An Overview of Ice Hockey Terminology

Hockey terminology is, hands-down, the most colorful among the four major sports. Incorporating it into your daily vocabulary is a bit risky though, because you'd be taking the chance of being mistaken for a Canadian.

  • Lord Stanley's Cup- The trophy that is handed to the champion of an NHL season. The "holy grail" of hockey.
  • Vezina Trophy- Award to the best goalie in the NHL during the regular season.
  • Art Ross Trophy- awarded to the top scorer in the NHL during the regular season. Wayne Gretzky won this trophy a record 10 times.
  • Norris Trophy- Awarded to the NHL's top defenseman. Bobby Orr has won it eight consecutive times.
  • Hart Trophy- The NHL's most valuable player award.
  • Calder Trophy- Awarded to the rookie of the year.
  • Lady Byng Trophy- The award to the player that best displays gentlemanly play during the regulart season.
  • Original Six- The six franchises that played in the same division until the expansion of 1967. They include: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York and Toronto.
  • Icing- Clearing the puck into the opposition's end before crossing center ice and it passes the goal line.
  • Offsides- A player with possession of the puck crosses the blue line before the puck does.
  • Backcheck- When a forward gets back on defense to help or when the defense is out of position.
  • Forecheck- The team with possession of the puck advances it into the opposition's zone with the ultimate outcome of scoring a goal.
  • Poke-check/stick-check- A defense play in which a player literally pokes the puck off another player's stick.
  • Pulling the Goalie- A team will pull their goalie in order to get an extra offensive player on the ice. It is done usually when a team is down a goal in the final minute of play.
  • Power Play- A team has a man advantage over the other team due to a penalty. It could be either a one or two man advantage.
  • The Slot- The spot on the ice in front of the net, between the crease and just above the face off circle.
  • The Crease- The shaded oval in front of the net.
  • Plus-Minus- A stat in hockey that people need the most explanation. A plus is awarded to all the players on the ice when either an even-strength or shorthanded goal is scored. A minus is given to the players on the ice when a goal is scored against them in either an even-strength or shorthanded situation.
  • PIM- Penalty minutes.
  • Five Hole- The area between a goalie's legs.
  • Top Shelf- The upper corners of a goalie net. Basically, the area of the net above the goalie's shoulders.
  • Roofing one- Slang for going top shelf.
  • Sweater- The old school term for a team's jersey.
  • Changing "On the Fly"- A team changes lines during the course of play.
  • Gretzky's Office- The area right behind the net.
  • Zamboni- The machine that cleans the ice in between periods.
  • Tic-Tac-Toe- A pretty passing play that results in a goal.
  • One-Timer- A hard shot taken directly from a pass.
  • Old Time Hockey- Describes the era of hockey when it was considered rough and tumble.
  • Chicklets- Slang for a player's teeth.
  • Melon- Slang for a player's head.
  • Twig- Slang for a hockey stick.
  • Mullet- An interesting hair-do made fashionable by hockey players in the 1980's.
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