How Much Hockey Slang Do You Know?


By: Daniel Yetman

6 Min Quiz

Image: Kmf164 via WikiCommons

About This Quiz

If you want to be a great hockey player, you'll need to learn how to wheel, snipe and celly, but you'll also have to learn how to speak hockey. That means you need to brush up on your dirty dangles and grow out your lip lettuce. 

If you've never watched a barnburner or have never seen a goalie standing on their head, you might have to go back and watch a few more hockey games before you're ready to make it to the show. Some people love watching players drop their gloves or start a tilly, but we're more about watching those tweeners and mad howitzers that put the biscuit in the basket from the blue line. Are you still with us or has all our hockey terms knocked out a few of you chiclets? We'll stop before things turn into a gong show. 

Are you ready to see how your hockey knowledge stacks up? Then stop riding the pine and let's get going. You don't need to wear your brain bucket for this one. Just let your flow down and see if you can go top shelf on these 35 questions! Don't worry if you get stuck. We're not going to send you to the sin-bin this time. 

Who does 'zebra' refer to?

The refs are known as the zebra because of the black and white stripes on their uniforms. "I face washed a guy who was chirping me after the whistle, but I got thrown into the sin-bin because I did it in front of the zebra."


When we talk about 'The Great One,' who are we talking about?

Wayne Gretzky put up so many points during his career that he has more assists than any other player has points. Over 20 NHL seasons, he scored 894 goals with an amazing 2,857 points.


What's a 'mucker' good at?

The mucker on the team is by no means the most skilled player. They usually make up for their lack of finesse by working hard and grinding. You'll find muckers along the boards or back-checking when the play shifts to their own end.


What do you call it when you score between a goalie's legs?

Going five-hole refers to finding that sweet spot between the goalie's stick and legs. If between the legs is five-hole, where are the other four holes? The upper left and right and the lower left and right parts of the net make up the remainder.


Which one of these does NOT mean to score a goal?

To dump and chase means to shoot the puck into the other team's end and try to beat them to the puck. It's a popular strategy for taking control of the game and trying to tire out the other team.


What do you call the style of goaltending where the goalie guards the bottom of the net with his pads?

The butterfly goaltending style is the most common in today's game. It involves covering the bottom half of the net with the pads in a V-shape, which resembles a butterfly's wings.


Which of these means spending the entire game on the bench?

The origin of this expression is pretty straight-forward. Once you get to the NHL, there aren't too many players that are just riding the pine, but at lower levels, some players may barely see the ice.


What is 'slapping some Alfredo on it' referring to?

"Slapping some alfredo" may not make sense to you if it's the first time you're hearing this expression. However, the train of thought goes like this: Alfredo sauce, sauce, saucer, saucer pass.


What do you call it when a player rubs his glove over another player's face?

You might see a player get face washed when he's shooting his mouth after the play. There's nothing worse than getting a face full of smelly glove when the ref is looking the other way.


When a goalie 'stands on his head,' what's he doing?

If you want an example of a goalie who used to stand on his head, Dominik Hasek is a perfect example. He would lose his stick, be face down on the ground, and somehow still get a blocker up to stop the puck. In 1998, he led the Czech Republic to an Olympic gold medal with a 1-0 victory over Russia.


What happens when it's tilly time?

When it's tilly time, it's time to drop the gloves. You know, time to throw down or throw your mitts on the floor. When it's tilly time, it's time to stop chirping and get your hands up.


Which of these players is 'Mr. Hockey'?

Gordie Howe played 26 years in the NHL and played his last season when he was 51. What's even more impressive is that he also played in the WHA hockey league from 1973-1979, which means his professional hockey career spanned 32 years.


If you get a penalty, where do you go?

The sin-bin is a humorous name for the penalty box. However, there's no shame in spending some time in the box. Even Sidney Crosby spent 36 minutes in the sin-bin last season. The NHL record for a season is Dave Schultz with 472 minutes.


If somebody says they just a saw a "dirty dangle," what did they witness?

Dangling is another word for deking, which refers to fooling the other team's goalie or defensemen with a series of fake movements. If you have trouble picturing it, just look at Ovechkin's highlight reel.


If you want your teammate to pass you the puck, which of the following do you do?

To beaver tap: to tap your stick on the ice to make a sound like a beaver slapping his tail against the water. It's a great way to let your teammate know you're open, but you should never beaver tap unless you're really in the clear.


What do you have to do in order to get a Gordie Howe hat trick?

The Gordie Howe hat trick is named from Gordie Howe's ability to do everything: score, set up a teammate or hold his own in a fight when necessary. Gordie Howe scored two of these hat tricks in his career.


Which of these is NOT another name for the puck?

All of these terms may be slang for the puck except for basket. The basket is the thing that you shoot the biscuit into. "I had a breakaway and went top shelf to put the biscuit in the basket."


What else can you call a hard slap shot?

There are few things in hockey that are more fun to watch than an Al MacInnis slap shot from the blue line. Zdeno Chara holds the NHL Skills Competition record for hardest shot at 108.8mph.


What does going 'tape to tape' mean?

Going tape to tape means making a pass perfectly from the tape of your stick to the tape of your teammate's stick. Of course, you could also go tape to tape with a player on the other team, but you'll probably get benched if that happens.


Which of these people would be a hoser?

In the early days of hockey, the losing team would hose down the ice at the end of the game to smooth out the ice for the next game. The expression has stuck, and it still refers to a loser or player on the losing team.


The best player on a team is playing with one player who can barely skate and one player that hasn't got a goal all season. Who's the babysitter?

When a star player is put on the same line as two weak players, he's known as the babysitter. They are responsible for making things happen. Their list of responsibilities includes back-checking, scoring, and being their own playmaker.


When you play in 'The Show,' where are you playing?

It's every hockey players dream to play in the show. The odds of a young player playing minor league hockey ever making it to the NHL is about 1 in 4,000. It's not as difficult as winning the lottery, but it's difficult enough that you shouldn't bank on it as a career choice.


What do you call a goalie who lets up a ton of goals in one game?

A sieve is a mesh cooking utensil used to strain out water through a series of tiny holes. A sieve goaltender is so bad that it seems like he's full of holes. "We scored seven goals on the other team's sieve."


Scoring short side means you scored on which side of the net?

Scoring short side refers to scoring on the side of the net that requires the shortest shot, which is the side closest to where you're shooting from. However, this term is often mistakingly used to mean scoring on the side of the goalie's blocker.


Going bar down, bar south for the holidays, and bar dizzle all mean scoring in which way?

Half the fun of hockey slang is trying to figure out how the expression came to be. It's not too had to follow the train of thought on this one. Imagine a slapshot from the blue line that hits the bottom part of the crossbar before going in.


Which of the following is another word for your helmet?

Brain buckets became mandatory in the NHL in the 1979-1980 season. The rule only applied to new players who entered the league, so the last player to go helmetless was in the 1996-1997 season.


Which of these means to hang onto the puck during the final minutes of the game?

If you rag the puck, you're just trying to wind down the clock with a lead. It's basically a form of keep-away. Although it's usually effective, occasionally teams get too protective and end up losing the game because they stop trying to sore.


A pylon refers to an orange cone, but what else can it refer to?

Imagine one of those dangles so dirty that the defenseman looks like they need to go back to peewee. The defenseman essentially becomes a pylon that sits on the ice and doesn't move, which is how this expression got its name.


Which of these is slang for an assist?

If you spend enough time around hockey players, you'll eventually hear them called an assist an apple. "He finished the game with two goals and a pair of apples." The origin of this expression isn't as obvious as some of them on this list. Likely, the two words just sound similar.


Finish the following expression: "Open the bakery doors boys ..."

You might say this hilarious expression to your teammate when the other team shoots the puck down the ice. Of course, icing is when one side shoots the puck down the ice from behind the centerline.


Which of these players is a bender?

A bender refers to a player who is such a lousy skater that it looks like their skates aren't tied tight enough because their ankles bend inwards. Each team usually has at least one bender, but what they lack in speed, they have to make up for with either their ability to fight or shoot.


What is a player who relies on others to score garbage goals known as?

The best way for somebody to score when they don't have much of a shot or much playmaking ability is to try to bang one in from in front of the net. Like pigeons in the park eat mostly bread crumbs and scraps, pigeons on the ice rely on others to do most of the hard work.


Which of these could you call a player who spends most of his time on the bench?

When you go to the grocery store, there's usually a grocery stick between your items and the person in front of you's items. A hockey grocery stick is a person who spends most of the game on the bench.


Which of the following is another word for 'grinder'?

A plumber isn't the most highly skilled player on the ice, but he works hard and does the work that most guys don't want to do. You can find a plumber on the third or fourth line, and they usually get limited playing time.


A windmill save involves what?

If you need help picturing what a windmill save would look like, just look up a clip of Dominik Hasek in his prime. This type of save gets its name from the goalie spinning his pads in the air like the blades of a windmill.


Explore More Quizzes

About Zoo

Our goal at is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on