Hockey Glossary

Hockey Glossary

Adams Division:

with the Patrick Division made up the Wales Conference until the 1992-93 season; renamed the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conferencestarting with the 1993-94 season.

All-Star Game:

a mid-season exhibition game pitting selected stars of the Campbell Conference against selected stars of the Wales Conference; beginning in 1993-94 games will be between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.


the pass or passes which immediately precede a successful scoring attempt; a maximum of two assists are credited for one goal.

attacking zone:

the area between the opponents’ blue line and their goal.


an attempt by a player, on his way back to his defensive zone, to regain the puck from the opposition by checkingor harassing an opponent who has the puck.

backhand shot:

a shot or pass made with the stick from the left side by a right-handed player or from the right side by a left-handed player.

beat the defense:

to get by one or both of the defensemen.

beat the goalie:

to outwit the goalie and score a goal.

behind the net:

the area of ice behind the goal cage is legal territory.

blind pass:

to pass the puck without looking.

blue lines:

two blue, 12-inch wide lines running parallel across the ice, each 60 feet from the goal; they divide the rink into three zones called the attacking, defending and neutral (or center) zones; defending blue line is the line closer to a player’s own net; attacking blue line is the one farther from his net; used in determining offsides.

boarding or board-checking:

a minor penalty which occurs when a player uses any method (body checking, elbowingor tripping) to throw an opponent violently into the boards; if an injury is caused, it becomes a major penalty.

boards or board wall:

a wooden wall 3 1/2 to 4 feet high which surrounds the rink to keep the puck and players from accidentally leaving the rink and injuring spectators; all rinks have shatterproof glass that rises above the boards to provide additional protection.

body check:

when a hockey player bumps or slams into an opponent with either his hip or shoulder (the only legal moves) to block his progress or throw him off-balance; it is only allowed against an opponent in control of the puck or against the last player to control it.


a chance to start a rush when the opposing forwards are caught out of position.


a fast break in which an attacker with the puck skates in alone on the goalie, having gotten past or clear of the defensemen, trapping the opponents behind the play.

breaking pass:

a pass to a teammate who is trying for a breakaway.


a minor penalty which occurs when an opponent is hit with the top of a player’s hockey stick.

Campbell Conference:

one of the two conferences in the NHLthat contained the Norris and Smythe Divisions until 1992-93; the other conference was the Wales Conference; starting in 1993-94 these will be renamed the Easternand Western Conferences.


a rebound of the puck off the boards or any other object.

center or center forward:

the center player in the forward line who usually leads his team’s attack when they are trying to score a goal; he takes part in most of the face-offs; he controls the puck and tries to score or pass it to a teammate who is in a better position to score a goal.

center face-off circle:

a circle, measuring 30 feet in diameter, at the center of the ice where the puck is dropped in a face-off to start the game and to restart the game after a goal has been scored.

center ice:

the area between the two blue lines, also called the neutral zone.

centering pass:

a pass from an attacking player towards the middle of the ice to a teammate with a better angle at the goal.

center line:

a red, 12-inch wide line across the ice midway between the two goals.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player makes a deliberate move of more than two steps when body checking an opponent; if serious injury is caused or blood is drawn it becomes a major penalty.

check or checking:

any defensive or guarding tactic used by hockey players accomplished by moving their bodies against an opponent to get the puck away; there are two main types of checks: stick check and body check; these are only allowed against a player in control of the puck or against the last player to control it; checking with too many steps or strides becomes charging.

clearing the puck:

getting the puck out of one’s own defensive zone.

clearing the zone:

when a defending player sends the puck out of the attacking zone, all the attacking players must leave or clear the zone to avoid being called offsides when the puck reenters the zone.


when a player stays close to an opponent to prevent him from receiving a pass or making a play on offense.

crease lines:

the red lines that form the semi-circular area with a 6-foot radius in front of the goal called the goal crease.

cross bar:

the horizontal bar that connects the top of the two goalposts.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player holds his stick in both hands and drives the shaft into an opponent; a stick check where a player has both hands on the stick and no part of the stick on the ice; if serious injury is caused or blood is drawn it becomes a major penalty and a game misconduct.

dead puck:

a puck that flies out of the rink or that a player has caught in his hand.


two players who make up a team’s defensive unit usually stationed in or near their defensive zone to help the goalie guard against attack; sometimes they lead an attack. The left defenseman covers the left half of the rink, the right defenseman plays to the right, but they can skate into each other’s territory.

defensive line:

consists of two defensemen.

defensive zone:

the zone or area nearest a team’s goal (the goal they are defending).


causing any pass or shot to stray from its intended course; a shot or pass that hits some object such as a stick or skate and goes into the net for a score or when a goalie hits the puck away.

deke or deking:

a decoying or faking motion by the puck-carrier; the art of making a defensive player think you are going to pass or move in a certain direction when you are not. There are shoulder dekes, stick dekes and head dekes.

delayed penalty or delayed call:

when an official raises his arm but does not blow his whistle, waiting to see the outcome of a play before calling a penalty; this is done so as not to penalize the non-offending team by stopping its momentum; a penalty that is delayed, and then not called, is waved off and play continues uninterrupted; also a penalty against the team that has only 4 players on the ice, which is assessed only when one of its players gets out of the penalty box.

delay of game:

a minor penalty imposed on any player who purposely delays the game in any way, such as shooting or batting the puck outside the playing area or displacing the goalpost from its normal position.

double minor:

a type of minor penalty given for certain accidental infractions that result in an injury to another player; penalty time of 4 minutes is served, double the time of a normal minor penalty.

drop pass:

when a player simply leaves the puck behind for a teammate following him to pick up.

Eastern Conference:

the renamed Wales Conference beginning with the 1993-94 season which contains the Northeast and Atlantic Divisions, formerly called the Adamsand Patrick Divisions.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player strikes his opponent with an elbow to impede his progress.

empty-net goal:

a goal scored against a team that has pulled the goalie.


the boards at each end of the rink.


also called the policeman; is usually the most penalized player on a team; he has the job of protecting his teammates from harm; generally a larger player who is not afraid of any fight.

exhibition game:

a game not included in the regular-season schedule and which does not count in the standings; the All-Star Game or other games generally played before the season begins.


the addition of teams to the NHL.

expansion draft:

a special arrangement to assist new franchises in obtaining players, where expansion teams choose players from other teams’ rosters.

expansion team:

a team that has been recently added to the NHL.

face mask:

the protective mask worn by the goalie.


the method of starting play; the dropping of the puck by the official between the sticks of two opposing players standing one stick length apart with stick blades flat on the ice; used to begin each period or to resume play when it has stopped for other reasons.

face-off circles and spots:

the various circular spots on the ice where an official and two players will hold a face-offto begin or to resume the action of the game; there are one blue and four red face-off circles located in the neutral zone; two red face-off circles are found at each end of the ice.

falling on the puck:

a minor penalty, which occurs when a player other than the goaliecloses his hand on the puck, deliberately falls on the puck, or gathers the puck under his body while lying on the ice.


passing the puck.


a major penalty which occurs when two or more players drop their sticks and gloves and fight; if a referee deems one player to be the instigator, that player gets a game misconduct; the minor penalty for a less severe pushing and shoving fight is called roughing.

flat pass:

when a player passes the puck to a teammate along the surface of the ice.

flip pass:

a pass by a player to a teammate that lifts the puck from the ice and sends it through the air, usually for the purpose of getting it over an opponent’s stick.

flip shot:

a shot in which a player cups the puck in his stick, then flips it with his wrists up off the ice towards the goal; this sometimes makes the puck harder to block.


to check or harass an opponent who has the puck in his defensive zone and keep the opponents in their end of the rink while trying to regain control of the puck; usually done by the forwards.


a shot or pass taken from the right side of a right-handed player or from the left side of a left-handed player.

forward line or attacking line:

consists of two wings (right and left) and a center; these three players play nearer the opponent’s goal and are responsible for most of the scoring.


the three players who make up the attacking line or forward line of a team — the center and the right and left wings.


any infraction of the rules that will draw a penalty.


a team; the legal arrangement that establishes ownership of a team.

freeze the puck:

to hold the puck against the boards with the skate or stick in order to stop play briefly or gain a face-off.

full strength:

when a team has its full complement of 6 players on the ice.

get the jump:

to move fast and thereby get a good start on the opponents.


provides one point; scored when a puck goes between the goalposts from the stick of an attacking player and entirely crosses the red line between the goalposts; also the informal term used to refer to the area made of the goalposts and the net guarded by the goalie and into which a puck must enter to score a point.

goal cage:

a 6 foot wide by 4 foot high tubular steel frame consisting of a cross bar and two goalposts to which a net is attached.

goal crease:

a semi-circular area with a 6 foot radius in front of the opening of the goal; denotes the playing area of the goaltender into which no player without the puck may enter.

goal line:

the two-inch red line between the goalposts that stretches in both directions to the sideboards


goalkeeper, goalie or goaltender:

the heavily padded player who guards the goal; prevents opponents from scoring by stopping the puck any way he can.


the metal bars that frame the area to which the net is attached which rests on the center of the goal line and between which a puck must pass to score a goal.

hat trick:

three or more goalsscored by a player in one game.

head deke:

when a player drops his head as though moving one way and quickly moves in another to fake out the opponent.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player checks an opponent by carrying his stick above the normal height of his opponent’s waist and hits, or menaces the opponent with it; if injury is caused it becomes a major penalty; if a referee determines that the raising of the stick was unintentional and no contact occurred, the penalty is only against the team and results in a face-off.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player grabs and holds onto an opponent (or his stick) with his hands or arms to impede the opponent’s progress.

holding the puck:

See falling on the puck.

home team:

the team in whose arena the game is being played; the team wearing the lighter uniforms.

hook check:

a sweep of the stick low to the ice to take the puckfrom an opponent’s stick.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player attempts to impede the progress of another player by hooking any part of the opponent’s body with the blade of his stick; an illegal use of one’s stick.


a violation which occurs when the team in possession of the puck shoots it from behind the red center line across the opponent’s goal line into the end of the rink(but not into the goal) and a member of the opposing team touches it first; results in a face-off in the offender’s defensive zone; a shorthanded team cannot be called for icing.


a penalty in hockey called when a player attempts to impede the motion of another player not in possession of the puck.


a fifteen-minute recess between each of the three periods of a hockey game.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player uses a knee to hit his opponent in the leg, thigh or lower body.

lead pass:

a pass sent ahead of a moving teammate designed to meet the player at the location he is headed.


angle made by the shaft of the stick and the blade.

line change:

the entire forward line and/or defensive line will be replaced at once, which puts players on the ice who work well together.


the two officials on the ice, one toward each end of the rink, responsible for infractions of the rules concerning off-side plays at the blue lines or center line and for any icing violations; they conduct most of the face-offs, sometimes advise the referee concerning penalties, and separate players who are fighting; they wear black pants and an official league sweater, and are on skates.

major penalty:

a type of individual penalty called for more serious infractions of the rules; of 5 minutes in duration whether or not the non-penalized team scores.


a pairing of players on opposing teams who will cover each other during the hockey game.

minor penalty:

a type of penalty lasting 2 minutes; if the non-penalized team scores a power play goal during this time, the penalty ends immediately.


National Hockey League, started November 22, 1917; currently contains 26 teams.


the goal; netting attached to the goalpostsand frame of the goal to trap the puckwhen a goal is scored.

neutral zone:

the area between the blue lines.

Norris Division:

with the Smythe Division made up the Campbell Conference until the 1992-93 season; renamed the Central Division of the Western Conference starting with the 1993-94 season.

offside pass:

See two-line pass.


a violation which occurs when both skates of an attacking player cross the opponent’s blue line preceding the puck into the attacking zone or when a pass crosses more than one line without being touched (two-line pass); this is one of the most common calls made in a hockey game.


one referee and two linesmen on the ice calling infractions and handing out penalties; up to five off-ice officials including two goal judges, the game timekeeper, the penalty timekeeper and the official scorer.


making player changes or substitutions while play is under way.

on the road:

when an NHL team plays games away from its home arena.

open ice:

that part of the ice that is free of opponents.


an additional period of play used to break a tie; see sudden-death.


when one player uses his stick to send the puck to a teammate.


a pass by an attacking player from behind his opponent’s net or goal line to a teammate in front of the net.

Patrick Division:

with the Adams Division made up the Wales Conference until the 1992-93 season; renamed the Atlantic Divisionof the Eastern Conference starting with the 1993-94 season.


punishment of a player for a violation of the rules, resulting in suspension from the game for a period of time; 6 types exist: minor, bench, major, misconduct, matchandgoalkeeper’s penalties.

penalty box:

an area with a bench just off the ice, behind the sideboards outside the playing area where penalized players serve their penalty time.

penalty killer:

a player expert at backchecking and keeping or gaining control of a loose puck under difficult circumstances who is trained to break up a power play when his team is shorthanded.

penalty shot:

a free shot awarded a player who was illegally interfered with, preventing him from a clear scoring opportunity; the shot is taken with only the goalie guarding against it.


three 20-minute playing intervals separated by two intermissions.


the left and right positions taken by the defensemenof the attacking team, just inside the blue line of the attacking zone; also the term used to describe the defensemen playing at this location; also an individual statistic for players equal to their goals plus assists; also a team statistic used to determine team standings (2 points for each win and 1 point for each tie during the regular season).

poke check:

a quick jab or thrust to the puck or opponent’s stickto knock the puck away from him.


see enforcer.

power play:

an attack by a team at full strengthagainst a team playing one man (or two men) shorthanded because of a penalty (or penalties) which resulted in a player on the opposing team receiving penalty-box time.


a black, vulcanized rubber disc, 1-inch thick and 3-inches in diameter, weighing between 5 1/2 and 6 ounces used to play hockey; they are frozen to prevent excessive bouncing and changed throughout the game; can travel up to 120 miles per hour on a slap shot.

pulling the goalie:

taking the goalkeeper off the ice and replacing him with a forward; leaves the goal unguarded so is only used as a last minute attempt to score.


retaining the puck by clever stickhandling; often used by a shorthanded team to kill time.


a puck that bounces off the goalie’s body or equipment.

red line:

the line that divides the length of the ice surface in half.


the chief official in a hockey game, distinguished from the other officials by a red armband; he starts the game, calls most of the penalties and makes the final decision in any dispute; he is responsible for making sure the ice, the netsand the clock are in good condition; he wears black pants and an official league sweater; he is also on skates.

referee’s crease:

a semi-circular area, with a 10 foot radius, marked in red on the ice in front of the timekeepers’ bench into which players may not follow a referee.


the iced area inside the boards on which the game of hockey is played; it is 200 feet long by 85 feet wide with rounded corners.

rockered blades:

used by professional ice hockey skaters; the gentle curve in a very sharp blade of an ice skate produced by rounding the toe and heel of the blade to make it easier for hockey players to turn quickly.


a list of the players on a team.


a minor penalty which occurs when a fight between players is more of a pushing and shoving match; a less severe penalty than fighting.


an individual or combined attack by a team in possession of the puck.


the act of a goalie in blocking or stopping a shot.


several players from both sides close together battling for possession of the puck.

screen shot:

a shot on goal that the goalie cannot see because it was taken from behind one or more players from either team standing in front of the net.

shooting angle:

the angle determined by the position of the shooting player in relation to the goal at the moment he shoots the puck.


a team with one or more players off the ice in the penalty box when the opponent has its full complement of 6 players; also a power play for the other team.

shot on goal (SOG):

a scoring attempt that is successfully blocked or otherwise prevented by a goalie; a save.

shoulder deke:

a quick move of the shoulder in one direction and the player in another to fake out the opponent.


the boardsalong the sides of the rink.

slap shot:

a shot in which the player raises his stick in a backswing, with his strong hand held low on the shaft and his other hand on the end as a pivot. Then as the stick comes down toward the puck, the player leans into the stick to put all his power behind the shot and add velocity to the puck; achieves an extremely high speed (up to 120 miles per hour) but is less accurate than a wrist shot.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player swings his stick from below the player’s shoulder at an opponent to impede his motion, whether or not contact is made; if injury is caused it becomes a major penalty and a game misconduct.


an attacking player who slips into the center or neutral zone behind the attacking defensemen; same as a floater or a hanger.

slow whistle:

when an official waits to blow his whistle because of a delayed offside or delayed penalty call.

Smythe Division:

with the Norris Division made up the Campbell Conference until the 1992-93 season; renamed the Pacific Divisionof the Western Conference starting with the 1993-94 season.


a rush by a player without assistance from a teammate.


a major penalty which occurs when a player illegally jabs, or even just attempts to jab, the point of his stick blade into another player’s body; one of the most serious infractions a player can commit; results in an automatic game misconduct.

stick deke:

when a player’s stick is moved as though for a shot, but instead the player moves the puckpast the defending player; done to fake out the opponent.


moving the puckalong the ice with the stick blade.


occurs when a player comes off the bench to replace a player coming out of the game; can be made at any time and play does not need to stop.

sudden-death overtime:

an overtime period that ends as soon as one team scores a goal, determining the winner and terminating the game.

sweep check:

a checkmade by a player with one hand on the stick, and one knee so low it is practically on the ice, with the shaft and blade of the stick flat on the ice to take the puck away from an opponent.

third-man-in rule:

the third man in a fight gets a game misconduct penalty and is out of the game for its duration; created to discourage players from jumping into a fight, even if they are only trying to break it up.


a type of breakwith three attackers coming in on one defenseman; this is a desperate situation.


a type of breakwith three attacking players skating against two defensive players.


a player who follows his teammate on the attack seemingly out of the action but actually in a position to receive a backward or drop pass.


a minor penalty which occurs when a player places his stick or a part of his body under or around the feet or legs of an opponent causing him to lose his balance; will also be called if a player kicks an opponent’s skates out from under him, or uses a knee or leg to cause his opponent to fall.

two-line pass:

a team violation occurring when a puckis passed across two or more lines without being touched; play is stopped for a face-off; a type of offsides.


a type of breakwith two attacking players skating against one defensive player.


a type of breakwith two attacking players skating against two defensive players.

under-led pass:

a pass behind or to one side of a teammate, making it difficult for him to control the puck.

waffle pad:

a large rectangular pad attached to the front of the goalie’s stick hand.

Wales Conference:

was one of the two confrences in the NHLconsisting of the Patrick and Adams Divisions until the 1992-93 season. The other conference was Campbell Conference. These were renamed the Eastern and Western Conferencesrespectively, starting with 1993-94 season.

wash out:

a goal that is ruled invalid by the referee or the waving off of an infraction by the linesmen.

Western Conference:

the renamed Cambell Conference beginning with the 1993-94 season which contains the Central and Pacific Divisions (formerly the Norris and Smythe Divisions respectively).


two players who flank the center on his right and left sides and, with him, make up the attacking unit or forward line.

wrist shot:

a shot made using a strong flicking of the wrist and forearm muscles, with the stick blade kept on the ice; it is slower but more accurate than a slap shot.


the brand of machine used to clean the ice.


three areas made up by the two blue lines; the attacking zone is the area farthest from the goal a player is defending; the neutral zone is the central area; the defending zone is the area where a player’s goal is (the goal where his team’s goalieis stationed) online casinoene