Hockey 101


Answers To Some Basic Hockey Questions...


What is the puck made of?

The puck is made of solid vulcanized rubber, three inches in diameter and one inch thick. It is frozen before entering play to make it "bounce" resistant. It weighs about six ounces.

HOw Fast does the puck travel?

Some slapshooters propel the puck between 90-100 mph. Speeds up to 120 mph have been recorded by some of the hardest shooters. Compounding the problems for goaltenders, frequently the puck will curve in flight, much like a baseball.


Can a puck be kicked into the net for a goal?

Not intentionally, but a puck can be deflected off a skate or a player's body if no overt attempt is made to throw or kick it in.

What About deflections?

Many people think that deflections are mere luck. Actually, however, players practice deflections constantly, standing off to the side of the net, or in front, and deflecting the shot from outside to another area of the goal.

HOw thick is the ice?

The best ice for pro hockey is usually held at 16 degrees Fahrenheit for the proper hardness and is approximately 3/4" thick. A thicker sheet of ice becomes softer and "slower." Commercial ice shows perform on "warmer, slower" ice.

What are the sticks made of?

Generally, northern white ash or rock elm. The handle is one piece and the laminated blade is affixed to it. Some players have recently gone to shafts made of composites, such as graphite or aluminum.

HOW Are the lines and markers applied to the ice?

The ice is built up to a 1/2" thickness by spraying water over the concrete floor (sometimes sand is used as a base for the floor), which has the freezing pipes embedded. Then the markings are painted on, after which additional water is sprayed to coat the markings and build the ice to the prescribed thickness.

What if an offensive player is in the crease (the blue outline area in the front of the nets) as a goal is scored?

A goal may be scored even if the goal scorer is in the crease under his own power, provided he is not interfering with the goaltender in any way.

Who gets credit for an assist?

The last player or players (not more than two) to touch the puck prior to the scoring of a goal.

HOW Big is the rink?

The standard size is 200' by 85'. Occasionally, some professional rinks vary slightly in size.

Are all the sticks alike?

Far from it. Just as baseball players have their individually personalized bats, so too do hockey players have their "patterned" sticks. Flexibility, lie (blade angle), weight, etc., vary from player to player.

HOW Big is the goal?

The goal is six feet wide by four feet tall, curving from one to three feet deep. Pins anchor it to the ice.

What is the hardest shot to stop?

The toughest shot is low (a few inches off the ice) to the stick side. Often goal tenders will "cheat" to the stick side, presenting more net to their glove side (the easiest to protect).

Who calls the penalties - the referee or the linesman?

The referee calls penalties and has the ultimate responsibility for allowing (or disallowing) goals, even naming the goal-scorer if a question arises. The linesmen concentrate mainly on calling offsides and icing. A linesman may call a misconduct penalty or ask the referee to hand one out if he thinks it is justified.

Why doesn't the referee act more quickly to stop fights?

There are several reasons. For one, he is observing who should receive penalties for the infractions. His primary responsibilities are to stay healthy, penalize participants accordingly, and return order and control to the game in progress.

What if the puck is stopped or stops on the goal line?

There is no score. The puck must completely clear the goal line between the posts to be counted as a goal.

What is a "HAt Trick"?

The term is now applied to a player scoring three goals in a single game. Originally, it stood for three consecutive goals with none scored in between by either team. The term is borrowed from cricket. In England in 1858, a bowler (like the pitcher) took three wickets from consecutive balls, an incredible trick. As a reward, his club gave him a new hat, hence the name.


Here's Some Hockey Lingo....

"A" - Letter worn on the uniform of the alternate team captain.

Assist - Point awarded to a player for helping set up a goal, usually given to the last two men to handle the puck prior to the goal.

Backcheck - Legal attempt by forwards on their way to the defensive zone to regain control of the puck.

Backhand - An effective shot which employs a sweeping motion. The puck is brought behind the midline of the body and shot from the opposite side of the normal delivery. It is used when there is no time to shift the puck to the natural shooting side.

Blue Lines - The pair of one-foot-wide blue lines which extend across the rink at a distance of 60 feet from each goal. These lines break the ice up into attacking, neutral and defending zones.

Bodycheck - Slowing or stopping an opponent with the puck by using the hip or shoulder (legal).

Breakaway - When no opponent is between the puck carrier and the opposition's goal except the goalie.

Breakout - When the attacking team comes out of its defending zone with the puck and starts up the ice.

Butt Ending - To hit an opponent with the end of the stick farthest from the blade. It is illegal and calls for a penalty.

"C" - Letter worn on the uniform of the team captain.

Center Red Line - The line that divides the ice in half and is the center of the rink.

Clearing the Puck - When the puck is passed or shot away from in front of the net or a congested area.

Crease - The area in front of the goal marked off by a thin red line in the shape of a semi-circle. Players who do not have possession of the puck may not enter the crease.

Deke (D-eek) - A puck-carrier's fake or juke move to stickhandle his way around an opponent, or in making the goalie move first, thus giving the shooter an advantage.

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

Faceoff - To start play at any time, the puck is dropped between two opposing players facing each other.

Forecheck - To keep opponents in their end of the rink while trying to regain control of the puck.

Freezing the Puck - Holding the puck against the boards with a stick or skates in order to stop play.

Hat Trick - When one player scores three or more goals in one game.

Headmanning - Passing the puck ahead to a leading teammate.

Major Penalty - A five-minute penalty.

Minor Penalty - A two-minute penalty.

Neutral Zone - Center ice area between defending and attacking zones.

Penalty Box - Off-ice area near the center red line where penalized players serve their time.

Point - A position just inside the opposition blue line and close to the boards. Attacking defensemen usually take these positions when their team is in control of the puck in the opposition's zone.

Pokecheck - To dislodge the puck from the puck carrier by stabbing at it with the blade of the stick (legal).

Power Play - When a team has more players on the ice because of penalties to the other club.

Puck - The vulcanized rubber disc, three inches in diameter, one inch thick and weighing between five and six ounces. It is frozen for several hours before the game to eliminate bounces.

Pulling the Goalie - A team losing by one or more goals takes the goaltender off the ice in order to put another forward on the ice in an attempt to tie the game. Usually occurs in the last minute of a game or period.

Save - A shot blocked by the goaltender, which would have been a goal if it had not been stopped.

Screenshot - A shot on goal when one or more players is between the shooter and the goal.

Slapshot - Bringing the stick back, then quickly forward, hitting the ice and the puck at the same time.

Slot - The area immediately in front of the goal. It is from here that most goals are scored and the most furious action takes place.

Splitting the Defense - When the puck carrier goes between the two opposing defensemen.

Stickhandling - Carrying the puck along the ice with the stick.

Sweepcheck - To use the entire length of the stick with a sweeping motion while laying flat on the ice in order to dislodge the puck from the puck carrier (legal).

Wrist Shot - Propelling the puck off the blade of the stick with a flicking wrist motion.