Hockey in Orange Text with Slang written on chalk board

70+ Best Ice Hockey Words and Slang to Know

70+ Best Ice Hockey Words and Slang

I know, I have been there, stepping into the rink and hearing all these new ice hockey words can be overwhelming.  No more just nodding along, pretending you know what ‘icing’ or ‘offsides’ or a ‘hat trick’ is.  And wait till you see your kiddo’s face when you can use these fun slang terms of new hockey words, and slang! Priceless, right?!

So, all you Hockey Parents out there, get ready to dive into this new terminology and fun slang!

We have you covered, so that will have you feeling confident on the rinkside and in the cafe.  Knowledge is power, my friends!  So, bring on the hockey talk!

Ice Hockey Words as Part of the Game and the Culture!

The culture of hockey is the heart of hockey.  With any other culture, comes its own traditions, superstitions and, you guessed it, language!  We will cover 70 + hockey words and terminology that you will run into every day at the rink.  Followed by some distinct hockey slang.  

Before we get into hockey slang, let’s talk about hockey’s unique culture that gives birth to these words.  It is a little of group dynamics and a whole lot of passion – and probably a little too many hours at the rink or frozen pond and some fumes from the Zamboni.

But honestly, this passion is a warm concoction filled with camaraderie, nail-biting tension, epic victories, and heart-wrenching losses.  I have seen my kids go through baseball, soccer, football (this comes pretty close, also), and lacrosse.  And, still, hands down (or gloves down), I have never seen this level of passion in their other sports.  So, just embrace the crazy, and make some noise!

The Basics of Hockey Vocabulary

Understanding the game of Hockey begins with understanding players’ roles, placement on the ice, and calls by both the refs you are sure to hear from other parents and spectators in the rink!  What’s a winger, a defenseman, or a goalie?  Icing’, ‘Offsides’, or ‘That’s a 2 minute, right?’ We’ll break down those basic hockey terms that you absolutely need to know to follow the action on the ice and the hockey game.  Stay tuned till the end….the slang at the bottom is the most fun!

Hockey Slang Featured Image
  1. Attacking Zone: The attacking zone is a special area on the ice that belongs to the other team. It’s where they try to score goals and take control of the game.
  2. Backcheck: when a player (usually the front line or forwards) hustles quickly back to their defensive area to stop the opponent from shooting, as well as protecting the goal net. 
  3. Bender:  I doubt your kids will have one of these for many years.  No, in hockey, Bender refers to our kids whose ankles still bend inward, until they become stronger.  (Our little Bambis).
  4. Blue Line: There are two thick blue lines that help to separate the ice into Zones.  There are three zones. which designate the offensive and defensive zone. Players can’t cross the blue line to enter the offensive zone until after the puck crosses the line or it’s ‘offsides’.
  5. Boarding – a penalty when a player pushes a player or a body check in the boards from behind. 
  6. Bottle rocket:  when a goal breaks the goalie’s water bottle that sits on top of the net. Never to be touched, it sits on top of the Goal Net.  It is the goalie’s way of calming himself or herself after maybe a rough opponent’s play or unfortunately an opponent’s goal.  It has also become the object of opponents to knock the Goalies water bottle from the top of the net and fly off into the cold air. 
  7. Center (player): Participates in the face-off in the center.  They stand in the front line between the right and left-wingers, 
  8. Center/Centre Line: The red line that cuts the ice into 2 parts. 
  9. Charging: A minor or major penalty aggressively taking more than two strides toward an opposing player.  
  10. Checking/Check/Body Check:  Not a penalty if used correctly and within the rules of play respective of league and age.  According to USA Hockey:  a body check should only be delivered in an effort to gain possession of the puck and not in a purposeful intimidating or aggressive act.  A body check can only be from the side or front of the body and between the trunk (hips to shoulders).  If a check is outside the rules of the situation, body part, and intention, then a penalty can be delivered. 
  11. Defenseman/ Defensive Player: one of two players that stand behind the front line in an effort to protect the net from the other team scoring. 
  12. Defensive Zone:  Where is YOUR goalie (WHICH NET)?  That area from that where your Goalie is in their net to the first blue line is the defensive zone (area).  The opposing team is trying to conquer and get a goal.  Your team must protect and defend the net.
  13. Face-off Circle: The “dots” or “face-off spots” are important places on the ice in hockey. There are four of them in the end zones, and they have little lines called hash marks on them. These hash marks show players where they should stand during a face-off. The game begins at center ice, and face-offs also happen there after a goal or at other times decided by the referee.77deedf7 4883 4bff b28d 92fcc457ffaf
  14. Five-hole – the area in between the Goalies’ pads where a goal can be obtained. 
  15. Forecheck:  the responsibility of the forwards to hustle into the opposing defensive zone to get to the puck. 
  16. Forward: An offensive player then plays the “forward line” consisting of three players.  The forward line consists of 2 wingers and one center offensive line.
  17. Front of the net: This may seem pretty basic.  I am not trying to insult your intelligence here, I had to add this, as you will hear this repeatedly from parents behind and next to you screaming to their kiddo or other players, “Front of the Net!!!”.  They feel if they yell this through glass, ice skates on ice, referees, coaches’ voices, and team voices, then the magic will happen…now I am just being sarcastic 🙂
  18. Goal Line: This is the red line near the hockey net.  It runs from side to side of the rink,  It is anchored by the goal poles on each side.dfbdda11 81d0 484a bfe1 13b41423de9161e3b76e ea15 4c53 a5b2 096d1b13872f
  19. Goal Posts: Ice Hockey goal posts are two vertical upright steel posts that are joined with the Crossbar at the top of the net. 
  20. Goalie:  The player in front of the goal net.  They wear a lot of padding, a special goalie helmet, cage, goalie skates, and neck protector.  They also have a glove, a blocker, a jock or jill, and use a thick goalie stick designed to protect the “5 Hole”.
  21. High Stick:  A Minor penalty, when a player raises their stick above the height of the shoulders and makes contact with an opposing player.  
  22. Holding:  A Minor penalty, when a player uses their hands to stop a player or his stick from progressing.  
  23. Hooking/Hook:  Just what it sounds like….a Minor penalty…when a player uses their stick on any part of an opposing player or their stick to tug or “hook” them in an effort to gain positional advantage on an opposing player.  Depending on their age, the player committing the minor penalty will serve either 1.5 or 2 minutes in the penalty box.
  24. Icing – when a player is on his side of the red line, but shoots the puck all the way down the ice and crosses 
  25. Major Penalty: A misconduct penalty. Can also be stacked with another penalty, such as a minor.  The player must sit out for 10 minutes.    
  26. Minor Penalty:  A two-minute penalty (Minor).  That respective team will now play shorthanded, unless the score, then the player can come out of the penalty box.
  27. Neutral Zone:  The center of the ice.  For basics, the ice is divided into three.  the Neutral zone is in the middle between the thick blue lines where the face-offs happen at the beginning of the game and after each goal.  The neutral zone can become very important when optimizing play strategy later. 
  28. NHL: The National Hockey League.  The ‘Major League’ of professional Ice Hockey is the most mainstream in the USA and Canada23c4f124 a411 44a9 948f 0087a053c908
  29. Offensive Zone:  Where your team is going to attack and be on the offense in an effort to score a goal.
  30. Offsides: A whistle and stoppage of play are called when a member of the attacking team takes the puck over the defending team’s blue line.  It is determined by both skates being over the blue line, not the stick.  If both skates are over the blue line before the puck, then offsides is called.  A face-off then takes place just outside that blue line (in the offending player’s defensive zone). 
  31. Penalty Shot: given to a team when the player loses a clear opportunity on a breakaway when the offending team performed a foul.  According to USA Hockey, this must be “anytime a player is fouled from behind, or diagonally from behind an opponent, and is denied a reasonable scoring opportunity during a breakaway. ( )
  32. Possession of the puck: the player who has touched the puck with his or her stick
  33. Power Play: When one team has performed a penalty or penalties resulting in less than five players on the ice for the penalty time.  For example, while the player is serving time in the penalty box, the rest of the team could play one or two people down.  This now provides an advantage to the team with more players.
  34. Powe Play Kill Team or Unit:  a special group of 4 players that are called to perform the penalty kill and defend against the opposing team with more players. 
  35. Pull the Goalie – coach may pull the goalie to allow for an extra player on the ice.  Usually seen when the game is close at the end of the game.  
  36. Red Line: The line right through the middle of the ice from side to side.  It divides the ice rink into two parts – one side with part of the neutral zone and offensive zone, the other with again part of the neutral zone and the defensive zone.189ce4cf 7aa7 48d1 a0be e77402609265
  37. Roughing: Another penalty. Oh boy…where to start? ‘Roughing’ sounds like a playground term, but it actually has distinct definitions due to its intention.  When a player engages physically with an opposing player does not have possession of the puck.  Pick up on a theme here when it comes to penalties: intention, possession of the puck.  Also, roughing penalties may be called for a late check or finishing a check.  If the other team’s player lost or relinquished the puck via a pass or shot on goal, and the opposing team still delivers a body check this will surely result in a penalty call.  Also, player-to-player contact after a whistle to stop play will result in a penalty. 
  38. Slap Shot: slapshot supercharged shots that’ll are also sometimes the more obvious due to the pull back on the stick over the shoulder of the shooter.  Picture this: the player winds up their stick, pulling it back, back, back, like they’re about to launch a rocket.  Younger groups are usually not encouraged to perform this shot until a bit older.
  39. Sniper: A player that scores a lot of goals. 
  40. Stripes:  A referee.  Take mercy on these folks.49d7a256 21fd 4be3 8a0c a3fa82a942b5 
  41. Ten-minute penalty – Uh oh!  This is a “major” infraction, referred to as Misconduct.  The player must sit out for ten minutes.  The opposing team does not get a “power play”, unless there are multiple penalties with minors.  Then, there would be a power play for the designated amount of time your respective leagues designates such as 1.5 minutes or 2 minutes.  Depending on the penalty, there could be a suspension for upcoming games. 
  42. Wing/Winger: The two players that flank the center on the right and left of the front line.  They respectively play the right and left-hand sides of the ice making shots, assisting with shots on goal, and defending the puck.  This front line are also known as “forwards”.
  43. Wrist Shot: To do a wrist shot, you need to place the puck near the middle of the blade, closer to the heel. Then, you roll your back wrist fast and push the puck forward with your bottom hand. When you move the blade, the puck starts spinning as it moves toward the end of the blade.

Hockey Slang: Talk the Talk, (‘eh?).

Popular hockey Slang: We’ll dive into the fun and quirky slang that makes hockey such a unique sport. 

If you really want to immerse yourself into the hockey language, try some of On The Bench Youtube Videos.  These guys drop a lot of lingo and it’s a good chuckle with tongue-in-cheek humor. These guys have a way of stringing the language together in proper reference. 

  1. Apple – an assist in scoring a goal.  One play will pass to another which results in a goal. The initial ‘passer” will receive an ‘apple or assist’.
  2. Barn – The Hockey Arena
  3. Birdcage – the face mask
  4. Biscuit:  The hockey puck! Easy one!!
  5. Bucket:  The helmet
  6. Celly: The celebration you see by the scorer.  The degree of Celly is all relative.  (No Celly if the team is up by many points, or this is just in bad taste). 
  7. Chicklets: teeth
  8. Chirp/Chirpie/Beak: Talk trashing while on the ice.  A verbal mental move by the opponents to throw off the opponent’s game.  Insults, one-line jokes, quite funny to the quite crass will get dropped at the face-off, pretty much anywhere they can get away with it.
  9. Dangle:  the degree or ability to deke and stick handle the puck with ease and finesse.
  10. Deke: a move that throws off the other play, in a basic attempt to get around him.  For example, moving your body to the right in an attempt to quickly change weight to your left and pass the opponent with the puck.
  11. Dropping the gloves – The gloves drop, and the players are ready to engage in a fight.  
  12. Flow – the long hair or waviness of a hockey player’s hair in an effort to achieve great hockey hair.   ‘Hockey Flow‘ will at times take as much time for your kiddos and teens to work on, as their stick handling and shots.  Don’t be surprised at how often they start to check themselves out in the mirror or carve out time to style the ‘salad’.
  13. Going to The Show: going to the NHL
  14. Gordie Howe Hat Trick – When a player is really busy during one game and scores 1) a goal 2) an assist, and 3) is in a brawl or fight.  Note the difference between a regular Hat Trick.
  15. Hat Trick – three goals in one game
  16. Light the lamp – A goal.  Referencing the red light that would go off when a player scores a goal. 
  17. Mama keeps – (a.k.a) ‘Where Mama keeps the Peanut Butter‘.  Again, a goal is on the top shelf or top part of the goal net.  
  18. Muffin – a sho
  19. Odd Man Rush: when the offensive team outnumbers the defensive team when they are enteringthe attacking zone.(also a name of an Ice Hockey Movie, released in 2020 – you might have missed it during the Pandemic, take a look).
  20. Puck Bunny: A girl or young woman who likes to date hockey players.
  21. Sin Bin: The Penalty box (think time out).
  22. Sniper:  A player that scores with good execution and often. 
  23. Sweater:  A Hockey Jersey
  24. Swiss cheese or Sieve:  A goal tender that allows many goals in. 
  25. Suicide Pass:  a pass executed by one player to another who is in a precarious position, putting them at risk of being hit or dangerously blindsided by an opponent. 
  26. Toe, Drag, Release:  This has been around for a while, but Austen Matthews and more recently Connor Bedard have made this term a skill that many young kids admire today.
  27. Top Cheese or Cheddar (there are a lot of references to cheese in hockey): a puck that goes in right below the cross bar (the top bar) of the hockey net.
  28. Top Shelf: (where the peanut butter is) you guessed it, a goal that goes into the top portion of the net!
  29. Trapezoid: the area behind the net where a goalie is allowed to play the puck that forms a trapezoid shape from the goal posts to the back boards.
  30. Twig:  A hockey stick.  For the more sophisticated:  ‘Lumber’.

The Influence of Hockey Language and Slang of the Game:

Slang, like language bonds players of Hockey.  It is a sociological way of identifying “my people”.  Language and even unique lingo not only strengthens connections between players, coaches, and families.  

Specific culture acts as a social glue that bonds players together and labels those events with special words that only those people know.  It creates a sense of belonging and identity for the group. 

In essence, slang is much more than hockey jargon; it’s a linguistic phenomenon that shapes and drives the culture, community, and very essence of the hockey experience. It brings players together, creating a sense of unity and camaraderie while influencing their play and setting each game apart in its unique way.  

Remember, that you’re not just a spectator, you’re part of the wonderful, wild world of hockey.  You are now part of this culture, as well.  You are an Ice Hockey Mom!  I hope you enjoy not only the game but the entire experience.