The Jargon of Hockey


The informant is a 25-year-old who grew up playing hockey his entire life. He began playing hockey when he was only three years old and played until age 24. We were teammates for two years in the BCHL, a junior hockey league in British Columbia, Canada. The informant has used jargon from the hockey community for most of his life.


The Folklore was collected through a scheduled zoom meeting with the informant where we discussed memories of playing hockey together, and common jargon used by the hockey community. He learned most of it through other hockey players. There is not really an origin point that can be located for any of the specific parole, but it is all widely circulated and known jargon. I experienced and partook in some of this jargon as well throughout my 19 years of playing hockey, and we discussed some very strange, almost humorous jargon that somehow was universally known and used among the hockey community.

Main Piece:

‘Huge Tilt’: A major fight in a hockey game. “Mike and Kleysen had a huge tilt last night”

‘Chirp’: To trash talk another player. “Mike has been chirping me all game”

‘Dangle’: To deke or outmaneuver another player. “Did you see me dangle that defenseman?”

‘Muffin’: A shot on goal that was very poor or weak. “Mike was throwing muffins on the net all night”

‘Lettuce’: Nice hair of another player. “Mike has the best lettuce on the team”

‘Gong show’: A game that gets out of control from big hits. “Our game against Penticton last week was a gong show”

‘Grocery Stick’: A player that doesn’t get much playing time. “Mike chirps way to much for a grocery stick”

‘Apple’: An Assist. “Mike had an unreal apple last period”

‘Bingo’: A goal. “Mike had three bingos last night”

‘Biscuit’: The puck. “Hey Mike, you got to get me the biscuit more often in the offensive zone”

‘Cheese’: Scoring in the top portion of the hockey net. “Mike went cheese on their goalie”

‘Barnburner’: A high-scoring game. “We had a barnburner last week… everybody was putting up points”


The Jargon of hockey players is something that many people find humorous. Some comedy tv shows such as “Letterkenny” have even been created making fun of the parole used. Personally, I did not find any of this language funny when I played hockey growing up. It was just the way we communicated with each other. However, being a few years removed from the sport, it seems almost ridiculous that the informant and I spoke this way for most of our lives. What is very interesting to me is that this specific parole is widely known and used among the hockey community, and almost all the jargon is comprised of real English words, yet none of them mean their literal English definitions. If someone were to use this jargon with anyone outside of the hockey community, they would not understand what you are saying and most likely view it as very abnormal speech. Although within the hockey community, nobody would bat an eye at the obscure phrasing of these words and perfectly understand what you are communicating to them. Many of the words are typically used together as tropes among the hockey community, and these tropes would surely confuse a person unfamiliar with this hockey jargon.

For another version, see Jacob Tierney, February 7, 2016, “Letterkenny”.