Hockey Terms

There are a lot of words in hockey - all clean of course - but sometimes you cannot tell an offside from an icing or a slash from a trip. Here's an illustrated guide to some terms in Hockey!

  1. Arena: The building where the hockey game takes place
  2. Assist: A point given to the player who passes the puck to the goal scorer; up to two assists can be awarded for a goal
  3. Back Check: The forwards come back to help the defensemen stop the opposing team’s offensive attack
  4. Back Door: In the offensive zone the area that is at the side of the net opposite to where the play is taking place. A player will score from the ‘back door’.
  5. Back-up Goaltender: The goalie who is not playing in the game and is sitting on the bench with the players while the game is on.
  6. Bench Minor: A 2-minute penalty given to the coaches or the players on the bench.
  7. Blind Pass: When a player passes the puck to a teammate without looking where that player is
  8. Blocker: Piece of goaltender equipment that is a type of glove with a large paddle on the frontside used with the hand that is holding the goal stick
  9. Blue Line: The two large blue lines on the ice rink that help determine whether a player is offside; the blue lines separate the neutral zone with the offensive/defensive zones.
  10. Body Check: When another player uses his shoulder to hit another player (along the boards or in the open ice)
  11. Breakaway: A play that develops where a player gets past all of the defensive players and goes in on the goalie one-on-one
  12. Breakout: The system a team uses to move the puck out of the defensive zone
  13. Carom: The term used for a puck that bounces off the boards or another player on the ice
  14. Centerman: One of the five positions on the ice and the player who lines up in the middle of the three forwards
  15. Changing on the Fly: When a player substitutes off the ice for another player on the bench while the play is still happening
  16. Charging: A penalty that involves traveling a certain distance, usually 3 strides or more, before a violent check to an opponent.
  17. Composite Sticks: Sticks that are made out of the new type of low-weight high performance materials versus the traditional wood sticks
  18. Cycle the Puck: The strategy of offensive players passing the puck amongst themselves in the corner of the offensive zone while trying to create a scoring opportunity
  19. Defensemen: The two players on the ice who are charged primarily with defending against the other team from taking shots and scoring on their goalie
  20. Defensive Zone: The area from the blue line to the goalie that a team is trying to defend; this is the opposing team’s offensive zone
  21. Deflection: Where after a shot is taken the direction of the puck is either intentionally or unintentionally changed due to hitting a stick or a player
  22. Center (C): The offensive player who lines up in the middle of the three forwards
  23. Defense (D): The two players on the ice who are charged primarily with preventing the other team from taking shots and scoring on their goalie 
  24. Forward (F): The three players whose primary role is to attack offensively to score goals, made up of one center and two wingers.
  25. Goaltender (Goalie): The position that plays in front of the net, responsible for stopping the opponent from scoring
  26. Wings (LW & RW): Refers to the two wingers (left and right) who play as forwards, along with the centerman
  27. Deke: When a player with the puck uses a move or series of moves to move around an opposing player or goalie
  28. Delayed Offside: When a player is in the offensive zone when a puck is shot in but the linesman does not blow the whistle for an offside, and instead allows the player to skate back past the blue line to nullify the offside
  29. Delay of Game: A 2-minute minor penalty given to a team for causing the game to stop or be delayed outside of the allowable rules: shooting the puck out of the ice in your defensive zone, covering the puck with your hand on the ice etc
  30. Dive: When a player has not been touched or barely been touched by another player and they use that as an embellishment to try and trick the referee into calling a penalty
  31. Down Low: The area that is behind the goaltender and goal line in the offensive zone
  32. Draw: Another name for a faceoff 
  33. Drop Pass: When a player, while skating forward, passes the puck to a player that is behind them
  34. Dump-in, Dump-and-chase: The strategy of shooting the puck into the offensive zone and then going into the zone to recapture the puck
  35. Empty-Net Goal: When a goal is scored into the net when the goalie has been pulled and is not there
  36. End-to-end: When a player skates the puck from near his own goaltender all the way down the ice to the other team’s goaltender
  37. Even Strength: When each team has the same number of players on the ice and is playing 5-on-5 hockey
  38. Extra Attacker: When a team pulls their goaltender and sends out another player onto the ice to score; the player is referred to as an extra attacker
  39. Faceoff: The process that is used to start the hockey play after a stoppage where two players will battle over a puck that is dropped by a linesman on a faceoff dot
  40. Farm Team: The team that has and is developing the minor league players under contract for the NHL team.
  41. Fighting: Involves opponents dropping their gloves so they hit each other with their bare fists. (A hit to the head while your hockey gloves on is called roughing.) Most often, fighting is a five minute penalty; will not typically result in the player getting thrown out of the game, as in other sports.
  42. Five-Hole: The area between the legs of the goaltender that is created when he is moving from side-to-side or up and down, where players try to score
  43. Forechecking: The strategy of a team attacking the defensive zone to gain possession of the puck and setup scoring chances 
  44. Forward: The term applied collectively to the three positions in hockey: Left Wing, Center, and Right Wing. The major purpose of these three positions is to provide the offense and score goals for the team.
  45. Freeze the Puck: The act done by the goaltender of covering the puck to produce a stoppage in play
  46. Game Misconduct: A ten-minute penalty that does not require the team to have a player be taken off the ice for the duration of it
  47. General Manager: The person who is charged with constructing the team through drafting, trading, and signing players 
  48. Goal Crease: The painted area in front of the goalie net. Although other players are allowed to enter into this area to score a goal, it is primarily used as the place that the goaltender operates in
  49. Goalie Mask: The unique helmet that the goaltender wears. In the NHL each goaltender will have his mask painted in a design that reflects their personality and interests 
  50. Goaltender: The position that plays in front of the net is responsible for stopping the opponent from scoring, and has special equipment designed to stop pucks being shot into that net 
  51. Goaltender Interference: When a player hits or shoves a goalie in attempt to disrupt them from making a save
  52. Goal Mouth: The area in front of the net. The term is used when the teams are fighting over the puck while it is in front of the net. Such as: it was a ‘goal mouth’ scramble for the puck.
  53. Hand Pass: Using your hand to pass the puck along the ice. Only certain hand passes are legal.
  54. Hash Marks: The two lines at the edge of a faceoff circle, which indicates the furthest spot that a player can stand while a faceoff is being taken. 
  55. Hat Trick: When a player scores three goals in one game High Stick: A penalty caused when a player hits another player above the shoulders with his stick or hits the puck in the air when it is above his shoulders
  56. Holding: A penalty that occurs when a player holds onto an opposition player with his glove. This may involve grabbing a jersey or any bear-like hug towards your opponent that impedes their movement.
  57. Hooking: A penalty caused by a player using the blade of his stick to pull on a player when he is behind them 
  58. Icing: A stoppage in play caused by a player shooting the puck from the defensive side of the rink all the way to the end (past the goal line) of the opposing players side of the rink
  59. Injured Reserve: A paper transaction performed by a team that allows an injured player to not count against the team’s maximum 23 man roster so the team can bring in another player who can play in games
  60. Instigator Rule: A 2 minute penalty given to a player that starts a fight when another player does not want to engage in a fight 
  61. Interference: A penalty when a player hits or slows up an opponent who does not have the puck
  62. Jersey: One of the most sacred parts of hockey, it is the hockey sweater or long-sleeve shirt which is part of the uniform that a player wears
  63. Lateral Movement: Used to describe the side-to-side movement of a goaltender
  64. Lead Pass: When a defensemen passes the puck up to a forward as it attempts a breakout of the zone
  65. Lift the Stick: When a player lifts an opponent’s stick off the ice with his own stick to either steal the puck off their stick or to prevent them from receiving a pass or shooting the puck
  66. Lines: Refers to either the line of players, which is a set of players who the coach plays together or to the ‘lines’ (the red and blue) that are painted on the ice
  67. Linesmen: The official who is charged with calling all of the non-penalty infractions, with many of them happening around the blue and red line (offside and icing)
  68. Major Penalty: A 5 minute penalty that is called for an egregious act within the game
  69. Mask: The type of helmet worn by the goalie 
  70. Match Penalty: At the discretion of the referee a 5 minute penalty for a player who injures or deliberately tries to injure another player that also causes the penalized player to miss the rest of the game.
  71. Minor Penalty: A 2-minute penalty and the most common type of penalty called for a number of various infractions including: tripping, hooking, holding, interference, charging, and delay of game
  72. Misconduct Penalty: A 10-minute penalty that does not require the team penalized to play a man down for that time, but only that the player will miss the 10 minutes of action 
  73. Natural Hat Trick: Scoring three goals in a row without anyone else on either team scoring 
  74. Net: The object that each team wants to shoot the puck into to score a goal
  75. Neutral Zone: The area that is between the two blue lines with the center faceoff circle in the middle 
  76. Number-one Goaltender: Of the two goaltenders on the roster this refers to the goaltender who plays the majority of games 
  77. Odd-man Rush: When a team gets an advantage and is able to go into the offensive zone with more players attacking then defending, for example a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2.
  78. Offense: The term used for the strategy of players trying to score a goal.
  79. Offensive Defensemen: A defensemen who has a talent for helping out the forwards with scoring goals.
  80. Official: The four officials (2 referees and 2 linesman) that facilitate and enforce the rules of the game.
  81. Offsetting Penalties: When each team receives a penalty at the same time and therefore each team does not have to lose a player off the ice as the penalized players serve their penalties
  82. Offside: When an offensive player goes over the blue line and enters the offensive zone before the puck does
  83. Onside: When a player has waited for the puck to go over the blue line before he enters the zone. This is deemed that the player was onside and the play is allowed to continue
  84. One-timer: A player who takes a slap shot from a passed puck where he does not first stop the puck but shoots it in one motion as the pass comes to him
  85. Overtime: The additional time (5 minutes in the regular season) added onto the game that ends in a tie after regulation.
  86. Partial Breakaway: A player who has a step or two on the defensemen but still does not have a clear path to the goaltender without being semi-checked by the defensemen.
  87. Penalty: When a player breaks a rule that requires them to be out of the game for a predetermined time (usually 2 or 5 minutes) and his team will usually have to play with one less player on the ice
  88. Penalty Box: When a player gets a penalty this is where they go and sit until their penalty has been served
  89. Penalty Clock: The clock that keeps track of the amount of time left in a player’s penalty
  90. Penalty Kill: A team that is trying to defend it’s zone until their teammate who has a penalty has served his time
  91. Penalty Shot: An unhindered opportunity awarded to a player where he gets to take the puck from center ice and attempt a shot on his opponent’s goaltender
  92. Period: A game is divided up into three periods of twenty minutes each
  93. Play-by-Play: The term used for broadcasters who give a description of the game to television and radio viewers
  94. Playoffs: The tournament made up of the top 16 teams from the regular season to see who will win the Stanley Cup
  95. Point Shot: A shot taken by a player towards the goaltender from the blue line while in the offensive zone 
  96. Poke Check: Using the blade of your stick to knock the puck off your opponents stick.
  97. Power Play: The term given to the team who has one or two more players on the ice because the other team has taken a penalty. The team with the man advantage is said to be going on the power play.
  98. Puck: The black vulcanized rubber disk that is used in hockey to try and score goals with. The object of the game is to get the puck into the net more then the other team
  99. Pull the Goalie: When a team removes the goalie from their net to send out an extra player to try and score a goal 
  100. Read the Play: Trying to anticipate what is going to happen in the play so you can be in the right position on the ice 
  101. Rebound: When a goalie stops the puck and the puck comes off the goalie back into the play. The goalie wants to try and not give rebounds or deflect them into the corners
  102. Red Light: When a goal is scored the goal judge will hit a button and a red light will come on
  103. Red Line: Refers to the big red line that runs through the center of the ice and is used to determine whether there is an icing call
  104. Referee: The official who is charged with running the game by the rules and determining if there are penalties within the game
  105. Rink: The entire ice surface that the game of hockey is being played on
  106. Role Player: One of the players on the team who is not considered one of the stars of the team but plays a smaller role on the team
  107. Rookie: A player who is playing his first year in the league
  108. Roughing: A penalty given to a player who is being overly aggressive
  109. Saucer Pass: A highly skilled pass where a player will raise a puck slightly off the ice to pass the puck over an opponent’s stick
  110. Scoresheet: The official write up of the game that captures the names of all goals, assists, penalties and players played in the game
  111. Scramble: When there are a number of players going after a puck, but it seems like no player is actually coming out with the puck
  112. Three Stars: At the end of a game, one of the local broadcasters will choose the top three players at the end of the game. It is tradition that the players come out and take a quick skate on the ice.
  113. Shootout: After overtime, if the game is still tied, each team will get three chances to go in on the goalie from center ice to attempt to score a goal. The team with the most cumulative goals will be determined the winner of the game.
  114. Shorthanded: When a team has one or two less players on the ice due to a penalty taken by their team 
  115. Shutout: When a team and goalie allow no goals against by their opponent during a game
  116. Slapshot: The hardest shot in hockey, which is caused by a player taking his stick back and then going forward with it and essentially slapping the ice slightly behind the puck
  117. Slashing: A penalty that is called when a player hits another player with his stick
  118. Slot: The part of the ice that is located in front of the goaltender from the top of the crease to the top of the faceoff circles. A team does not want to allow shots on goal (SOG) from the slot.
  119. Slow Whistle: When a referee does not blow the whistle in a timely fashion for a play that should be stopped, for instance, when a goalie has the puck or an offside.
  120. Sniper: A player that is great at scoring goals 
  121. Split the Defense: When a player takes the puck in-between the two defensemen without being stopped.
  122. Stay-at-home Defensemen: A defensemen who is particularly good at defensive play and does not worry about helping out the forwards on offense
  123. Stick: The object that players use to control and shoot the puck into the other opponents net
  124. Sudden Death: The term referred to an overtime goal that will automatically end the game when someone scores 
  125. Suspension: A player that is required to miss a certain number of games determined by the NHL because of an event done by the player during a game 
  126. Taking the Man: A term referred to the defensive strategy that requires a player to cover a player from the opposing team
  127. Tape-to-Tape: A pass that goes from the tape of one players stick to the tape of another players stick. This is a great pass.
  128. Tee Up the Puck: A term that the puck is being setup by a player to take a slap shot
  129. Three Stars: At the end of a game one of the local broadcasters will choose the top three players at the end of the game. It is tradition that the players come out and take a quick skate on the ice
  130. Timeout: In the NHL each team gets to have one timeout per game where the coach can call a 30 second strategy or rest session for his players at a stoppage in play
  131. Traffic: When there are a number of players in-between the shooter and the goalie. A team wants to get a lot of ‘traffic’ in front of the goalie to try and screen the goalie from seeing the puck which makes it easier to score
  132. Trap: A defensive strategy where two forwards play back with the defence and try to clog up the neutral zone so the other team can not get into the offensive zone and, instead, will turn over the puck
  133. Tripping: A penalty where a player knocks another player down with his stick or foot
  134. Turnover: When a player gives away the puck to the opposition
  135. Visor: The clear piece of plastic put on a helmet that protects the eyes of a player
  136. Wandering Goalie: A goalie who likes to come out of his net to play the puck. They are wandering when they do not do a good job at playing the puck and getting back to their net – often causing scoring chances against
  137. Wings: Refers to the two wingers (right and left) who play with the centermen as forwards
  138. Wrap-around: A type of goal scoring technique where a player will take a puck behind the net and try to score on the other side of the net before the goalie gets to the other side 
  139. Wrist Shot: A type of shot where the stick is taken back along the ice and then the players use a strong flick of the wrist to propel the puck
  140. Zamboni: The machine that is used to clean the ice surface between periods
  141. Zone: There are three zones in hockey: Offensive, Neutral, and Defensive. It is often used in the context of gaining the ‘zone’ or your offensive portion of the ice

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