Hockey Chirps 101: Your Guide to Hockey Slang
Those that love hockey know better than anyone that the action on the ice isn’t the only thing that makes the sport worth loving. The fast-paced nature of the game and intense rivalries that have spanned generations have helped give rise to an entire culture with its own unique language.
Chirping, or trash-talking, is an essential part of the modern game, allowing players to engage in lighthearted (or sometimes not so lighthearted) banter or get in opponents’ heads or throw them off their game.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of hockey slang, equipping you with the knowledge to decipher, appreciate, and participate in the colorful language of the sport. Let’s get to it.
“Wheels” is a term commonly used in hockey to describe a player’s speed and agility. If someone has “wheels,” it means they can skate and maneuver quickly with or without the puck to generate scoring chances on the rush. NHLers like Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon are known for their wheels and have used them to become two of the most dynamic offensive players in the sport.
A “bottle rocket” is a goal that breaks the goalie’s water bottle by popping it off the top of the net, adding a bit of insult to injury on a top-shelf goal.
To “snipe” in hockey means to shoot the puck accurately and swiftly into the net, usually hitting one of the top corners. A snipe is considered a skillful and well-executed shot, showcasing a player’s accuracy and precision. In today’s NHL, Auston Matthews and Leon Draisaitl are known as two of the top snipers in the game.
“Lettuce” is a compliment in reference to the length, quality, or general beauty of a player’s hair. The terms “flow” and “salad” also fit into this category and are regarded as extreme compliments in hockey circles.
“Dangle” refers to a player’s impressive stickhandling capabilities that they often use to embarrass opposing defenders. When someone has good dangles, it means they have excellent control over the puck and can maneuver it skillfully around defenders. Pavel Datsyuk is regarded as one of the nastiest danglers of all time and made hundreds of world-class players look foolish during his time in the league.
“Gongshow” is a term used to describe a chaotic or highly physical game. It implies a rough, penalty-filled contest with numerous fights and intense physicality. Gongshows are prevalent during the postseason, as they are typically defined by intensity and emotion that leave players exhausted and fans exhilarated.
A “plumber” is a player who may not be the most skilled but who still serves an invaluable role on the team by doing the dirty work in the corners and whatever else it takes to win. Plumbers aren’t regarded as stars but are often fan-favorites and are especially essential on third and fourth lines come playoff time.
“Beauty” is a term used to describe a player who possesses exceptional skill, talent, or style. It is one of hockey’s highest compliments and is often used to acknowledge a player’s remarkable performance or a particularly impressive play.
“Celly,” short for celebration, refers to the unique and often creative ways players celebrate after scoring a goal. Some players have their own signature celly, ranging from fist pumps to dances, which add to the excitement and entertainment of the game.
“Sauce” is an abbreviated term for a saucer pass – a pass that leaves the ice in order to be more difficult to deflect or intercept. High-quality sauce takes elite hands to throw and is one factor that differentiates the league’s best passers and playmakers from the middle of the pack.
Understanding hockey slang and chirps adds an extra layer of enjoyment to watching and discussing the sport. Next time you watch a game, keep an ear out for these chirps and enjoy the unique lexicon that makes hockey so much more than just a game.
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