How to Talk Like a Hockey Player


If you play rec hockey, you’ll want to talk like a hockey player


Possibly more than any other sport, there is a unique culture that surrounds hockey. It’s a tightly knit group that is as dedicated to their sport as any in the world. As a result of this relationship, a unique corresponding language has developed among hockey players to describe hockey-specific things or events. If you’re not a member of the community, you would be clueless as to what hockey players are talking about when they use some of these words.

Below is a list of common terms of hockey player lingo. There are many more, but these are some of the most familiar ones. Now you can learn to talk like a hockey player.

Talk Like a Hockey Player—Lingo: A-Z


Apple (noun): an assist

Bar Down/Bar Mexico (noun): a type of shot that hits the bottom of the crossbar and shoots right down into the net. All Beauties (see below) attempt to go bar down whenever possible, as it is seen as a very impressive shot. Just listen to the sound as the puck hits the bar and goes in (below).

Barn (noun): rink or arena

Barn Burner (noun): used to describe a game that is high scoring, fast paced, and exciting to watch

Beauty/Beautician (noun): a player on the team that’s talented both on the ice and off and loved by the rest of the team. Typically has great flow, great hands, can wheel ladies off the ice (see below), and always has some good locker room stories.

Bender (noun): a player that is awful at hockey, and whose ankles bend inwards because his skates don’t fit right, he didn’t tie them right, or he just can’t skate

Biscuit (noun): the puck

Breadbasket (noun): term that describes the goalie’s chest. Typically used when describing that you put a shot right in the goalie’s logo.

Bucket (noun): a helmet

Celly (noun): a celebration after a goal is scored. Depending upon the score, stakes, and opponent, varying levels of cellying is acceptable.

Chel (noun): the EA Sports NHL video game series

Chiclets (noun): teeth; usually used when describing the lack thereof for certain players

Chirp (noun/verb): trash talk; directed toward an opponent, their bench or the refs

Clapper (noun): a slapshot; in reference to someone with a powerful slapshot or a slapshot that results in a goal

Dinger (noun): a pinch of chewing tobacco that players enjoy in the locker room before and after the game

Duster (noun)/Dusty (adjective): may or may not also be a bender, but is definitely very bad at hockey and gets very little ice time. When he or she does get out on the ice, it’s at the end of the game when the score is out of hand.

Fishbowl (noun): a helmet with a full plastic shield instead of a cage. Typically used as an insult in trash talk. Opinions vary widely on fishbowls, but if you wear one you’re likely one of the best players on the ice—or the worst.

Flow (noun): great hockey hair; typically long that flows out of the helmet when the player skates

For the Boys/FTB (phrase): used to describe any actions that the rest of the team enjoys or when a player makes a sacrifice for the team

Gino (noun): a goal (that is scored, not the net)

Gongshow (noun): has multiple meanings: 1. used to describe the craziness that ensues when hockey players drink/party/go to the bar. 2. a game that gets completely out of hand with multiple fights, lots of penalties, and lots of goals.

Grinder (noun): a player that populates the lower lines or lower pairings. Has hands of stone, but is physical and works hard when he’s out on the ice. Usually beloved by the rest of the team (i.e., Paul Bissonnette)

Grocery Stick (noun): a player that sits on the bench the whole game between the forwards and defense, acting like a separator similar to that used on the conveyor belt at the checkout line at the store (also a Duster; maybe a Bender)

Hoser (noun): another name for a loser, typically intended as an insult in trash talk. Comes from the early hockey days when the losing team had to hose down the ice with water after the game because the Zamboni had not been invented yet.

Lettuce (noun): a great head of hockey hair (see also: Flow, Salad.

Lip Sweater (noun): a mustache; typically grown out during the month of November for the “Movember” cause to support male health issues

Mitts (noun): refers to a player’s hands; often described as silky when a player has great skill. Also refers to a player’s gloves, as in “dropping the mitts” in a fight

Muzzy (noun): a mustache (see also: Lip Sweater.

Packing a Bomb (verb): throwing in a lip of chewing tobacco in the locker room (see also: Dinger)

Pigeon (noun): describes a player that isn’t good enough to score goals by himself, so he picks up the trash of his more skilled linemates. Often used as trash talk, as made famous by Claude Giroux (see below).

Plumber (noun): similar to a Grinder; a player that loves to do the dirty work in the corners and go to the dirty areas. Not the most skilled player, but a hard worker.

Puck Bunny (noun): females that have an affinity for hockey players, and go out of their way to be with them. Their knowledge of the game can range from nonexistent to extensive, but it doesn’t matter to a hockey player.

Pylon (noun): a player that is extremely slow out on the ice, and can easily be skated around. Likely a big guy (i.e., Mike Rathje, Derian Hatcher)

Ride the Pine (verb/phrase): when a player spends the entire game sitting in the bench, and not getting any playing time. Usually reserved for Benders and Dusters.

Rocket (noun): a very good-looking female; may or may not also be a Puck Bunny

Salad (noun): beautiful hockey hair (see also: Flow, Lettuce)

Sauce (noun)/Saucy (adjective): a well-executed Saucer Pass (a pass that goes in the air and hits back on the ice right before getting to the recipient) that sits flat on the receiving player’s tape

The Show (noun): the NHL; used in the context of “making it to The Show”

Sieve (noun): an awful goalie that has many holes to shoot through

Snipe (noun): a powerful or well-placed shot that results in a pretty goal. Every Bar Down shot is a Snipe, but not every Snipe goes Bar Down.

Top Cheese/Cheddar (adjective): used to describe a shot that goes in off or right below the crossbar

Twig (noun): hockey stick; though few are made from wood any more

Wheeling (verb): the act of picking up girls. To be a Beauty (see above), you must be very good at being able to wheel girls.

Hockey-player lingo is an ever-evolving language. Certain words will cease to be used, and new ones will become popular. With this list as your guide, you’ll have at least a simple understanding of hockey player lingo.

Following are a few more that were contributed by readers. Feel free to add some of your own.

Bambi (noun): a skater who is so bad they look like a deer just being born

Cheesed (verb): when you beat the goalie high or go Bar Down on him; i.e., “Scotty cheesed the goalie. Dude had no chance.”

Dangle (verb): to use exemplary skill and stickhandling ability around the ice; often displaying a variety of sick moves

Houdini (verb): pulling a move off by accident or using sleight of hand, fooling the defenseman/goalie in the process

Lumber (noun): hockey stick

Wheel (verb): used on the ice to tell your teammate to skate with the puck

Wheels (noun): 1. refers to skates or legs/feet. 2. speed, as in, “Jimmy’s got wheels for days; no one’s catching him.”

Published with permission of The Hockey Writers.

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  1. So that’s where the term “hoser” comes from eh?
    As in, “we’re going to go have a beer now, have fun cleaning the ice hosers”. Nice.

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