For many sports fans, ice hockey has its own language. From “dangles” to “dingers,” the slang of this rough-and-tumble game can confuse the uninitiated. If you’re looking to decode the secret language of the rink, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we’ll break down the top 100 slang in ice hockey so you can talk like a pro.
What is Hockey Slang?
Hockey slang refers to the specialized terminology, expressions, and jargon commonly used in ice hockey. These terms are often unique to the sport and are used by players, coaches, announcers, and fans to describe various aspects of the game, strategies, equipment, and player actions.
Top 100+ Hockey Slang/ Terms to Know
Apple: This term refers to an assist. If a player passes the puck to a teammate who then scores, the passing player records an apple on the score sheet.
Biscuit: The puck, the “biscuit,” is the central object of the game.
Boarding: This refers to when one player slams another into the boards surrounding the rink. It is a penalty and is considered a dangerous play.
Bar Down: When a player shoots the puck and it hits the crossbar of the goal and goes into the net, usually considered a skillful and impressive shot.
Barn: Refers to an ice hockey arena or rink, where games are played.
Barnburner: A high-scoring and exciting hockey game with a lot of goals and action.
Bender: A term used to describe a player who has a noticeable curvature or “bend” in their hockey stick blade. It can also refer to a player who skates poorly.
Beauty: A player who is exceptionally skilled and talented on the ice, often used as a compliment.
Blades of Steel: Refers to the blades of ice skates. It’s also the title of a popular hockey video game from the 1980s.
Bottle Rocket: When a player’s shot goes into the top corner of the net and quickly pops out, resembling the trajectory of a rocket in a bottle.
Brawl: A physical altercation or fight between players on the ice, often resulting in penalties for both teams.
Brick Wall: A term used to describe an outstanding goaltender who makes numerous saves and is difficult to score against.
Broadway Blueshirts: A nickname for the New York Rangers, an NHL team.
Bucket: A player’s helmet, also known as a hockey helmet.
Buds: Refers to teammates or friends on the same hockey team.
Buzzer Beater: While not exclusive to hockey, it refers to a goal scored just before the end of a period, often in the final seconds of play.
Chum: The player whose primary job is to stir things up and provoke opponents on the ice.
Chirp: Verbally taunting or trash-talking an opponent or opposing team, often done to get under their skin and disrupt their game.
Cage: Refers to a player’s face mask or cage that protects their face. It is part of the helmet.
Caps: Short for “capital letters,” this term is often used to describe writing in all capital letters, especially in online communication. In hockey, it can refer to the Washington Capitals, an NHL team.
Celly: Short for “celebration.” It describes a player’s celebration after scoring a goal, often involving enthusiastic gestures or actions.
Charleston Chiefs: A reference to the fictional hockey team from the movie “Slap Shot,” known for its rough and unconventional style of play.
Cheap-shot Artist: A player who engages in dirty or unsportsmanlike play, often taking cheap shots at opponents to gain an advantage.
Cheese: Slang for the top corners of the goal, where players often aim their shots to score.
Cherry Picking: When a player stays near the opponent’s goal, waiting for a pass or rebound to score an easy goal while avoiding defensive responsibilities.
Chiclets: Refers to a player’s teeth, often used humorously to describe the appearance of a player’s teeth after taking a hit or a fight.
Chirping: The act of taunting or trash-talking opponents during a game, often done to psych them out or gain a mental edge.
Clapper: Short for “slap shot,” it describes a powerful shot where a player winds up and takes a full swing at the puck.
Coast to Coast: When a player carries the puck from their own end of the ice to the opponent’s end, often evading multiple defenders in the process.
Dirty: Used to describe a player’s aggressive or unsportsmanlike behavior, often involving illegal plays or dirty hits.
Dangle: A skillful and flashy stick-handling move where a player dekes or maneuvers around opponents with the puck.
Denied: When a goaltender makes a great save to prevent a goal, it’s said that they “denied” the opposing team.
Desert Dogs: A nickname for the Arizona Coyotes, an NHL team.
Disk: Another term for the puck, which is used in hockey.
Duster: A player who spends most of their time on the bench as a substitute or rarely sees playing time.
Enforcer: A player whose primary role is to protect their teammates by using physical force and intimidation, often engaging in fights.
Face Wash: When a player rubs their gloved hand or the palm of their glove into an opponent’s face mask or face during a scrum or confrontation.
Fake: A deceptive move or maneuver by a player to trick opponents, such as a fake shot or pass.
Fan (Fanned): When a player attempts to make contact with the puck but misses completely, it’s called “fanning” on the shot.
Filthy: A term used to praise a spectacular or exceptionally skilled play.
Firewagon Hockey: A style of play characterized by a fast-paced, high-scoring game with a lot of offensive action.
Five Hole: The space between a goaltender’s leg pads, often targeted by shooters as a scoring opportunity.
Flamingo: When a player lifts one leg off the ice to avoid blocking a shot, resembling a flamingo’s stance.
Flash the Leather: When a goaltender makes a spectacular glove save, it’s said that they “flashed the leather” because of the impressive glove movement.
Flow: Refers to a player’s long, flowing hair, often seen protruding from the back of their helmet.
Garbage Goal: A goal scored from close range, often resulting from a rebound or a scrum in front of the net.
Gino: A slang term for a goal.
Give-and-Go: A play in which a player passes the puck to a teammate and then quickly receives a return pass, creating a fast and effective offensive move.
Goon: A player whose primary role is to fight and intimidate opponents, often lacking significant offensive or defensive skills.
Goose Egg: Refers to a zero on the scoreboard, indicating that a team has not scored any goals.
Gordie Howe Hat Trick: When a player records a goal, an assist, and a fight in a single game, named after the legendary player Gordie Howe.
Grapes: A nickname for Don Cherry, a prominent and colorful hockey commentator and coach.
Great One: A nickname for Wayne Gretzky, considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Greasy: Used to describe a scrappy or messy goal, often resulting from physical play around the net.
Grinders: Players who excel at hard work, physical play, and defensive responsibilities rather than scoring goals.
Grocery Stick: A slang term for a player who spends a lot of time on the bench, holding their stick like they’re pushing a shopping cart.
Gongshow: A term used to describe a chaotic or disorganized situation, often used to refer to a rough and intense hockey game.
Handcuffed: When a player has limited mobility or is unable to make a play due to an opponent’s tight defense or positioning.
Hanging from the Rafters: Refers to a team retiring a player’s jersey number and hanging it from the arena’s rafters as a sign of honor and recognition.
Hanson Brothers: A reference to the characters from the movie “Slap Shot,” known for their rough and aggressive style of play.
Holy Grail: The Stanley Cup, which is the ultimate goal and trophy in NHL hockey.
Hot Dog: When a player shows off or tries to be flashy, often at the expense of teamwork.
Howitzer: A term used to describe a powerful and hard shot, often referring to a slapshot.
Insurance Goal: A goal scored to provide a team with a comfortable lead, typically late in a game.
Jarring Hit: A hard and impactful body check delivered by a player to an opponent.
Johnny-on-the-spot: A player who is consistently in the right place at the right time, often scoring important goals.
Journeyman: A player who has played for multiple teams over their career and lacks a long-term association with any one team.
Knuckle Puck: A type of shot where the puck flutters or wobbles in the air, making it difficult for the goalie to predict its trajectory.
Lamplighter: A player who scores goals frequently.
Laser Beam: A term used to describe an extremely accurate and fast shot on goal.
Laying on the Lumber: Refers to a player being checked or hit and falling to the ice, often landing on their hockey stick.
Light the Lamp: Scoring a goal, as the red goal light behind the net is illuminated.
Lumber: Another term for a hockey stick.
Manhandle: Physically dominating or overpowering an opponent.
Mitts: Refers to a player’s gloves.
Muffin: A soft or weak shot that is easy for the goalie to stop.
Nail: To deliver a hard and punishing body check.
Nosebleeds: Seats in the upper levels of an arena, far from the action.
Office: The area in front of the opponent’s net, where a player might position themselves to score goals.
Paint: Refers to the goal crease, the area directly in front of the goal where the goalie is positioned.
Pest: A player known for annoying opponents with physical play or trash talk.
Picking his Pocket: Stealing the puck from an opponent.
Pipe: The goalpost.
Pinch: When a defenseman moves up from the blue line into the offensive zone to create scoring chances.
Playoff Beard: The tradition of players growing facial hair during the playoffs as a superstition.
Plug: A derogatory term for a low-skill or unproductive player.
Plumber: A player who performs the gritty, physical work on the ice.
Peanut Butter: a goal scored on the top shelf of the net.
Preds: Short for the Nashville Predators, an NHL team.
Puck Bunny (GF in Hockey): A person, often a fan, who is more interested in dating hockey players than the sport itself.
Puck Has Eyes: When a puck manages to find its way into the net despite numerous obstacles.
Puck Hog: A player who tries to do too much on their own and doesn’t pass to teammates.
Puck Luck: When a team benefits from fortunate bounces or circumstances during a game.
Puckhead: A passionate and dedicated hockey fan.
Pylon: A derogatory term for a slow or ineffective defenseman.
Razor Sharp: Refers to a player who is exceptionally focused and prepared.
Riding the Pine: Sitting on the bench as a healthy scratch, not playing in the game
Right in the Numbers: Hitting an opponent directly in the back, often resulting in a boarding penalty.
Ring it off the Iron: Hitting the goalpost or crossbar with a shot.
Rink Rat: A player who spends a lot of time at the rink, often practicing or playing pick-up games.
Ripple the Mesh: Scoring a goal, as the net’s meshing moves when the puck goes in.
Rob (of a Goal): When a goalie makes an incredible save to deny a scoring opportunity.
Roof: To score a goal by shooting the puck into the top part of the net.
Rubber: Another term for the puck.
Sens: Short for the Ottawa Senators, an NHL team.
Sharpshooter: A player known for their accurate and precise shooting.
Shinny Hockey: A casual and informal version of hockey, often played on outdoor rinks or ponds.
Sick Bay: The area where injured players receive treatment and medical attention.
Sieve: A derogatory term for a goalie who allows a lot of goals.
Sin Bin: The penalty box where players serve time for infractions.
Snow Job: When a goalie intentionally sprays snow into an opponent’s face to disrupt their vision.
Soft Hands: Refers to a player’s ability to handle the puck skillfully.
Spin-o-rama: A flashy move where a player spins 360 degrees while handling the puck.
Stand on His Head: When a goalie makes incredible saves and performs exceptionally well.
Stone Hands: Refers to a player’s lack of skill or ability to handle the puck.
Tic-tac-toe: A sequence of quick, precise passes leading to a goal.
Top Shelf: Scoring a goal by shooting the puck into the upper part of the net.
Turtle: When a player covers up and protects themselves during a fight.
Uncork: Taking a powerful and hard shot.
Wheels: Refers to a player’s speed and skating ability.
Yard Sale: When a player falls and loses their equipment, making it look like a yard sale with gear scattered on the ice.
Yawning Cage: Refers to an empty net with no goalie present.
Zebra: Slang for the referees, who traditionally wear black-and-white striped jerseys.
Whether you’re a seasoned fan or just starting out, understanding ice hockey slang adds a whole new level of appreciation for the sport. From chirping and clapping bombs to biscuits and flow, these above slangs are essential for every hockey fan to know.
So, the next time you’re watching a game and hear a term you don’t understand, refer to this list and impress your fellow fans with your knowledge of hockey talk.