10 Hockey Slang Words Every Canadian Should Know
Grinder. Cherry picker. Five hole. You might have heard the brosephs using those words around the Soda Stream. But don't worry, they weren't being inappropriate. They were just talking about hockey. Canada's national obsession has a lingo all of its own and for newbies, it can be intimidating. But fear not. With this handy guide filled with hockey slang every Canadian should know, you'll be talking puck in no time.
Hockey slang: GrinderNope, we're not talking about the app. A grinder is a forward who doesn't have high-end shooting or playmaking skills. But they make up for it by playing a physical game, wearing down their opponents with body checks and sound defensive play.
How to use it in a sentence:"Jonesy is no Wayne Gretzky. If he's gonna make it in the bigs, it'll be as a grinder."
A note on nicknames: Every hockey player has a nickname. It is almost always their first name or last name with "sy" or "er" added to the end.
Hockey slang: Bar downThis is a shot that hits the crossbar and ricochets straight down into the goal. It's accompanied by an unmistakable "clang" .
How to use it in a sentence:"Stever went bar down on that one."
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Hockey slang: Five holeIn the professional ranks, goalies take up most of the net, leaving only a few spaces where shooters can get the puck by them. These are known as "holes" and traditionally, there are five of them. The biggest, the five hole, is between the goalie's legs.
How to use it in a sentence:"Man, Marksy has got to close up his five hole or we're gonna lose this game."
Hockey slang: FlowThis is a hockey player's hair. The term is usually reserved for long, cascading locks that curl up as he skates down the ice. (You can also use "salad" or, for flow that's still in its infancy, "lettuce".) Picture Michael Bolton circa 1995 in a hockey helmet and you get the idea.
How to use it in a sentence:"Dwanyer's mullet is really coming in. In a few weeks, he'll have some serious flow."
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Hockey slang: Cherry pickerA player who forsakes their defensive responsibilities and hangs out near centre ice waiting for a breakaway pass. Cherry pickers are usually hated by their teammates, who get saddled with the unglamorous work of keeping the puck out of their net.
How to use it in a sentence:"Bobsy needs to stop being a cherry picker and play some defence."
Hockey slang: ChickletsA player's teeth. The term is usually used after an errant puck or stick sends incisors and canines flying.
How to use it in a sentence:"Smither lost three chicklets when that stick caught him in the mouth."
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Hockey slang: TurtleMost hockey fights involve two willing participants. But sometimes, one player doesn't want any part of fisticuffs, so they'll drop to their knees and curl up in a ball, shielding their head from their opponent's fists.
How to use it in a sentence:"Good thing Drewsy turtled. That guy had six inches and 50 pounds on him."
Hockey slang: Top cheeseThis a goal fired into the upper part of the net, usually over a goaltender's shoulder. Synonyms include "top shelf" and "cheddar".
How to use it in a sentence:"Robber went top cheese with that one."
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Hockey slang: Laying on the lumberThis is when a player slashes an opponent with their stick. Today most sticks are made from high-tech composites, like carbon fibre, but the term harkens back to a time when they were forged from wood.
How to use it in a sentence:"Man, that defenceman has been laying on the lumber all game long."
Hockey slang: Face washThis is when a player rubs their gloved hand across an opponent's face. It's a move designed to cheese people off and is a favourite of what are known as "shift disturbers”, players who like to antagonize their opponents into taking penalties.
How to use it in a sentence:"I can't believe he keeps getting away with those face washes."
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