Hockey slang, hockey lingo, hockey speak, no matter what you call it, if you are a hockey player or hockey fan you undoubtedly make use of some good old fashion hockey slang. You hear it at rinks, in the dressing room, on the ice, on TV… hockey terminology is its own thing for sure.
Fact is you’re probably not much of a hockey fan if you don’t use hockey slang. So for those who need to brush up on their hockey lingo, we want to provide you with some of the most poplar hockey terms that you can expect to hear in and around barns (sorry rinks). As an update to our previous list of favourite hockey terms, we have compiled an updated list of our favourite hockey buzzwords.
Top 100 Hockey Buzzwords – 2023
A lot of these terms can be found on our previous list, but there are some new additions that we hear the kids say all of the time. I had some assistance from my thirteen-year-old son who currently plays Bantam (U-15) DEV. Even I have difficulty understanding what he is saying in the arena sometimes lol. Hopefully for all the hockey moms and hockey dads out there, these definitions will help you converse with the hockey player in your life.
100. Postee – another name for the goal post.
99. Bambi – a player who does not skate well and looks like a deer on ice.
98. Beardo – a player, coach or official with a beard that other players think is a little weird.
97. The McDavid – picking up a pass at full speed and deking through multiple opponents with the end result usually being a great shot on net or a goal.
96. Slot – The middle area in front of the net.
95. Blindside – a dangerous body check or hit on a player who does not see the hit coming as the hit came from their “blindside”.
94. Dirty – as in “dirty deke” use to describe a highly skilled or outstanding play. A goalie can make a “dirty save” or a player can have a “dirty dangle”. Also referred to as “filthy”.
93. O-Zone – another term for the offensive zone.
92. Tripod – A player who has to balance himself with his stick.
91. Slew foot – Sweeping or kicking out a player’s skate or tripping them from behind, causing them to fall backwards.
90. Turtle – to cover up or when challenged to a fight to cover your head with your hands/gloves. Also nickname Edmonton Oilers fans dubbed then-Flames player Matthew Tkachuk (after Tkachuk failed to drop the gloves with Oilers’ Zack Kassian in a classic battle of Alberta tilt from a couple of seasons ago).
89. Chippy – Getting irritated with one another, usually on the brink of fighting. “Chippiness” of a game usually means that there is a lot of cheap shots and questionable acts taking place on the ice.
88. Healthy Scratch – A player who has no injury and is still not dressed for the game. Sometimes referred to as “Black Aces”.
87. Yard Sale – when a player or goaltender gets hit so hard that they lose pieces of their equipment. When their gear (typically helmets, sticks, or gloves) is spread all over the ice, it is referred to as a yard sale.
86. The Datsyuk – when a player pulls the puck to the side, but instead uses his back hand to just barely flip the puck over the goaltender. Made famous by Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk.
85. Wheels – referred to players that can skate fast. Connor McDavid has good wheels. See also “wheel” or “wheeling” which means to skate fast.
84. Goon – term for a player that has limited skills but takes a lot of penalties and tries to engage in fisticuffs.
83. Lay the Lumber – to slash or get a stick on an opponent.
82. Biscuit in the basket – Scoring a goal.
81. Breezers – Hockey pants.
80. Odd-Man Rush – Usually either a two-on-one, or three-on-two into the offensive zone which more often than not leads to a scoring opportunity.
79. Power forward – A power forward is a large, muscular offensive player (6’0 – 6’5, 200-230 pounds), with the mobility to track a puck to the corners of the rink, the physical toughness required to dig it out, and the puck handling skills to get it back to anyone in front of the net.
78. Waffle – The goalie’s blocker. This term stemmed from the visual appearance of the blocker in pre-modern ice hockey equipment era.
77. Give-n-Go– also referred to as “give and go”. When two players pass back and forth to one another and get a shot on net.
76. Empty Netter – A goal scored when the opposing goalie is not on the ice.
75. Natty – short for Natural hat trick; when a player scores three goals all in the same period. “She just scored a “natty”.
74. Standing on their head – When a goaltender is playing great, stopping everything sent their way and making outstanding saves, they are said to be “standing on their head”.
73. Short side – The side of the goal closest to the shooter.
72. Natural hat trick – A natural hat-trick is when one player scores three goals in a row without any player from either team scoring in between them, also when three goals are scored by one player in one period.
71. Change-on-the-fly – Substituting a player from the bench while the puck is in play.
70. Ice Breaker – another name for a hockey tournament.
69. Mucker – A physical player who lacks finesse but gets the job done by forechecking, working the boards, etc. He is not afraid to do the dirty work. Usually used interchangeably or in connection with grinder.
68. Ragging the puck – Using up time on the clock when leading in the final moments of a period or the game.
67. The Great Eight – nick-name for Alexander Ovechkin who wears jersey number 8 for the Washington Capitals.
66. Wrister – A type of shot that involves using arm muscles (especially those in the wrist and forearm) to propel a puck forward from the open-faced, concave part of the blade of a hockey stick.
65. Zebra – another name for the officials; referee or linesman
64. Paddle – The wide portion above the blade of a goalie’s stick.
63. Shinny – Pick-up hockey usually played on a frozen pond.
62. Sty – short for style. Style of play or hair style.
61. Cherry Pick– when a hockey player, typically a forward, stays high towards the opponents blueline in hopes of receiving the puck to obtain a breakaway on the opposing goalie. Also referred to as “floating” as the player in questions is not working hard to get the puck..
60. Butterfly – A style of goaltending wherein the goalie tends to cover the lower half of the net with his leg pads. Mike Palmateer anyone?
59. Hoser – fans in Canada may remember Bob and Doug McKenzie (hoseheads). Hoser is another name for a loser, typically intended as an insult in trash talk. Comes from the early hockey days when the losing team had to hose down the ice with water after the game because the Zamboni had not been invented yet.
58. Tic-Tac-Toe – Three tape-to-tape passes that lead to a goal. Tic-tac-toe goals are usually scored on odd man rushes or power plays, because opponents don’t have enough defenders to break up passes.
57. Face wash – When a player rubs his hockey glove over the face of an opponent.
56. Mitts – refers to a player’s hands, often described as silky when a player has great skill. Also refers to a player’s gloves, as in “dropping the mitts” in a fight.
55. Shorty – short for a short-handed goal or a goal that is scored when their team is on the penalty kill.
54. Zinger – a quick shot that goes past the goalie or a witty reply in trash talk.
53. Hat trick – When one player scores three goals in one game.
52. Spin-o-rama – Phrase coined to describe a player completing several tight circles with the puck fully under control of his stick, eluding pursuing opponents who cannot keep up or intercept the player. Denis Savard used to have his own version of the Savardian spin-o-rama.
51. Splitting the Dee – when the player with the puck attempts to squeeze between the opponent’s defensemen.
50. The Show – making it to the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL is know as the “Show”.
49. Sieve – a goaltender who is not very good at saving the puck and allows a lot of goals because of being “pourous” or “full of holes”. Don Cherry used to call Colorado Rockies goalie Hardy Astrom the Swedish Sieve.
48. Fishbowl – referencing full face shields that a lot of young players wear as opposed to the cage/mask. A helmet with a full plastic shield instead of a cage. Typically used as an insult in trash talk.
47. Plumber – a player who gets limited ice time but works very hard and is typically on the third or fourth line. Similar to “Grinder”
46. Five-hole – The gap between a goaltender’s legs or the hole between the goalie’s leg pads. If a player scores a goal and the puck went in between the goalie’s pads; the puck went through the five-hole.
45. One-timer – Shooting the puck directly after receiving a pass. The offensive player starts his backswing while the puck is on its way to him and tries to time his swing with the arrival of the puck. Leon Draisaitl is great at taking one-timers during the Edmonton Oilers powerplays.
43. The Great One – Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all-time.
42. Stack the pads – A save wherein the goaltender drops to one side and makes the save with his leg pads as they are stacked atop of each other.
41. Oreo – refers to the hockey cage/mask that players wear, where the inside is white and the outside is black.
40. Ride the Pine – when a player spends the entire game sitting in the bench, and not getting any playing time.
39. Wrap around – To come from behind the net and squeeze it past the goalie.
38. Beauty – short for beautiful. Can represent a play, a player, a coach, an official or a fan. Bobby Orr was a beauty of a skater. Or Martin Brodeur was a beauty tendy.
37. Cherry-picking – When a player stays near their opponent’s zone waiting for an outlet pass in order to receive a breakaway.
36. Pylon – a player that is extremely slow out on the ice and can easily be skated around. Typically, a lanky defenseman.
35. Coast-to-coast – A solo scoring chance originating in the player’s own defensive zone.
34. Light the lamp – Scoring a goal.
33. Sauce – the ability to make a saucer (floating-like) pass to a teammate. See also backhand sauce which is a “saucer-like” back-hand pass that a player makes.
32. Blueliner – A defenseman.
31. Salad – another term for hair or hockey hair. “Nice salad”
30. Gretzky’s Office – the area on the ice directly behind the net. Named after the Great One, Wayne Gretzky as he used to stop behind the net and set up in “his office” and make a pass to a line-mate, often resulting in a goal.
29. Sin-Bin – another name for the penalty box.
28. Snipe – the act of taking a well-placed shot that results in a goal.
27. Twig – A player’s stick. Originally referenced based on the fact that hockey sticks used to be made of wood.
26. Chiclets – the hockey term for teeth, usually used when describing the lack thereof for certain players. Reference is to the old Chicklets Gum that were white squares and kind of resembled a human tooth
25. Biscuit – another name for the puck.
24. Gongshow – a game or player that gets out of hand. An over the top reaction or a game that has a lot of fights or penalties.
23. Barn – the name of an arena, typically reserved for older arenas that often looked like a barn.
22. Howitzer: A howitzer is a super hard and fast slapshot. The name comes from the howitzer cannon.
21. Deke: the act of stickhandling with the puck where you shift from side to side in order to fake an opponent out of position
20. Duster – a player who sits on the bench for a long time; in reference to an object that doesn’t move and collects dust. Also a nickname for a thick moustache.
19. Barn Burner – a game that is exciting to watch.
18. Toe drag – Dragging the puck along the ice with the end (toe) of the stick blade on the ice as opposed to pushing with the bottom edge. Also known as a “toe-y”.
17. Bar Down – when a player shoots the puck and it goes off of the crossbar and down into the net using making a “clink” sound as it goes off the bar.
16. Bucky – short for bucket or a player’s helmet.
15. Bedardsky – nickname for Connor Bedard in who had a tremendous performance at the World Junior Hockey Championship a few weeks ago. In reference to the great Wayne Gretzky perhaps?
14. Gino (or Geno) – also known as a snipe or a nice goal.
13. Stripes – in reference to the officials who wear black and white striped jerseys.
12. Bender – nickname for a player who thinks a little too highly of themselves and their hockey skills. When a player refers to another as a “bender” it’s not usually meant in a complimentary way.
11. Flow – another term for hair. Also referred to as salad or lettuce. Typically in reference to players with thicker or longer hair that sticks out of their helmet.
Top Ten Hockey Buzzwords of 2023
Here is a look at the most popular hockey buzzwords for 2023.
10. Tendy – nickname for a goalie or goaltender. “ooh the tendy made a great save…”
9. Top Shelf – Term used to describe when an offensive player shoots high in an attempt to beat the goaltender by putting the puck in the top part of the net. Or as Sabres’ announcer Rick Jeanneret says,” … the top shelf, where momma hides the cookies.”
8. Apple -another name for an assist
7. Chirp – to trash talk an opponent or teammate or talk back to an official.
6. Buzzin’- when a player or team is taking it to another team referring to the fact that they are “buzzing” around.
5. Clapper – another name for a slapshot based on the “clapping” sound that a slap shot makes.
4. Dangle – when a player executes a couple of dekes around players and makes the defending players look a little silly. (See: Connor McDavid’s Top Goals)
3. Gordie Howe Hattrick– the act of scoring a goal, getting an assist and getting into a fight all in a single game. In minor hockey, when a player scores a goal, gets an assist and gets in a “dust-up” or takes a roughing penalty.
2. Michie – short for Michigan, the popular lacrosse style goal that is all the rage with skilled hockey players at all levels from Atom (U13) to the pros.
1. Celly – short for celebration. This is what players do typically after they score a goal. Many young players are big on cellies, and it’s fun to watch players celebrate the more enjoyable moments of the game of hockey.
Have we missed any? Feel free to reach out and let us know and we will look at considerations for our next list.