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Hockey Terms...What is ?

Hockey Glossary provided by
Click below for alphabetized list of terms

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

What is...?

AAA (Triple A, AKA Youth Tier 1 Hockey)
AA (Double A, AKA Youth Tier 2 Hockey)
A and B Hockey (AKA Club Hockey, or Travel Hockey)
In House Hockey (Rec Hockey)
Juniors/Junior Hockey
Youth Tier Hockey

Age brackets...

Mini Mite
Peewee (PW)
Bantam (B)
Midget Minor 16 and Under (16U) 
Midget Major 18 and Under (18U)


What is a Center
What is a Defenseman
What is a Forward
What is a Goalie
What is a Winger  

see definitions below

AAA (Triple A) or Tier 1
 It is a term used to describe a specific level of Hockey. It is the next level up from AA (Double A) Hockey and is considered the highest competitive skill level of Youth Hockey. AAA Teams usually travel out of State as well as travel out of the area to compete. They sometimes travel out of the Country to compete. AAA ("Triple A") also known as "Youth Tier Hockey" or "Tier 1 Hockey." 

AA (Double A)or Tier 2
It is a term used to describe a specific level of Hockey. It is the next level up from A and B Hockey and is considered the second highest competitive skill level of Youth Hockey. AA Teams usually travel out of State as well as travel out of the area to compete. They sometimes travel out of the Country to compete. AA ("Double A") also known as "Youth Tier Hockey" or "Tier 2 Hockey." 

Club Hockey A/B,  or Travel Hockey
 It is a term used to describe a specific level of Hockey. "Club" or "Travel" Hockey is the entry level of competitive Hockey. It is usually the next level up from "In house" Hockey. The term "Club" or "Travel" is referring to the fact that the Hockey Team is representing a specific Hockey Club and they must travel to play other Teams in their league. They usually also travel to "out of area" and sometimes out of State to compete in Tournaments against Teams of similar skill levels. 

The A and B refer to two specific levels of skill within Club or Travel Hockey. The B level is the entry or lower level and sometimes younger players. The A is the more skilled or sometimes older players.

Example: You may see levels such as 16A or 16UA. This would mean "16" and under age group, and A skill level.

In House Hockey (Rec., Recreational Hockey)
 It is a term used to describe the entry level of hockey. It is usuaally made up of Teams form within an Ice Rink. The rink forms Teams and they compete against each other. They do not travel outside the Rink to compete.

Juniors/Junior Hockey 
 It is a catch-all term used to describe various levels of ice hockey competition for players generally between 16 and 20 years of age. Junior hockey leagues in the United States and Canada are considered amateur (with some exceptions) and operate within regions of each country. 

 The top level of Youth Hockey (18AAA) is considered by many to be similar in skill level to the entry level of Junior Hockey (Tier 3 Juniors).

 In Canada, the highest level is major junior, and is governed by the Canadian Hockey League, which itself has three constituent leagues: the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The second tier is Junior A, governed nationally by the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

In the United States, the top level is Tier I, represented by the United States Hockey League in the midwest. Tier II is represented by the North American Hockey League, and there are various Tier III leagues throughout the country. A limited number of teams in the Canadian major junior leagues are also based in the United States. In Europe, junior teams are often sponsored by professional teams, and act as development and feeder associations for those organizations.

 Youth Tier 1 and Tier 2 Hockey 
 It is a term used to describe a specific skill level of Hockey. It is the next skill level up from Club and Travel A/B Hockey and is a highly competitive level. Tier 1 and Tier 2 is the skill level designator. These Teams usually travel out of State as well as travel out of the area to compete. They sometimes travel out of the Country to compete.

Youth Tier 1 is also known as AAA ("Triple A"). Tier 2 is also known as AA ("Double A"). It is sometimes called "Youth Tier Hockey." The youngest is mite and the oldest is Midget. Each age group usually encompasses 2 years.

Age brackets... 

Mini Mite:
ages 5-6 (Skill Levels A) 
Mite: ages 7-8 (Skill Levels AA, A, B)

Squirt (SQ): ages 9-10 (Levels AAA, AA, A, B)
Peewee (PW): ages 11-12 (Levels AAA, AA, A, B)

Bantam (B): ages 13-14 (Levels AAA, AA, A, B)

Midget Minor 16 and Under (16U): ages 15-16 (Levels AAA, AA, A) 

Midget Major 18 and Under (18U): ages 15-18 (Levels AAA, AA, A)

Juniors: ages 16 to 20

These are terms used for the different age levels, not skill levels of Ice Hockey in USA.


 Center or Forward 
 Is the
 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.

 The 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.

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

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

 The player who moves up and down the sides of the ice with the direction of play, the wingers work with the center on the attack. Defensively, they try to disrupt opposing wings.

Common terms for the beginner in the Hockey world.



5 Hole

The space between a goalie's pads (legs).


Forwards in the opponent’s zone skate back to their own zone to protect their goal and prevent the opponents from shooting.

Blue Lines

The pair of 1-foot-wide lines that extend across the width of the ice 60 feet from each goal. They separate the ice into attacking, neutral and defending zones.


An offensive rush in which an attacking player breaks open and has a clear shot on the goaltender.


To hit an opponent using the end of the stick farthest from the blade. (This is illegal)


Taking three or more strides before checking an opponent or jumping to make a hit (Illegal)


The box directly in front of the goaltender. It is 4 feet by 8 feet and marked off with red lines. Players who do not have the puck may not enter.


Hitting an opponent with both hands on the stick and no part of the stick on the ice. (Illegal)


A quick move intended to fake out an opponent.

Drop Pass

Puck carrier leaves the puck behind to be picked up by a trailing teammate.


The dropping of the puck by the referee between one player from each team to start play. The "Center" usually is assigned to take the face off.


Hustling in the opponent's defensive zone by forwards to force a turnover.


Passing the puck forward to an attacking teammate.

Freezing the Puck

Pinning the puck against the boards.

Goal Line

The red line that runs between the goal post and extends in both directions to the side boards.

Hat Trick

Three goals in a game by a single player.

High Stick

Raising the stick above the shoulder. If it is used near an opponent, it is a penalty. Goals scored with a high stick are disallowed.


Body contact with an opponent who does not have the puck and was not the last man to have had the puck. (Illegal)


Player accepts a pass and does a slap shot in the same motion.

Penalty Box

The area where penalized players serve their penalty time.

Penalty Shot

A player gets to skate at the goalie starting at the center of the ice rink and take a one-on-one shot on the goaltender. Called when a player on a breakaway is pulled down from behind during the motion of shooting.


Position just inside the blue line usually manned by a defenseman when his team is in control in their own offensive zone.

Poke Check

To dislodge the puck from an opponent by stabbing the blade of the stick at the puck.

Power Play

When a team has a one-man or two-man advantage because the other team has a player(s) serving a penalty in the penalty box.

Red Line

The line that divides the ice in half.


An accurate shot blocked by the goalie.

Screen Shot

A shot the goaltender has difficulty seeing due to player(s) in front of him.

Shoot out

Is used when a game ends in a tie. Each team has 3 to 5 players who each take a turn at an attempt to score a goal. They puck is placed on mid ice and the player skates with it to the Goalie and attempts his shot.


The area directly in front of the goal crease.


Using the entire length of the stick in a sweeping motion to dislodge the puck from an opponent.


Aiming a shot above either shoulder of a goaltender.


A really hard slap-shot.

Twisted Wrister

A really hard wrist shot.


(pull a…)
Basically, when a team is out coached, they get "Melrosed". This term is named for former LA Kings and current ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose.

Gong Show

Any game that gets out of hand. It could be too many penalties or a one-sided victory. Anything negative could be deemed a gong show. Meat Show: Basically a Gong Show featuring a lot of fights.


A term used for a hockey fight. Others include: Dance, Tango, Beef, Throttle…you get the idea.

Blow Out

A lop-sided score for one team. There is no exact number of goals needed for a blow-out, but if a team loses 9-2…they got blown out.


(dinged it)
When the puck hits the post.


A rather nice term for a referee. Ref’s wear black and white striped jerseys, hence, resemble zebras. "Pin-stripper" could also apply.

Helicopter Line

This clever term describes a forward line that has a really talented centerman, and weaker forwards. A helicopter has no wings, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out.

Donut Line

This term refers to a forward line, consisting of two strong wingers and a less-talented centerman. A donut also has no center…get it!


99 was the number worn by the greatest player of all time, Wayne Gretzky. Although no player will probably ever be able to measure up to "The Great One", from time to time, players can make plays that can be compared to Gretzky’s mastery of the game. Please use this term in moderation as throwing out too many 99 comparisons could put you in the "dog-house" and give you less opportunities to strut your hockey lingo.

Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese is known to many because it has holes in it. Unfortunately, so do some goaltenders. That’s why goalies are sometimes called swiss cheese. Other terms for goalies include: stopper, target, net minder and tenders.


I saved this one for last, as it doesn’t directly have any meaning. However, use of this word will make your fellow hockey fans think you are from Canada, or parts of Michigan and Minnesota where hockey is a way of life. One simple comment like, "That fella has a pretty good shot, eh?" will put you a top the leader board amongst many hockey lingo elitists. The fact that you think a player has a hard shot is not the issue. By adding "eh?" at the end of this sentence infers you reside from The Great White North, thus placing more value on your opinion. Like using "99", be very careful not to use this word too much or it could prompt a fellow fan to tell you to "Take-Off, eh?". (That’s bad, eh?).

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