Hockey Jargon

Posted by Neil in Columns,The HD Corner on May 11, 2009 — 13 Comments

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This past week I was lucky enough to receive a request from loyal Illegal Curve reader “Hbomb” to come up with a Hockey Slang Dictionary – jargon that is present during everyday hockey broadcasts.  I’m not sure if it had something to do with the Bud Light “Hbomb” was drinking or maybe him having a mild case of Penguins Cup Fever, but nonetheless here is a little guide of slang terms that we came up with that you have likely encountered while watching some puck:


4×6 – hockey net

5 hole – area between the goalie’s legs

7 hole – area between the arm of the goalie’s catch glove and his side


Biscuit – puck

Blowing a tire – a player losing his edge and falling

Blueliner – defenceman

Bread basket – goalie’s stomach area

Bonnet – helmet

Bucket – helmet

Butterfly – common style of goaltending where goalie’s pads are on ice and chest and shoulders are kept high to cover the majority of the net


Cage – hockey net

Can-opener – maneuver whereby defenceman places stick between an opponent’s legs and turns his body; also known as the “Bryan McCabe”

Cherry Picker – player who only remains in the offensive zone without a desire to help out defensively; Jason Spezza

Chucking the knuckles – hockey fight

Chicklets – teeth

Chop – slash

Coast to coast – act where a player rushes the puck up the ice from one end to the other

Cobwebs – what a player tries to rid himself of after being hit

Cue – hockey stick

Cup – portion of jock strap that protects a player; area of expertise of the “Puck Bunny”


Dance – hockey fight

Dangle – deke

Dish – pass

Dive – a player intentionally falling to draw a penalty

Dipsy doodle – see “Dangle”

Dump – process by which a player shoots the puck into the corner of the opponent’s offensive zone

Doughnut Boy – retired referee Don Koharski


Face wash – technique used by a player after a whistle to anger an opponent

Feed – pass

Flop – see “Dive”; goaltending technique of former NHL goalie Bob Essensa also known as “Flipper”

Freezing the puck – maneuver where goalie holds onto the puck for extended period of time forcing a faceoff in his own zone


Give and go – one player passes the puck, then skates and awaits for a return pass

Given ‘er – mantra whereby players give 100% effort

Goon – fighter; can display characteristics of a “Grinder”

Gordie Howe Hattrick – goal, assist, and fight in one game

Gretzky’s Office – area behind the net

Grinder – player of lower quality; “Checker”


Hammered – when one player hits other; can be the result of “Given ‘er”

Horseshoe – common warm-up drill in minor hockey

Howitzer – a hard slap shot


Iron – goal post


Lid – helmet

Lighting the lamp – scoring a goal

Lumber – hockey stick


Mitts – hockey gloves

Mugging – act of attacking another player without his knowledge, also known as “Todd Bertuzziing”

Mustard – something placed on a hard shot


Natural Hattrick – three goals in a row, in one game


On the fly – line change that occurs while play is going on


Paddle – goalie stick

Pansification – phrase coined by CBC personality Mike Milbury to describe a soft player; characteristic displayed by Joe Thornton during the playoffs

Pillows – goalie’s pads

Pipe – goal post

Puck Bunny – female choosing to engage in sexual activities exclusively with hockey players

Pulling the goalie – team removing their goalie from the game for an extra attacker on the ice; act a player engages by himself if “Puck Bunnies” are not present

Pylon – player that is of lower skill level; Illegal Curve’s Drew during recreational hockey games


Riding the pine – act in which a player remains on bench for prolonged period of time; common with “Goon” and “Grinder”

Rubber – hockey puck


Saucer pass – pass that is elevated slightly off of the ice

Shaft – hockey stick

Sin bin – penalty box

Snow angel – when a goalie lies down on the ice on his back with arms and legs spread; usually occurs when the goalie loses his vision of where the puck is located

Snowing the goalie – act of a player intentionally stopping in front of the goalie and thus spraying ice pellets

Splitting the D – hockey move where a player carries the puck in between two defenceman

Spinorama – perfected by Serge and Denis Savard where player spins around with the puck to avoid opponents

Stacking the pads – move where a goalie slides across the ice with both pads placed beside each other horizontally

Standing on your head – game in which a goalie proves to be almost impossible to beat

Stripes – referee

Stone Hands – time period in which a player cannot score; Evgeni Malkin during the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs; former Winnipeg Jet Ray Neufeld


Tic-tac-toe – three consecutive passes using three different players resulting in a goal

Top shelf – upper portion of the net; area where mamma hides the cookies

Trap – type of neutral zone defensive formation

Trapper – goalie’s glove

Twig – hockey stick

Twine – hockey net


Umberalla – type of powerplay formation


Waffle – goalie’s blocker

Wheels – player’s ability to skate fast

White Out – act of fans dressing in all white started by Winnipeg Jets fans in the early 90’s; often simulated but never replicated

Weasel – nickname for Commissioner Gary Bettman


Zebra – referee

That’s all that the two of us could think of off of the top of our heads.  If anyone has additional terms, add them in the comments section.  I’d like to keep this on for future reference – it could come in handy as more and more ‘Canes fans continue to jump on the bandwagon as the team advances (just kidding Carolina readers!).

  • blk4004

    The definition of a natural is incorrect. As written, that is a hat trick. A natural hat trick is one player scoring three goals in succession in one game. It doesnt matter what period they come in as long as there are no goals in between. It could happen with 1 in the first, second or third and be a natural hat trick, or they can come all in one period.

  • good call….consider it changed

  • saucerpass

    Did you beat up Joe Beninati and steal his lingo book? I swear, for anyone in the United States that has to watch this clown on Versus, he uses every work on this list at least twice a night.

    I’ve never heard anyone try and be more trendy when calling a game than him.

    Your definition of ‘Weasel’ is spot on.

    Good call on the “Waffle” definition. I thought I was the only one who still called a blocker a Waffle.

    I think if you really want a challenge, try and make a dictionary for:

    Mike Lange


    Randy Moller


  • VicF

    Further question on the natural I’ve never been clear on: Does it have to be three in a row by the same team? If Ovechkin scores, scores again, then Crosby scores, then Ovechkin scores, is that a natural?

    @saucerpass: Doc Emrick uses “waffle board” all the time for the goalie’s blocker, including (in pure Emrick style) as a verb.

  • Hey Vic,

    A natural hat trick is when a player scores three goals in succession, with no other players from either their own team, or the opposing team, scoring any goals in-between.

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  • rjbaked

    I guess, after searching through the internet, that I was wrong about the “Gordie Howe hat trick”.
    It was always my belief that it included a goal, an assist and an elbowing penalty.
    On wikipedia, it says it is a goal, an assist and a penalty OR a fight.
    But I found an interesting article on CBC Sports claiming it is indeed goal, assist, fight, but it also says Gordie only ever accomplished this TWICE in his life.
    I find it kind of amazing that his fights have become legendary enough to have a hockey term named after him even though he only had 22 confirmed fights in 33 seasons.
    Here’s another great read about Mr Howe

  • Flyers Hockey

    Turnbuckle- The area where the glass starts again above the dasher.

    Facewash- The act of taking one’s sweaty glove and smearing it all over the opponent’s face in order to intimidate or provoke a fight.

    Road Kills- These are the hoes the boys manage to sleep with when they’re on the road. A pick up. One night stand, in other words.

  • dan m

    Not positive, but I think Shannahan is the run-away leader in GHowe Hat Tricks. I have heard that Rick Tocchet might actually have more, but since accurate stats weren’t kept, and nobody has delved into the archives, we may never get an official count.

  • jesus


  • mdevine16

    A natural hatrick does not need to be scored in succession. A natural hatrick is when one player scores three goals on the other teams goalie(s). Empty netters don’t count and other players are allowed to score in between.

    Furthermore, saucer pass should just be change to “sauce”

    Other Terms:

    Cheese/Upper 90 = Top-shelf

    Toey: Toe-drag deke

    Beauty: Really good hockey player (crosby or stamkos for ex.)

    Chirp: Smack talk

    Bender/Duster: Terrible hockey player that claims he’s good and wear’s really expensive gear

    Yard-Sale: A huge hit that results in the players hear flying off

    Scrap: Fight

    Bar Down: Shot that hits the cross-bar then goes in

    Celly: Celebration

    Flow/Lettuce/Salad: Terms for great hockey hair

    Gino: Goal

    Jibs: Teeth

  • Alex Klott

    Bar down- when a player scores by shooting the puck off of the crossbar
    Celly- celebration after scoring a goal

  • beauty doesn’t really refer to a good player, since even a grinder can be a beauty. it’s usually a guy thats for the boys (furda, FDB), but not to the point where its annoying.
    “i saw willie mitchell’s tweet beaking that moron glen healy the other day, what a beauty”

    rat – claude lemieux or matthew barnaby. not avery though because he’s hilarious
    beak – same as chirp
    jaws – same as beak
    dragon – gross broad you come across, usually on the road
    ratpoison – way to describe ugly/gross broad “jesus dude, that broad is rat poison”
    bender – bad player/idiot “matt cooke is a fuckin bender”
    waterskiing – hooking, usually used when complaining to ref or criticizing a team “they’ve been waterskiing all night, call something”
    dig – chew
    dangle – great move
    dingle – dangle
    walked him – dangled the dman
    datsyuk – backhand toe drag goal (or attempt, but datsyuk scores)
    mucking it up – playing tough, usually in the corner
    snipe – great shot which result in a goal, or sometimes refers to goals themselves
    snips – snipes
    flying the zone – being past defending blueline before your team has a realistic opportunity of getting it out “phil kessel is always flying the zone”
    cherry picking – attempting to sit behind the opposing dmen looking for a breakaway pass, simultaneously ignoring all of your defensive obligations.
    roady – roadtrip, usually by bus
    foiling up – only ever used in slapshot
    slapshot – best hockey movie of all time
    youngblood – a movie that doesn’t compare to slapshot
    shmelt – rookie
    birdcage – cage on a helmet
    pest – similar to a rat, but is never around for a fight. an irritant on the ice, and can even be a good player “crosby was an absolute pest early in his career”
    jibbers/jibs – teeth
    chicklets – teeth
    tarp – jersey
    uni – jersey
    bucket – helmet
    tilt – fight
    dustup – fight
    brawl – multiple fights
    dancin – fighting
    ted danson – really great actor from cheers….or fighting.
    fisticuffs – obviously
    go me – fight me
    buckets off – best kind of fight, where both players who are lined up to fight, give each other time to take off their own helmet both as a sign that they are ready to tilt, and as a sign of respect, especially if one guy has a visor on
    sinbin – penalty box
    pine – bench
    riding pine – being benched