I Speak Hockey

by barbaragarn

Some words have their genesis in the hockey culture and some have been adopted in.

Of the latter, hat trick (which came to us from the cricketers) is one of the most familiar–even people who don’t play or watch the game know what a hat trick is. There are many legends (urban and otherwise) about how this term has hockey origins, but it’s pretty clear the bowlers across the pond used it first, I say, what, and pass the tea.

Ringer, according to Wikipedia, comes from the world of horse racing, when “a fast horse was substituted for a slower one it represented (a ‘ring-in’).”

From what I can tell, deke (otherwise known as “dangle”?) is a true hockey-generated term, allegedly short for “decoy.” Makes sense.

We say someone has hit the top shelf or gone upstairs on a goalie when they roof the puck, but those don’t seem exactly hockey-specific terms.

I did notice that there are different levels of acceptability for certain terms: it’s considered more polite to call someone a cherry-picker than a suckhole. Got some funny looks on the latter when I added it to my vocabulary.

Any other hockey specific terms?

I have come up with one of my own–heretofore never shared: water pirate, for that person who steals your water when you’re out on the ice. I hate this! I start the skate with a huge full bottle and I can just tell someone is pilfering… I hate finishing the skate so thirsty because someone else didn’t bother to bring his own. Grr. And ICK, don’t put your MOUTH on it, gross!!! This got so bad on one team that I told them I put estrogen supplements in my water. I don’t know if it helped, but it made me feel better.

So, what other hockey concepts need lexicalization?

I think we need a term for someone who loves to tell everyone else what they’re doing wrong. This person is either wrong about his didactic corrections or else oblivious to the fact that his skills and performance aren’t deserving of lecturing prowess or emulation.
For this one, I propose “buferton,” derived from the toad genus and in honor of Bufo alvarius, the hallucinogenic desert toad. As in, if you thing you’re great enough to lecture others, you’re hallucinating. Also, “buferton” sounds pedantic and pontificatory, with allusions of hick-ness.

“Did you hear John telling me to watch the offsides? And then he was offsides three times in a row. What a buferton.”

What about goalies who go down to easy and stay down? Hmm. Suggestions?
Falling mountain? Nah, too long.
HmmmMMMmmm, back to the animal kingdom… sloth? Nope, that just implies slow. And it seems kind of mean. This shouldn’t have negative connotations, just indicate a tendency to play a certain way.

Goalie: “Yeah, I just started taking nets about a month ago. I’m good at covering the corners, but I’m a real ___; once I go down it takes me forever to get back up again for the next shot.”

Suggestions? Other hockey terms to add or define?