot right away after the puck is passed to them instead of taking control of it first.

On The Fly: When a shift change occurs in the middle of a play.

Overcooked: Used when a player takes too hard of a shot without gaining control of the puck ahead of time.

P

Packing a Bomb: A term used for a player putting in a dip of chewing tobacco. 

Pads: The protective cushioning players wear when on the ice.

Pest: A player who is a nuisance and a thorn in the side of other players on the ice.

Penalty Box: This special box is reserved for people who must serve their time after committing an infraction.

Pipes: Used to describe the posts of the goal.

Pinch: When one team is attempting to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Typically a defenseman will be the one pinching.

Pillows: Used to describe the padding on the legs of a goalie specifically.

Pigeon: A player who seemingly cannot score on their own and only scores goals if they pass the puck or take out the garbage.

Power Play: When the opposing team is serving a penalty and is a man down. Therefore, the team with a full line-up is at an advantage.

Pond: When a hockey match is played on ice outdoors rather than in an enclosed arena

Puck Luck: When one team is seemingly having incredible luck with how the puck is sliding and bouncing.

Puck Hog: One player on the team who refuses to pass the puck to others or seldom passes the puck. 

Pull the Trigger: Deciding to shoot the puck.

R

Ragdolled: When a player gets hit particularly hard and flies in the air, looking like a rag doll.

Ringing the Iron: A player takes a shot on goal, hits the post, causing a ringing sound.

Rink Rat: Someone who just loves hanging out at the rink all the time, even if they aren't a player on a team.

Road Apple: Another older hockey term that was used to describe frozen horse manure that was used as a puck.

S

Sauce: When a player completes a saucer pass, which is where the puck leaves the ice, typically at a height where it would go over an opponents stick.

Salad: Another term for a hockey player's hair; used interchangeably with lettuce.

Silky: Used to describe a play or movement by a particularly smooth player.

Sin-bin: Another term for the penalty box. 

Stack the Pads: When a goalie lays himself out horizontally, stacking his pads up to make a save. 

Stay-at-Home Defensemen: This refers to a defenseman who is good in his own zone but not offensively.

Suicide Pass: A term for a player who makes a risky pass that immediately sets them up to be hit hard. 

Sweater: Just another name for a hockey jersey.

T

Tape to Tape: When a player makes a perfect pass to another. 

Tender: Yet another term for a goalie in hockey. 

Tic-Tac-Toe: When a series of quick passes between multiple players occurs, most often a series that results in a goal.

Toe Drag: A complicated hockey technique where one player holds the puck out with their stick in an attempt to make a defender lunge at it, only to pull it back at the last second using the toe of their stick.

Top Cheese: This is the top section of the goalie's net between the crossbar and the goaltender's shoulders, sometimes referred to as the top shelf, in reference to where a grandmother would hide cookies.

Turtle: When a fight or hit occurs, and players choose not to engage, they drop into a "turtle" position.

Twig: Just another term for a hockey stick, though it is typically reserved for wooden hockey sticks.

W

Wave Off: This occurs when a referee waves off a goal, meaning it was not good, or they wave off a delayed call. 

Windmill: When a goalie makes a fast glove save, his catching glove looks like a windmill over his head. 

Woody: Another term for a hockey stick, though one that is older and made of wood.

Wrister: A wrist shot.

Y

Yard Sale: When a player gets hit so hard they end up losing some of their equipment

Z

Zebra: A term for the hockey referee.

Start speaking like a hockey player today

You would be forgiven for not remembering all of the above slang the next time you turn on the television, visit the rink, or talk to your hockey buddies.

Just bookmark this page so you have reference next time!

Dan Kent

About the author

Growing up in a hockey hotbed (Calgary, Alberta. And yes, I'm an Oiler fan), I decided to put my love and knowledge of the game to work. I started at five and am still playing today into my early 30s. By acquiring Brave Stick Hockey and rebranding it to Big Shot Hockey in 2023, I plan to teach people about this great game and educate them on the best equipment and history of the game. On a career level, I am in finance, running one of the largest financial websites in Canada, Stocktrades.ca.

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