Hockey Terminology


Common Hockey Terms
( Source: )


Aerobic conditioning: Aerobic means “with oxygen.” A player needs to have aerobic conditioning in order to efficiently use oxygen and therefore have endurance over the length of the game.

Anaerobic conditioning: Anaerobic means “without oxygen.” Short bursts of intense energy are needed for many hockey plays. Anaerobic conditioning is needed to be able to optimally execute these plays by having stored energy that can be released without high oxygen intake.

Assist: Individual scoring records are kept for each player. A player that scores a goal is given one scoring point. A player that passes the puck to another player who has scored is given an “assist” and is also credited with one scoring point. No more than two assists can be awarded on any one goal.

Attackers: Players who bring the puck into the offensive zone are known as attackers. They can include only one player or all the skaters on a team.

Attacking zone: Sometimes also called the offensive zone, the attacking zone is the one third of the rink inside the blue line that contains the defender’s goal.


Back checking: When the puck changes hand, the offensive team becomes the defensive team. In order to slow the attack of the offensive team, each player on the defensive team is assigned an attacker and must come close to them and either strip them of the puck or intercept a pass intended for them. This strategy is known as “back-checking” and should be employed by all skaters on the ice.

Backhand shot: A backhand shot is a shot, which originates from the backhand side of the stick. Although backhand shots are usually not as hard as forehand shots, a backhand shot can surprise a goalie and score, especially when the player is close to the net.

Backhand: The puck is carried on the stick during stick handling on either the forehand or backhand side. The “backhand” side of the stick is the side, which is on the outside of the stick curve.

Beach Hockey: A new version of in-line hockey developed by ESPN. The rink is a portable in-line rink (164′ x 74′) and is set up on a beach. The rules are modified for a fast game with few face-offs.

Bench penalty: A bench penalty can be called on a team for violations of the rules, which are not specific to a player. Any team member can serve the penalty.

Blocker: The goaltender has a special glove known as a blocker which is worn on the hand the holds the stick. The blocker is used to block shots that are high on the goalie’s stick side.

Blue Lines: The ice surface is divided into sections by two blue lines. The blue lines are 60 feet from the goal line (the goal sits on the goal line.) The blue lines are 12 inches wide and extend from board to board. Blue lines are not used on in-line rinks.

Boards: The boards surround the rink and are four feet high and are almost always made of wood. Most indoor rinks add Plexiglas on top of the boards for another 4 to 6 feet. Boards in a newer rink are designed to “give” when players collide with them.

Body check: If a player contacts another player in order to dislodge the puck it is known as a body check. Body checking is illegal in no check hockey. However, if a player is within on arms length of another player contact is allowed in no check hockey.

Box: A technique used to defend against the power play. The four skaters arrange themselves in a loose box in the defensive zone.

Break out: When a team gains control of the puck in their defensive end they will “break out” with the puck to go on the attack. Most teams have established break out plays to accomplish this important part of the game.

Breakaway: When one attacking player manages to get by all defenders and is skating in on the goalie by him or herself it is known as a breakaway (also sometimes know as one on none.)

Breezers: Hockey pants are know as breezers (based on our anecdotal research, they are only referred to as Breezers in Wisconsin and Minnesota) they are shorts that come down to the top of the knee and extend high over the waist. Breezers have padding in many places in order to cushion shots and falls. Because breezers are usually very wide in the legs, a fair amount of “breeze” will blow into them when a player skates – hence the name.

Butterfly save: When a goalie extends both legs in opposite directions in order to stop a shot it is known as a butterfly save.


Captain: Every team selects a captain (and assistant captains). The captain wears a “C” on their jersey and the assistants wear an “A.” It is the captain’s responsibility to interface with the referees and with the league in recreational hockey.

Catching glove (Catcher): The goalie has a catching glove on the non-stick hand. The catching glove is somewhat like a baseball first base glove but is specially designed to absorb the high velocity of a hockey shot.

Center ice: Center ice is the area around the red centerline of the rink.

Center line: The center line bisects the middle of the rink. It is red, 12 inches wide, and on many rinks it is a dashed line.

Center: In ice hockey, the center is the middle player of the forwards. The center normally takes the face offs.

Change on the fly: A team may change its players even as play continues. This is known as “changing on the fly.” A player coming on the rink cannot play the puck until the player they are replacing is off the rink.

Charging: Charging is called for taking two steps before applying a body check. It is a two minute minor penalty. It should never occur in a well disciplined game of no check hockey.

Check: A check is used to gain the puck from an opponent. Body checking and stick checking are the two forms of checking used to accomplish this end. The term check is sometimes used to indicate a player that is being covered closely in one on one defensive situation – for example: “make sure you cover your check closely as they come into the neutral zone.” (See also “Finish a check” and “Close Checking”)

Cherry Picker: A player who stays at center ice and does not help their team on defense. They hope to pick up a break out pass with no defenders in their way. (We hate cherry pickers because the authors of this site play defense: hey cherry picker – get in the game!)

Chip it out: When a team wants to get out of their zone, they can pass the puck to one of their wings who is close to the point. If the wing cannot catch the pass and begin to skate into the neutral zone they can “chip” it by just touching it and directing it into the neutral zone. Chipping the puck is considered a very conservative style as the puck as it is difficult to begin a formal rush toward the opponent and it is likely that the other team will get possession.

Clearing: Clearing has two meanings. In ice hockey you clear the puck out of your defensive zone by shooting it out of the zone – and not to a teammate. If you pass to to a team mate it is called a “clearing pass.”

However in in-line hockey clearing is equivalent of ice hockey’s icing. If the puck is passed by a defensive player over the center line and the goal line without being touched by a player the referee stops play and brings it back into the defensive zone for a face-off.

Close Checking: This term is usually applied to a team strategy. Each opponent player is assigned to a player and is shadowed and touched similar to man on man defense in basketball or football. This technique can sometimes slow very fast skaters.

Coach: The coach does not play but remains in the players box during the game. Coaches determine player lines and make line changes during a game. Coaches also develop game strategy and run practices

Coast to Coast: A player skates from their end to the opponents end without passing or losing the puck..

Cooperalls: Cooperalls are a type of hockey pants that extend from the waist to the ankles. Cooperalls are worn in place of breezers and do not require hockey socks.

Corner drill: Before a game begins some teams will use a corner drill to warm up the team’s passing and shooting. The players form two groups in each corner. One player skates toward the blue line and then cuts back toward the net. A player from the opposing corner then passes to the breaking player and the player shoots. The play is then repeated from the opposite corner.

Crease: The semi-circular area in front of the goal is the goaltender’s crease. A goal cannot be scored when an offensive player is in the crease. If an offensive player skates through the crease play will be stopped. The semi-circular area in front of the official scorekeepers box is the referee’s crease. No player may enter the referee’s crease when the referee is assessing a penalty and reporting it to the scorekeeper.

Cross-checking: When a player hits or pushes another player with their stick with both hands on the stick and no part of the stick on the ice cross checking is called. It is a two minute minor penalty.

Crossover: The crossover is a skating technique is which one skate is placed in front of the skate on the opposite leg. It can be done while skating forward or backward. Crossovers are used to maneuver in the corner or to accelerate on an open portion of the rink.

Cycling: Cycling is an offensive strategy used to keep control of the puck by keeping it close the boards. Offensive players make short passes to each other along the boards until they see an opening to pass to a teammate who is moving into the slot for a shot.


Dasher: The lower portion of the boards that encircle the hockey rink. Sometimes the dasher is different color than the boards.

Defensive player: Players who are primarily used for defense are called defense or “D”s for short.

Defensive shell: When a team plays shorted handed because of a penalty they form a defensive shell. This is usually a box formation for four skaters or a triangle for three.

Defensive zone: The hockey rink is divided into zones by the blue lines. The zone in which a team’s goalie is located is that team’s defensive zone.

Deflection: A deflection occurs when one player shoots at the goal and a teammate changes the direction of the shot with their stick before it reaches the goal.

Deke (Deking): A deke is used by an offensive player with the puck to confuse a defender or goalie. It is a fake or feint move. A common deke is to lower the shoulder in one direction but actually turn in the other. “Deke” originated as a shortened form of “decoy.” Ernest Hemingway used “deke” as a noun referring to hunting decoys in his 1950 novel Across the River and Into the Trees (“I offered to put the dekes out with him”). About a decade later, it began appearing in ice-hockey contexts in Canadian print sources as both a verb and a noun (“the act of faking an opponent out of position”). Today, “deke” has scored in many other sports, including baseball, basketball, and football. It has also checked its way into more general usage to refer to deceptive or evasive moves or actions. However, this general application of “deke” has never made it past the defenders. It occurs too rarely in English to merit its own sense in the dictionary.

Delayed off side: A delayed offside is indicated when a puck is shot across the blue line into the offensive zone with an offensive player inside the zone but is not touched by any offensive player. The delayed offside is indicated by the linesman with an upraised arm. If an offensive player touches the puck inside the zone offsides is called. If the offensive players return to the neutral zone without touching the puck, no offsides is called.

Delayed penalty: When the referee determines that a penalty will be assessed against a player they will raise their arm. If the puck is controlled by the team that does not have the player who committed the penalty, play continues until the other team touches the puck. This is know as a delayed penalty. A common strategy during a delayed penalty is to pull the goalie and add a player, as the other team can never get off a shot.

Digger: A player who is a hard worker and goes into the corners to regain possession of the puck.

Dive: A player exaggerates being hooked or tripped to draw a penalty on the opposing team.

Draw: During a face-off, each opposing player will try to get the draw. The draw occurs when a player succeeds in getting control of the puck and pulling it back to a teammate.

Drop pass: When an offensive player enters the offensive zone with the puck, they may leave it on the ice for a trailing offensive player to pick up and pass or shoot. Because the player leaving the puck appears to push the puck backwards it is known as a drop pass.

Dump and chase (Dump in): The dump in is an offensive strategy in which the puck is shot into the offensive zone corner by the offensive team from outside the blue line. This strategy is usually employed if the offensive team is having trouble getting though the defense at the blue line or if the offensive team wants to change lines.


Elbow pads: Elbow pads are worn by players to protect their elbows and the portions of the arms that above and below the elbow. Players with good quality shoulder pads, elbow pads and gloves should have very little of their arms exposed.

Empty Net: When a team that is behind “pulls” their goaltender so that they have an extra attacker to try and score a goal this is known as an “Empty Net.” This usually occurs when a team is down one goal late in a game. As a result of the goaltender being “pulled” the net is empty. If an opposing players shots and scores a goal into the “empty net” it is sometimes referred to as an “empty netter.”

End zone: The end zone is the portion of the rink behind the goal line.


Face guard or mask: The face guard attaches to the hockey helmet. It can be made of a wire mesh or Plexiglas. A face guard that only covers the eyes is called a half shield.

Face-off circle: There are five face off circles on the rink. When the officials execute a face-off at the dot within these circles, all other players must stay outside the circle.

Face-off: The face off is the mechanism the referee or linesman uses to restart play. A player from each team lines up facing each other and the official drops the puck between them to start play.

Fair Play: A league scoring system that takes into account penalty minutes is known as Fair Play. Each team gets one fair play point per game in addition to the normal points awarded (e.g. 2 for a win, 1 for tie or OT loss, 0 for a loss.) Each league establishes a penalty minute threshold (e.g. 12 minutes/game.) If a team exceeds the threshold they lose their Fair Play point. Penalty minutes can also be awarded against coaches and in some cases fans. The goal of Fair Play is to focus the game on hockey skills instead of excessive roughness, fighting and obnoxious behavior from fans and coaches.

Fake shot: A fake shot is executed by bringing the stick back as though the player were ready to take a slap shot. However, the player then quickly brings the stick back down to the ice and begins to stick handle. Fake shots can be used to deke around a defender or to freeze a goalie before executing a different type of shot.

Falling on the puck: If a player accidentally falls on the puck and the officials can no longer see it they will stop play. If a player falls on the puck intentionally to stop play the referee can call a minor penalty.

Finish a Check: In regular checking hockey a player is allowed to hit their opponent if they have had the puck and have gotten rid of it. This is known as finishing a check and is not allowed in no-check hockey.

Five hole: The potential scoring areas around a goal are numbered from one to four starting in the lower right corner and proceeding clockwise at each corner of the net. The “5 hole” is between the goalies legs on the ice.

Flex: Hockey sticks are manufactured with different degrees of flex – medium to extra stiff. A stronger player usually wants a stiffer stick in order to impart more velocity to a shot.

Flip pass: A flip pass is used to pass to a teammate by lifting the puck slightly off the ice as it travels.

Flip shot: A flip shot is taken by cocking the wrists and releasing them quickly. Very little arm or body weight shifting is used. Flip shots are normally taken close in to the goal

Fore-checking: Fore-checking is a technique to gain control of the puck in the offensive zone when the defensive team has the puck. The offensive team fore-checks by sending one or two players in close to the defensive player who has the puck in order to take it away.

Forehand pass: A pass, which originates from the forehand side of the stick.

Forehand shot: A shot, which come off of the forehand side of the stick

Forehand: The puck is carried on the stick during stick handling on either the forehand or backhand side. The “forehand” side of the stick is the side, which is on the inside of the stick curve.

Freezing the puck: When a goalie falls on a puck on the rink it is known as freezing the puck and play stops.


Game misconduct: A player is suspended for the remainder of the game if they receive a game misconduct. Their team continues to play at full strength unless a minor penalty is also assessed.

Garter belt: A garter belt is worn by a player to keep their hockey socks up. Some athletic underwear now comes with Velcro to attach the socks so that the garter belt is not needed.

Glove save: When a goalie catches a shot in their glove it is known as a glove save.

Goal judge: Many rinks have a small area behind each goal behind the boards for the goal judge. This individual watches the goal line in the net and indicates a goal by turning on a light above the goal judge. When no goal judge is present the referee calls the goals.

Goal line: The goal line is a 2 inch wide red line that crosses the rink and is aligned in the front of the net. To score a goal the puck must completely cross the goal line inside the net.

Goal: When the puck crosses the goal line inside the net it is a goal. The referee normally makes this determination. The word “goal” is also used to refer the net itself that a four foot by six foot structure of pipe enclosed by netting.

Goalkeeper: The goalkeeper is also called the “goalie” or “net minder.” The goalkeeper wears special equipment and functions to defend the net. Goalies must stay on their side of the center red line.

Goon: A player who may lack finesse but specializes in hard hitting checks to interfere with the other team. Even no-check hockey sometimes attracts goons. If there are lot of them in your league we recommend you find another league.

Grinding: When a puck is shot into a corner of the rink and two opposing players attempt to gain position, grinding may occur. The players may have close body contact and attempt to gain control by kicking the puck or using their stick with one hand. This activity may take some time with a lots of hands and legs flying – hence the term grinding.


Half shield: A half shield is a hockey face mask that only covers the upper half of the face – from the nose up. It is usually made of Plexiglas.

Hand pass: If the puck is in the air and a player hits it toward another player on their team it is known as a hand pass and the referee will stop play for a face-off.

Hard Around: A hard shot from an offensive player taken into the offensive zone that follows the boards across the blue line, into the corner, behind the net and into to opposite corner. The hard around is used set up offensive plays (particularly power plays) or to give a team extra time on a line change.

Hash marks: Hash marks are small lines, which are perpendicular to the edge of the face off circles. Players cannot encroach on the hash mark areas during face-offs.

Hat trick: When a player scores three goals in a game it is known as a hat trick. Three goals in a row is a “pure” hat trick.

It may surprise some people to learn that the term “hat trick” actually originated in British cricket. A bowler who retired three batsmen with three consecutive balls in cricket was entitled to a new hat at the expense of the club to commemorate this feat. Eventually, the phrase was applied to the same player scoring three goals in any goal sport, and baseball announcers now occasionally refer to a batter who gets three hits in three turns at bat as having managed a hat trick as well. The phrase finally broadened to include any string of three important successes or achievements, in any field.

Headman the puck: When a player passes to a teammate that is ahead of them on the attack this is headmanning the puck. It also works if you are a woman player – we just don’t know what it is called!

High in the zone: The area between the blue line and the hash marks on the face off circle is known as high in the zone.

High sticking: If a player’s stick is raised over their waist when they contact another player it is known as high sticking and the player will incur a minor penalty.

Hitting the pipe: When a shot strikes the metal frame of the goal it is known as hitting the pipe.

Hockey stop: One method of stopping in both ice skating and in-line is to quickly plant the skates perpendicular to the direction of travel. This can be done on one foot or both feet and is known as a hockey stop.

Hockey tree: A hockey tree is constructed of wood, has a number of arms and is approximately 5 feet tall. Is used to dry a player’s equipment after playing. Check out our instructions on building a hockey tree by following this link.

Holding: If a player holds an opponent with their hands or stick or in any other way a two minute minor penalty for holding will be assessed. (As of 2006 this penalty is now more aggressively enforced in the NHL and USA Hockey.)

Hooking: A two minute minor penalty will be called on a player who uses their stick to impede the progress of an opponent by hooking their stick around them. (As of 2006 this penalty is now more aggressively enforced in the NHL and USA Hockey.)

Hot Dog: A player who is good and frequently shows off to let people know it.


Icing: When the defensive team shoots the puck from behind the red line into the opponent’s offensive zone and across the red goal line, icing is called. The puck is then taken back into the defensive zone for a face off. In some leagues the puck must be shot across both blue lines for icing to be called. The linesman or referee may “wave off” icing if they feel the players in their defensive zone could play the puck.

Illegal body checking: In no-checking hockey, a two minute “roughing” penalty will be assessed whenever a player impedes the movement of a puck-carrying opponent by pushing the player with the hands or arms or deliberately contacting him with the shoulder, hip or any other part of the torso.

There are instances when considerable body contact between the puck carrier and an opponent may occur that will not be penalized, provided that there has been no overt hip, shoulder or arm contact to physically force the opponent off the puck. Likewise, there will be no penalty assessed if the puck carrier unsuccessfully attempts to skate through too small an opening between the boards and a stationary opponent and a collision occurs, unless there has been an overt action to body check the puck carrier.

Deliberate body contact on the part of the puck carrier may also be penalized under this rule. In order for a body checking penalty to be assessed, enough contact must have occurred to impede the movements of the puck carrier.

Intentional offside: An intentional offside is called when the referee feels that a team caused the offside to obtain a stoppage of play or when the puck is shot into the offensive zone and other offensive players are below the hash marks in the offensive zone. The face-off takes place in the offending teams defensive zone.

Interference: A two minute minor penalty will be imposed on a player who interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who is not in possession of the puck, or who deliberately knocks a stick out of an opponent’s hand or who prevents a player who has dropped his stick or any other piece of equipment from regaining possession of it.


Kick save: When a goaltender kicks an incoming shot out of the net it is known as a kick save.


Lactic acid: Lactic acid builds up in the muscles as a byproduct of oxygen use and can cause cramping. Aerobic conditioning can prevent excessive lactic acid build up.

Left wing lock: The left wing lock is a defensive strategy in which the left wing drops back to play parallel to the defense when the other team begins their breakout.

Lift pass: A lift place clears the ice by a few inches on its way to another player. It is used to pass over an opponents stick

Line: A group of players who play as a unit is known as a line. The center and the wings are considered a line as are a defensive pair.

Linesman: The Linesman is the official(s) that stays next to the blue line. The linesman calls offsides and icing. The linesman also drops the puck for face offs. All other penalties and calls are made by the referee. Linesmen are also sometimes called assistant referees.

Low in the zone: When a player is between the goal line and the hash marks on the face off circle they are positioned low in the zone.


Major penalty: A major penalty will require the offending player to serve five minutes in the penalty box. Major penalties are called for more severe occurrences of all minor penalty types.

Manager: A manager on a recreational team will perform miscellaneous tasks to make the team operate more efficiently. Task includes such items as: scheduling ice time, letting players know about changes in the schedule etc. Most managers are players also.

Minor penalty: A player must serve two minutes in the penalty box for a minor penalty.

Misconduct penalty: A player receiving a misconduct penalty must serve 10 minutes in the penalty box. The player’s team does not have to play shorthanded during the misconduct penalty.


Net: The net is also know as the goal and is a metal frame, six feet by four feet, which is enclosed by netting.

Neutral zone: The neutral zone is the area between the two blue lines. (It is also the area of space between the Romulans and the Federation for you Star Trek fans!)

Neutral zone trap: A defensive system that floods the neutral zone with defenders. This is usually done by using only a one player forecheck and swinging one wing back into the neutral when the other team is breaking out. The neutral zone trap defense is difficult to penetrate as it shuts down many of the normal breakout passes.

No checking: No checking is the type of hockey where no body checking is allowed. Stick checking and some contact between players are allowed in no-check hockey.

No hit hockey: A Canadian expression for no check hockey.


OD (in line skate diameter): OD means the outside diameter of a wheel on an in-line skate. In-line skates can be rockered by having a smaller OD on the front and back wheels of the skate than on the middle wheels.

Offsides: An offsides is called when a player precedes the puck into the offensive zone as indicated by the blue line. When an offside occurs the referee stops play and the face off occurs outside the offensive zone. Offsides is not called in in-line hockey as there are no blue lines.

Offensive zone: Sometimes also called the attacking zone, the offensive zone is the one third of the rink inside the blue line that contains the defender’s goal.

Official goal: The referee makes the determination if a goal is scored and who scored it. This is know as the official goal. If a defensive player accidentally hits a puck into his or her own net, the offensive player nearest the puck receives the official goal.

Old time hockey: A Canadian expression for no check hockey.

Olympic sized rinks: Olympic sized rinks are approximately 100 feet wide and the same length as traditional rinks. This additional 20 feet of width provides for a more open passing game.

One on One: This is a situation in which a player carries the puck into the offensive zone with only one defending player to beat.

One timer: When a pass goes to an offensive player and they hit it for a shot instead of receiving the pass it is known as a one timer. One timers are almost always slap shots.

One touch pass: A pass to a player that is deflected quickly to another player is known as a one touch pass.

Open hockey: Open hockey is recreational hockey without set positions or teams. Players attend an open hockey session and divide the participants into two teams. Each team can only play six players at a time. As players tire they leave the ice and a teammate takes their position. Therefore open hockey play does not normally involve lines. Open hockey is almost always played as no check, no contact hockey.

Outlet Pass: The outlet pass is made from an offensive player in their defensive zone to a teammate to break out of the zone and move play into neutral ice.


Penalty box: There are two penalty boxes on the side of a hockey rink – one for each team. They are normally located next to the scorer’s area. Penalized players must remain in the penalty box until their penalty time has expired

Penalty killing: A team that is short one or two players due to penalties is engaged in penalty killing. Strategies to kill (use up) the penalty time include shooting the puck the length of the ice or gaining possession and skating in circles away from the opposing team.

Penalty shot: When a player, in control of the puck on the opponent’s side of the center red line and having no other opponent to pass than the goalkeeper, is tripped or otherwise fouled from behind, thus preventing a reasonable scoring opportunity, a penalty shot will be awarded to the non-offending team. The player who is fouled will then have the opportunity to skate in on the goalie, with no defending players in the zone, for one shot.

Penalty: A penalty is assessed against a player who on the ice for an infraction of the rules. The player must go the penalty box and reside there until their penalty time is up.

Periods: An ice hockey game normally has three periods of play with a rest time and/or ice resurfacing between each period. Periods can be between 10 and 20 minutes in length and can be either stop time or running time. In-line hockey frequently is played with only two periods.

PIM: PIM is an abbreviation that is used to indicate a player’s total Penalties – in minutes.

Player’s benches: Each team has a player’s bench along side the rink. Players not currently on the rink must stay on the player’s bench.

Plus/Minus: When a goal is scored for a player’s team while the player is on the ice it is counted as +1. If a goal is scored against a player’s team while the player is one the ice it counted as -1. The total for the player is known as plus/minus. This statistic is not normally collected in adult recreational hockey.

Plyometrics: A series of exercises that involve jumping and rapid foot movement. Plyometrics can substantially improve a player’s agility. (For more information see Complete Conditioning for Hockey by Peter Twist.)

Point: The point is an area just inside the blue line of the attacking zone. It is normally occupied by the attacking team’s defensive players.

Poke check: A poke check is used to knock the puck away from the puck carrier. It is normally used by defenders against attacking players. The poke check is accomplished by moving the stick quickly on the ice to “poke” it off the attacker’s stick.

Power play: When one team has a one or two player advantage due to penalties on the other team, the team with advantage has a power play.

Pre-game warm-up: Before most games in adult recreational hockey there is a period known as the pre game. During the pre game, each team practices skating and shooting in its own end of the rink..

Puck: In ice hockey the puck is made of vulcanized rubber (one inch thick with a three inch diameter.) Pucks for inline can be balls or plastic objects with small wheels or bearings on the bottom. Blue pucks for young players weigh only four ounces.

Pulling the goaltender: When a team is behind by one goal they can gain a skater advantage by pulling the goaltender. The goalie skates to the bench after the puck enters the offensive zone and a skater (usually a wing or center) are added.


Rebound: When a shot hits a goaltender and bounces back into play it is known as a rebound.

Red line: The center line that divides the rink.

Referee: The referee is the main official in charge of the game. The referee calls all penalties and indicates when goals are scored.

RICE: RICE is an acronym that is useful in remembering immediate treatment for sprains. It means; Rest, Ice (on the sprain), Compression, and Elevation (of the sprained area.)

Rink markings: The rink is marked with face off circles, the blue and red lines and the goal and referee creases. The markings are normally painted on the surface of the rink under the ice (for ice hockey.)

Rink Rat: A young player who would rather hang out around the hockey rink practicing and playing hockey than just about anything else.

Rink zones: The rink is divided into the offensive, neutral, and defensive zones in ice hockey. In-line hockey has only the offensive and defensive zones because it does not use blue lines.

Rink: The surface on which hockey is played and surrounding boards are known as the rink.

Rockering: Ice skates can be sharpened in a manner so that the middle section of the blade is the only portion of the blade in contact with the ice. This is known as rockering and is done to allow players to be able to change direction more quickly. Rockering can also be accomplished on inline skates by putting smaller wheels on the front and back of the skates.

Roughing: A two minute minor or five minute major penalty may be assessed if the referee feels a player is guilty of unnecessary roughness.

Running time: If the clock does not stop when the referee stops play, the game is being played in running time. In some leagues minor penalties are three minutes long when a game is played in running time.

Rush: When a team moves the puck into the offensive zone by passing or skating it is known as rushing the puck.


Save: When a goaltender blocks a shot from entering the goal it is known as a save.

Scramble: If the puck is loose in front of the goal and being batted by players of both teams it is known as a scramble.

Screening the goalie: When a offensive player stands between the goalie and the puck in order to obstruct the goalie’s view it is known as screening the goalie.

Shadow: A defensive strategy is to play “one on one” where each offensive player shadows an offensive player on the other team by staying close to them as play moves into the neutral zone.

Shift: The time a player is on the ice is known as a shift. Most teams like to keep a shift to 90 seconds or less.

Shin Pads: Shin pads are worn on the front of the legs from the ankle to the top of the knee and are made of a hard material that will stop a slap shot. Most good shin pads have a heavy felt like material that wraps around the back of the legs.

Short handed: When a team has less players on the ice than the opposing team due to penalties they are playing short handed.

Shoulder Pads: Shoulder pads cover the shoulders, the upper forearms and the front and back of the torso. No-check hockey players do not need heavy shoulder pads but do need shoulder pads of enough strength to deflect a shot or an errant stick.

Simultaneous penalties: When two players on opposing teams receive a penalty at the same time, it is known as a simultaneous penalty. The referees have the option to let the teams play 4 on 4 skaters or 5 on 5 skaters.

Slap Shot: A shot taken by lifting the stick off the ice and striking the ice behind the puck. Although slap shots tend to be the most inaccurate hockey shot, they are also the hardest.

Slashing: Any player who swings his stick at any opposing player (whether in or out of range) with or without actually striking an opponent or where a player on the pretext of playing the puck makes a wild swing at the puck with the object of intimidating an opponent is guilty of slashing. Slashing is a two minute minor penalty. (As of 2006 this penalty is now more aggressively enforced in the NHL and USA Hockey.)

Slot: The slot is the area that is in front of the goal and extends back approximately forvy feet toward the blue line.

Soft Hands: A player who can catch a pass easily and handle the puck with an easy style is sometimes to said to have “soft hands.”

Snap shot: A snap shot is a quick shot that is taken with the puck on the stick with a quick flick of the wrists. Snap shots are usually taken from within 20 feet of the goal.

Sniper: A player with a very accurate shot who scores many goals from a relatively close distances known as a sniper.

Snowplow stop: A skater can stop by angling their skates into a “V” with their toes pointed inward. This is known as a snowplow stop.

Speed training: In order to increase fitness and skating speed hockey players can use speed training. This can involve activities such as running for aerobic training and short sprints to increase anaerobic capacity.

Splitting the defense: An offensive player with the puck may attempt to skate between two defenders as they enter the offensive zone. If they succeed it is known as splitting the defense.

Stacked pads: Stacked pads are a method that some goalies use to stop a shot. The goaltender lays on the ice and put both legs together facing the shooter.

Stand Up: A defensive player is said to “Stand up” an attacker if they can position their body in front of the on rushing attacker in a manner so the attacker must slow down and stand straight up. In checking hockey this is usually done with a body check. However it can also be done in no-check hockey if the defender positions themselves directly in the path of the attacker and does not allow them to pass. The difference is subtle but the no-check defender must avoid throwing their weight into the attacker.

Stick check: A stick check is a method used by the defense to acquire the puck from an on rushing offensive player by using their stick. Poke checks and sweep checks are examples of stick checks.

Stick handling: Stick handling is the art of keeping a puck on the player’s stick as the skate and shot.

Stirrups: Some hockey socks have a layer of material that goes under the bottom of the skater’s foot. These stirrups hold the socks down. However, many players do not like this layer of cloth and cut the stirrups off.

Stop time: Stop time is a game where the clock stops when the referee blows the whistle and starts with a face off.

Strength training: A player may engage in strength training in order to improve the speed of their shot or their ability to play in the corners. Strength training usually involves weight lifting or its equivalent.

Sweater: A hockey jersey is sometimes called a sweater.

Sweep check: A defender can accomplish a sweep check by putting their stick on the ice and sweeping it around the puck that is carried by an attacking player.

Swizzles: Swizzles are a skating maneuver in which the skates are moved simultaneously together and apart. Swizzles can be performed both backwards and forwards.


Tape to Tape: A pass that is very accurate. It goes from the tape on the passer’s stick to the tape on the receiver’s stick.

Time out: Most leagues allow one time out per game. A time out is frequently used at the end of a game to outline a strategy for the last few minutes of play (e. g. lines to be used, pulling the goalie, etc.)

Tip in: A shot that is deflected into the goal is sometimes called a tip in.

Trap: Traps are defensive formations used to keep a team bottled up in their own end. Trapping teams do not forecheck aggressively but bring their players back into the neutral zone to make break out plays very difficult. (see also – neutral zone trap.)

Tripping: A two minute minor penalty will be called if a player trips another player with their stick, legs or arms.

Two line pass: Offsides is called in some leagues if the puck is passed across two lines (blue and red.)

Two on One: This is a situation which all teams try to develop in the offensive zone. Two offensive players are able to pass the puck back and forth or shoot with only one defending player to protect the goalie.


Umbrella: The umbrella is a formation on the power play in which the defense and one wing stay close to the blue line and pass the puck among themselves until another attacker is open by the goal.

Unnecessary roughness: Also called roughing, this is a two minute penalty that is a judgment of the referee.


Wave off: When a stoppage of play is about to occur, the referee may decide to continue play by “waving off” the stoppage. Examples include icing and offside.

Wide around: When a puck is shot into the attacking zone, close to the boards, it may travel close the boards all the way to the opposite point. This is known as a wide-around.

Wing: The players on the offensive line that are on both sides of the center are known as wings.

Wraparound: An offensive player may skate around the back of the net and then attempt to quickly push the puck into the net between the goalie and the corner of the net for a wraparound goal.

Wrist shot: A wrist shot is accomplished by bringing place the puck on the stick and bring the stick forward rapidly. The level of follow through will determine whether the shot goes high or low.


Zamboni: The device that resurfaces the ice between periods is known as a Zamboni. The Zamboni Company manufactures these vehicles specifically for this purpose.

Zone Coverage: Zone coverage is a defensive strategy in which each defensive player covers an area of the defensive zone.