Hockey is a very interesting and unique sport – because of this it has developed it’s own set of terms and slang that hockey players and fans typically use. The hit comedy show Letterkenny may have made some of these terms more popular, but these terms have been around for decades now. We will take a deep dive into all the popular terms and lingo hockey players use so you can brush up and understand what the heck they are talking about!
All Swedish No Finnish: When you have the moves to get around everyone but just can’t seem to score on the goalie no matter what you try
Apple: An Assist
Bar Down: When you snipe a gino that goes off the crossbar and between the pipes. Yes I just used 3 different slang terms for that! Scoring a goal bar down is the best sound a hockey player can hear, as it is basically the perfect shot. Also – the inspiration for our websites name!
Barn: An Arena or Rink
Barn Burner: When the score of the game is ridiculously high, like a game with a final score of 8-7
Basket: The net (“Put the biscuit in the basket!”)
Beaking: The act of chirping / insulting someone
Beauty: A guy who has it all, great player, great personality, and likely great hair too. You want as many beauties as possible on your team!
Bender: The opposite of a beauty. Likely not very good at hockey and a bad dressing room guy. The term originates from the bend in the ankles you would see in a brand new (and probably unskilled) hockey player
The Berries: Referring to a males genitalia – you do not want to take a puck in the berries!
Birdcage: A full cage, usually made fun of when wearing these in leagues that allow half visors
Biscuit: The puck (“Fire the biscuit!”)
Bobby Big Wheels: Someone who thinks they are much better than they are, whether it be at hockey, at getting girls, or thinking they are all around awesome when they actually aren’t
Bottle Rocket: When you snipe top ched and it explodes the goalies water bottle. Probably the dirtiest way to score a goal
Breadbasket: The center of the goalie, usually right at his logo. A bad shot. (“What a terrible shot, I put it right in his breadbasket!”)
Breadman – Artermi Panarin, named after the Panera Bread chain.
Bucket / Bucky – A Hockey Helmet
Celly: To celebrate a goal – make sure to celly accordingly. Get a garbage goal or a goal bounce off you and into the net? Keep it mild. Wheel coast to coast and dangle a few players en route to going bar down? The world is your oyster and an outrageous celly is in order.
Chel: EA Sports NHL video game series – typically what the boys do in their free time during the day when not playing or training
Cherry Picker: An forward who hangs out behind the opposing teams defensemen and never comes back to help out in the D zone, just hoping to be sprung on a breakaway
Chiclets: Your teeth, and the inspiration for the hit podcast ‘Spittin Chiclets‘ as many players get their teeth knocked out, spit em out, and get back into the game
Chippy: When a game starts getting dirty and players are hacking and slashing more than typical
Chirp: The art of trash talk. Some are gifted at it, some are not – it’s something you are born with!
Clapper / Clap Bomb: A Slapshot
Coast to Coast: When you start out behind your own net and wheel the puck all the way to the opposing goal, capping it off by scoring
Coughed Up – The act of losing the puck when under pressure
Dangle: When you stick handle around someone, turning them inside out and making them look silly. Can be done to opposing players or goalies.
Dinger: A bit of chewing tobacco
Dirty: Actually the opposite of what you might think, is used to describe an unreal play (“That was one dirty dangle”)
Dropping The Mitts: The act of fighting
Dummied: The act of dominating someone in a fight or with a huge hit (“You absolutely dummied that guy!”)
Duster: A generally awful hockey player. He either lacks skill, never sees the power play, and is usually a liability on the ice. I’d say you’d still rather be a duster than a bender
Fan: When you miss or whiff on a shot or pass, usually resulting in a turnover
Facewash: When you are in a scrum and you put the palm of your glove in an opponents face and wipe it, an act of disrespect making anyone smell your gross gloves
Filthy: Similar to dirty, but an even nicer play or move
Fishbowl: A full visor instead of a cage or half visor. If you wear a fishbowl you better have some skills to back it up as you will be the target of some serious chirps otherwise.
Five Hole – The area between a goalies legs and his stick
Flamingo: When someone is blocking a shot, and instead of standing their ground they lift a leg off the ice to try and get out of the way and look like a flamingo
Flood: When the zamboni floods the ice with water to resurface it between periods
Flow: A hockey players hair. Swedes seem to have a tendency to have the best flow but great flow can be found anywhere!
For The Boys: When you do something for the team. Typically a sacrifice of some sort that gains you goodwill (“I got absolutely dominated in that fight but I had to drop the mitts for the boys”)
Getting Lit Up: Either getting destroyed by a huge hit, or when a goalie is letting a bunch of goals in due to the other teams offensive prowess
Geno / Gino: Scoring a goal – Evgeni Malkin’s nickname is Geno as he is a goal scoring machine and also basically has the word in his name
Gongshow: A crazy situation that is totally out of control. Usually applies to one of two things – Either a huge night out with the boys that gets crazy or a game that is getting totally out of hands with fights, penalties, and generally all chaos breaking loose.
Goon: Someone who only exists to fight or hit, and someone you do not want to drop the gloves with in a fight
Gordie Howe Hat Trick: Scoring a goal, getting an assist, and getting in a fight. Made famous by Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe
Grenade: A bad pass that is likely to get a team mate blown up aka hit hard (“Why do you keep tossing grenades in my feet?”)
Grinder: A player that lacks skill, but is willing to work hard and get dirty in the corners. Usually a beauty – every team needs a few grinders. The famous ‘Grind Line’ employed by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2000’s helped them win a few Stanley Cups
Grocery Stick: A bender or a duster who isn’t getting any ice time and just sits in the middle of the bench, separating the forwards from defensemen
Hatty / Hat Trick: When one player scores three goals in one game, the crowd will throw hats on the ice to celebrate
Hoser: An insult, another word for a loser. You would say this to opposing benders.
Hot Dogging: Doing fancy moves against players that are clearly not as good as you
Kronwalled: When a defenseman throws an absolutely huge hit, made popular by Niklas Kronwall who had a skill for lining players up and destroying them
Lay The Lumber: Slashing someone with your stick, this term was crowned back in the day when everyone used wood sticks
Lettuce: Another name for hockey hair
Light The Lamp: When you score a goal in hockey, a red lamp behind the net is lit. Your goal is to light the lamp as much as possible, to give the opposing goalie a sunburn on the back of his neck from all the red light
Lip Sweater: A mustache
Lumber: Your hockey stick
The Michigan: Scooping the puck up on your stick lacrosse style and whipping it into the net top shelf. Named after the first player to pull it off in a game – Mike Legg in a game for the University of Michigan
Mitts: Referring to a players hands. Some players throw their mitts (fight) whereas others have silky mitts (dangles)
Muffin: A weak shot
Muzzy: Another word for a mustache
Natural Hat Trick: When a player scores three goals in a row, with no one on his team or the other scoring in between
ODR: The outdoor rink
Pigeon: A general insult for someone who is no good. A pigeon by definition is a fat ball of feathers with a small brain that poops anywhere, so its a savage insult in itself.
Playmaker: A player known more for his set up abilities and knack for racking up apples than scoring goals
Plug: A bad player, derived from the removable extension of a stick. A plug has many things in common with a Bender or Duster
Pim – Referring to getting penalties (“Racked up a few PIMs last night”)
Pipes: The goalposts (“Got a real sieve between the pipes today”)
Pillows: When your punches are so weak, it feels like you have pillows on your hand – Also can be referring to the Goalies pads
Pond Hockey: Playing hockey outdoors, can either be on a lake or pond, or on a community ODR
Praccy: Hockey Practice
Pylon: A player that is slow and/or a poor skater. About as useful as just planting a pylon on the ice instead of dressing them
Riding the Pine: A term for when you get benched. Dusters and Benders tend to ride the pine the most, but if you screw up bad enough, you could find yourself riding the pine as well
Ringer: When a player that is clearly way better than everyone else is brought out to help win a game
Robbed: When the goalie makes a ridiculous save, robbing you of a goal
Rocket: A good looking woman, a 10/10
Salad: Another word for lettuce or flow – yes there are alot of them!
Sauce – Can also be said as chuckin sauce, tossing sauce, etc. This is the act of a saucer pass where you elevate the puck off the ice for a pass and land it perfectly on your team mates stick
The Show: The NHL, the ultimate goal of any player is to lace em up in the show
Sieve: A goalie who is not very good, similar to how well a seive holds water (poorly)
Silky: Used to describe someones hands when they are great stickhandlers, as soft hands = good hands
Sin-Bin: The penalty box, where you must repent your sins for 2 minutes or less
Slewfoot – When you kick the legs out from under a player from behind them, one of the dirtiest plays you can do as players have no defense against it and typically hit the ice hard
The Slot: The spot between the hashmarks and the top of the crease where tons of goals are scored from
Snaggletooth: Referring to someone who has terrible teeth, typically someone who’s taken a puck to the mouth and has lost a few
Snapper: Taking a snap shot
Sniper: Someone who has an awesome shot and can rip goals home with ease
Standing on his/her head: When your goalie is playing amazing and keeping your team in it
Stoned: When a goalie absolutely robs you with a big save
Stripes: The referee or linesman
Stone Hands: Someone who can’t stickhandle for the life of them, as if their hands were cast in cement
Suicide Pass / Suey: When a player sends a pass up to someone and they have to look back or in their feet to receive it, opening them up to be destroyed by a big hit. You do not want to be a recipient of one of these!
Tape to Tape: Making a nice crisp pass right to your teammates stick
Tendie: A Goaltender
Tilt / Tilly: A big fight
Tic-Tac-Toe: When you make a great passing play consisting of two passes and then a goal
Toe Drag: When a player uses the toe of his stick to drag a puck all the way around an opponent, usually embarrassing them
Top Cheese / Ched – This is sniping a goal in the top of the net. One of the nicest ways to score a goal second only to going bar down
Threading The Needle: Completing a pass that is super tight and had no room for error
Traffic: Getting some congestion in front of the net, typically to screen the goalie
Trolley Tracks: If you get lined up for a huge hit, it is said that you were in the trolley tracks
Turtle: To cover up and fall to your knees instead of fighting, not a good look
Wheels: Being a fast skater, also could refer to being smooth with the ladies
Wheeling: The act of picking up girls
Wrister: Taking a wrist shot
Yard Sale: When a player gets hit so hard his equipment (usually helmet, gloves, stick) come flying off
Zebra: Another term for the referee or linesman
We hope our article has helped you understand some of the terms you will hear thrown around out on the ice. Hockey players are generally a fun loving bunch, so it’s no surprise that such an awesome extended vocabulary has formed in the game. Learn the terms and get out there and have fun with them!