As one of the major sports, hockey has a multitude of fans. Hockey fans are passionate and get into the game, and if you want to be one of them, you’ll need to brush up on the terms and lingo that fans use most often. Here’s a list of some of the most important hockey lingo.

Important Hockey Terms

If you want to speak hockey, you’ll first need to know some important hockey terms that are used throughout the game. Players and spectators alike use these terms to talk about a player’s actions on the ice or the rules of the game. There are even terms for parts of the ice. Here is what to know so you can converse with any other hockey fan:

  • Hat trick: This is arguably one of the most popular phrases in hockey. It means a player has scored three goals throughout the game, which is an impressive feat.
  • Offsides: During the game, you’ll hear the referee blow their whistle and call offsides fairly often. It’s a common occurrence in any hockey game that means a player has gone over the blue line in an offensive zone before the puck does. When offsides happens, play stops and a face-off takes place right outside of the offensive zone.
  • Face-off: A face-off begins the game each period and the next play after a referee has stopped the game for any reason, such as an offsides call. During a face-off, players from each team gather in a formation on the ice with their sticks at the ready, with one player from each team directly facing off in the middle. The referee drops the puck in the center of the two players’ hockey sticks, and each of those players work to get the puck to their teammates.
  • Blue lines: There are two blue lines on every hockey rink that divide the ice into three sections, referred to as the defensive zone, the attacking zone, and the neutral zone. Referees use the blue lines to determine offsides.
  • Icing: Icing is an infraction that typically occurs when one player is attempting to delay the game. This player will shoot the puck across the center red line and the red goal line in the attacking zone. If the puck remains untouched that entire path, a referee will make an icing call and a face-off will take place. However, if that long shot makes it into the opposing team’s goal, it’s considered a goal rather than icing and the offensive team will score a point.
  • Assist: An assist is a term reserved for the one or two players who touched or passed the puck to a scoring teammate. 
  • Breakaway: A breakaway is when a player has secured the puck and “breaks away” from the other players, free to skate down the ice towards the opposing team’s goal, resulting in a one-on-one scoring opportunity.
  • Shootout: After three periods of play and a five-minute overtime period in which the score remains a tie, the game goes into a shootout. This is where players from each team take turns in attempting to score a one-on-one goal against the opposing team’s goalie. Whichever team scores the most is the winner of the game.
  • Shutout: A goaltender is said to have produced a shutout when they have allowed no players from the opposing team to score a goal. 

Penalty Words

tripping penalty
Image via Flickr by pointnshoot

Penalties add a lot of excitement to any hockey game, even if your team is the one that has committed the infraction. To get passionate about the game like the rest of the fans, here are some penalty terms to remember:

  • Cross-checking: Cross-checking is when a player uses their stick to disrupt the movement of an opposing player. The player committing the infraction will hold the shaft of their stick between two hands, usually at chest level and with the stick off the ice, and purposefully push another player.
  • High sticking: When a player carries their stick above the shoulders of the other players and hits a player with it, a referee will call a high sticking penalty. 
  • Interference: Interference is a minor penalty that takes place when one player is blocking another. These players do not have a puck, and the player committing the infraction is not continuing to skate at a normal speed.
  • Slashing: Slashing is when one player swings his stick at an opponent, intending to hit them to stop movement or cause injury.
  • Power play: While power play isn’t a penalty, a power play occurs when one team has more players in the penalty box, resulting in the other team having an advantage.

Useful Hockey Slang

Hockey is full of slang and jargon, so to show your true love of the game, knowing the lingo is a good step in the right direction. Here are some common terms and how to use them:

  • Biscuit: Biscuit is another name for the puck. Example: “That biscuit really flew.”
  • The house: This term is used to describe the area directly in front of the net. Example: “Do what you can to protect the house!”
  • Stripes: Some people and players will call the referee “stripes,” especially in a moment of frustration with them. Example: “Come on, Stripes, make the right call!”
  • Wrap-around: When a player with the puck goes from one side of the goal, around the back, and scores on the other side, you’ll call this movement a wrap-around. Example: “Did you see Anderson’s wrap-around?”
  • Sniper: A sniper is a player who can consistently get the puck into a small part of the goal. Example: “Vinny is the best sniper in the game.”
  • Duster: This is a name for a player who mostly sits on the ice, only coming off it to play when his team is up by several points. Example: “They are so far ahead, they even let the duster get playtime.”
  • Five-hole: The scoring area between a goalie’s legs. Example: “He slap shot that puck right into the five-hole!” 

Armed with this language, you’ll be ready for any hockey-focused conversation or to yell from the stands during a game, knowing exactly what there is to be excited or upset about. If you think we should add any additional terminology, contact us so we can update our list.