You may know all the rules of hockey and be able to quote stats late into the night, but are you fluent in hockey slang? Spoken among players on the ice and on the bench, this not-so-secret language tends to sound like gibberish to the uninitiated.
Lucky for you, we’ve created a handy guide to help you understand what your favourite players are saying:
Bar down: Describes a shot that hits the crossbar and goes into the net. Ideally makes a satisfying “clank” as the puck hits the bar.
Barn: An arena.
Barn burner: An exciting, fast-paced, high-scoring game.
Beauty: An ideal hockey player, both on and off the ice.
Biscuit: The puck.
Biscuit in the basket: A goal.
Celly: Celebration after a goal. Comes in varying levels of jubilation.
Chirp/beak: The ongoing flow of insults during a game. Designed to irritate opponents and throw them off their game.
Chiclets/jibs: Teeth. Often scattered on the ice.
Dangle: Slick stickhandling; series of dekes in a row; fast skating.
Deke: To fake out an opponent by pretending to go one way then rapidly changing directions. From the word “decoy.”
Duster: Bad player. Sits around on the bench collecting dust.
Face wash: Sticking a dirty glove in an opposing player’s face.
Fishbowl: A helmet with a full plastic face shield (as opposed to a “birdcage”). Usually meant as an insult.
Five hole: The space between the goalie’s legs.
Flow: Great hair.
Gino/Geno: A goal.
Gongshow: A situation that is completely out of control, absurdly hilarious or absolutely ridiculous.
Gordie Howe hat trick: A player who gets a goal, an assist and gets into a fight all in the same game. A “natural Gordie Howe hat trick” has all these things happening in the same period.
Grinder: Hard working player who doesn’t necessarily score much, but sets up plays and wears down the opponents.
Grocery stick: The fourth player on the bench, sitting between the forwards and the defence. Akin to those dividers on grocery store conveyor belts.
Hoser: Loser. Refers to the days before Zamboni machines when the losing team had to hose down the ice.
Miles: Refers to the amount of time left in a game.
Mitts: Refers to a player’s stick-handling ability or hands. Often combined with “silky” when a player is especially proficient.
Muzzy: A moustache. Also known as a “lip sweater.”
One-timer or One-T: To shoot the puck directly off a pass, without stopping it first.
Pigeon: A guy who picks up a bunch of “trashy” goals in front of the net.
Plug: A useless player on the opposing team (although it can sometimes be used to refer to a player on your own team).
Plumber: A player, akin to a grinder, who digs the puck out of corners and works in the “dirty” areas of the ice.
Pylon: A player who just stands there.
Sauce: A saucer pass (a pass that goes into the air over an opponent’s stick and lands at a receiver). So called because the puck resembles a flying saucer.
The Show: The NHL. Players aim to “make it to The Show.”
Sieve: A terrible goalie.
Snipe: A really nice goal.
Stripes: A referee.
Sunburn: A reference to the red goal light going off repeatedly behind the goalie’s net, resulting in his neck “burning”.
Tendy: The goaltender.
Twig: A hockey stick.
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