Hockey Lingo and Terminology
Hockey Basic Terms
Hockey is a complex game with a lot of terminology to understand, especially for new players. Let's talk about the most common things you'll hear on the ice.
Defense: The defensive team in hockey is the team without possession of the puck trying to defend against a goal by the opposing team. Five skaters are on both offense and defense at all times during a game.
Defenseman: A defenseman in hockey is a player position in ice hockey either referring to the left defenseman or right defenseman. They are responsible for helping the goalie to prevent and defend incoming shots on goal and take the puck away from the other team.
Goalie: A goalie is a player position in ice hockey responsible for blocking and controlling shots taken by the other team. The goalie is distinguishable by his special protective equipment and can be found inside or around his blue goal crease.
Goal: A goal in hockey is what happens when the puck crosses the imaginary plane of the goal line between the posts. A goal is either an allowed goal or a disallowed goal depending on how it was scored. The team that scores more goals in a game wins. A goal can also be referring to the physical equipment of the goal cage, net, crossbar, and goal posts put together.
Overtime: Overtime is an extra period of play after regulation used to determine the winning team if the score is tied. The rules differ for NHL regular season games and NHL postseason games. During the regular season, there is one overtime which lasts five minutes. If nobody scores, the game goes to a shootout. During the playoffs, overtime periods last 20 minutes and continue until somebody scores.
Referee: A referee in hockey is the main official in a hockey game responsible for determining goals, assessing penalties, recording statistics and interpreting the rules of the game. There are two referees in an NHL game, and one in youth games.
Penalty: A penalty in hockey is an infringement of the rules of ice hockey. An official will blow his whistle to signal a stoppage of play. Depending on the ruling, players may leave the ice and enter the penalty box. This may result in a power play. A faceoff is used to put the puck back in play after a penalty is called.
Offsides: Offsides in hockey happens when the puck enters the attacking zone when there are players of the same team in that zone. There are various types of offsides including delayed offsides and intentional offsides. Offsides will not result in a powerplay. A faceoff is used to put the puck back in play after offsides is called.
Icing: Icing in hockey is a type of infraction designed to prevent players from dumping the puck across the ice. A linesman will call this penalty when the puck travels from behind the red line past the goal line on the opposite end of the ice without a player from the opposing team touching it. Icing does not result in a powerplay.
Check: Checking in hockey is the act of a player skating into another player on the opposing team with the intent of gaining possession of the puck. It results in a penalty if the player performs an illegal check, such as cross-checking, a check from behind, a check to the head, or a check to a player who doesn't have the puck.
Hockey Coaching Terms
Backcheck: A backcheck in hockey is the defensive response to the attacking team's attempt to score. Backchecking is most commonly seen when defenders are hurrying back to their own zone to try to break up an odd-man rush.
Bender: A slang term for a player whose ankles bend while they skate. Players often use this as an insult to someone who is not good at hockey.
Flow: Flow is a word for exceptional hair on a hockey player that can be seen even while the player is wearing a helmet. Another word for flow is lettuce.