Top 250+ Ice Hockey Terms

Arena: The building where the hockey game takes place

Art Ross Trophy: Award for the player who scores the most points during an NHL season

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

Back Check: The forwards come back to help the defensemen stop the opposing teams offensive attack

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’.

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. 

Bench Minor: A 2 minute penalty given to the coaches or the players on the bench.

Blind Pass: When a player passes the puck to a teammate without looking where that player is

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 

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. 

Body Check: When another player uses his shoulder to hit another player (along the boards or in the open ice)

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Breakaway: A play that develops where a player gets past all of the defensive players and goes in on the goalie one-on-one 

Breakout: The system a team uses to move the puck out of the defensive zone

C: The term for the player who is the Captain of the team; this player will also have a ‘C’ on his sweater

C: Also, the letter to designate the position of center

Calder Trophy: The trophy awarded to the top rookie of the year in the NHL

Carom: The term used for a puck that bounces off the boards or another player on the ice

Centermen: One of the five positions in hockey and the player who lines up in the middle of the three forwards

Changing on the Fly: When a player substitutes off the ice for another player on the bench while the play is still happening

Composite Sticks: Sticks that are made out of the new type of low-weight high performance materials versus the traditional wood sticks

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

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

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

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

Deke: When a player with the puck uses a move or series of moves to move around an opposing player or goalie

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

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. 

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

Down Low: The area that is behind the goaltender and goal line in the offensive zone

Draw: Another name for a faceoff

Drop Pass: When a player, while skating forward, passes the puck to a player that is behind them

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 

Empty-Net Goal: When a goal is scored into the net when the goalie has been pulled and is not there

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

Even Strength: When each team has the same number of players on the ice and is playing 5-on-5 hockey

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

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

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Fans: The people watching and cheering on the hockey teams

Farm Team: The team that has and is developing the minor league players under contract for the NHL team. 

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

Forechecking: The strategy of a team attacking the defensive zone to gain possession of the puck and setup scoring chances

Freeze the Puck: The act done by the goaltender of covering the puck to produce a stoppage in play

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

General Manager: The person who is charged with constructing the team through drafting, trading and signing players

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

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  

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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

Goaltender Interference: When a player hits or shoves a goalie in attempt to disrupt them from making a save

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. 

Hand Pass: Using your hand to pass the puck along the ice. Only certain hand passes are legal. 

Hart Memorial Trophy: The award given to the player that is deemed to be the Most Valuable to his team during the NHL season

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. 

Hat Trick: When a player scores three goals in one game

High Stick: 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

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Hooking: A penalty caused by a player using the blade of his stick to pull on a player when he is behind them

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

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

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

Interference: A penalty when a player hits or slows up an opponent who does not have the puck

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

Jock Strap: The protective padding that a player uses to protect their groin and private area

Lady Byng Trophy: The award given to the player who plays with a high-level of skill and sportsmanlike character

Lateral Movement: Used to describe the side-to-side movement of a goaltender

Lead Pass: When a defensemen passes the puck up to a forward as it attempts a breakout of the zone

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

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

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)

Major Penalty: A 5 minute penalty that is called for an egregious act within the game

Mask: The type of helmet worn by the goalie

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.

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

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

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NHL: National Hockey League, the highest-level professional league in the world

Natural Hat Trick: Scoring three goals in a row without anyone else on either team scoring

Net: The object that each team wants to shoot the puck into to score a goal

Neutral Zone: The area that is between the two blue lines with the center faceoff circle in the middle

Norris Trophy: The award given to the best defensemen during an NHL season

Number-one Goaltender: Of the two goaltenders on the roster this refers to the goaltender who plays the majority of games

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.

Offence: The term used for the strategy of players trying to score a goal. 

Offensive Defensemen: A defensemen who has a talent for helping out the forwards with scoring goals.  

Official: The four officials (2 referees and 2 linesman) that facilitate and enforce the rules of the game. 

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

Offside: When an offensive player goes over the blue line and enters the offensive zone before the puck does

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

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

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Original Six: This refers to the group of six franchises who survived from the launch of the NHL in the first five decades. They are: Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks

Overtime: The additional time (5 minutes in the regular season) added onto the game that ends in a tie after regulation. 

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. 

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

Penalty Box: When a player gets a penalty this is where they go and sit until their penalty has been served

Penalty Clock: The clock that keeps track of the amount of time left in a player’s penalty

Penalty Kill: A team that is trying to defend it’s zone until their teammate who has a penalty has served his time

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

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Period: A game is divided up into three periods of twenty minutes each

Play-by-Play: The term used for broadcasters who give a description of the game to television and radio viewers

Playoffs: The tournament made up of the top 16 teams from the regular season to see who will win the Stanley Cup  

Point Shot: A shot taken by a player towards the goaltender from the blue line while in the offensive zone

Poke Check: Using the blade of your stick to knock the puck off your opponents stick. 

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. 

Presidents’ Trophy: The trophy that is awarded to the team with the highest number of points earned during regular season play in the NHL

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

Pull the Goalie: When a team removes the goalie from their net to send out an extra player to try and score a goal 

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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

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

Red Light: When a goal is scored the goal judge will hit a button and a red light will come on

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

Referee: The official who is charged with running the game by the rules and determining if there are penalties within the game

Rink: The entire ice surface that the game of hockey is being played on

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 

Rookie: A player who is playing his first year in the league

Roughing: A penalty given to a player who is being overly aggressive

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 

Scoresheet: The official write up of the game that captures the names of all goals, assists, penalties and players played in the game

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

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.

Shorthanded: When a team has one or two less players on the ice due to a penalty taken by their team

Shutout: When a team and goalie allow no goals against by their opponent during a game

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

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Slashing: A penalty that is called when a player hits another player with his stick

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 from the slot.

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. 

Sniper: A player that is great at scoring goals 

Split the Defence: When a player takes the puck in-between the two defensemen without being stopped. 

Stanley Cup: The name of the trophy that a team gets when they win the NHL championship playoff tournament

Stay-at-home Defensemen: A defensemen who is particularly good at defensive play and does not worry about helping out the forwards on offence

Stick: The object that players use to control and shoot the puck into the other opponents net

Sudden Death: The term referred to an overtime goal that will automatically end the game when someone scores

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

Taking the Man: A term referred to the defensive strategy that requires a player to cover a player from the opposing team

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. 

Tee Up the Puck: A term that the puck is being setup by a player to take a slap shot

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

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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

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

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

Tripping: A penalty where a player knocks another player down with his stick or foot 

Turnover: When a player gives away the puck to the opposition

Vezina Trophy: The award given to the best goaltender during the year in the NHL

Visor: The clear piece of plastic put on a helmet that protects the eyes of a player

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

Wings: Refers to the two wingers (right and left) who play with the centermen as forwards

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

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

Zamboni: The machine that is used to clean the ice surface between periods

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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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