Roller Hockey Glossary


Assist – The point credited to the player (or last two players) whose passes set up a goal.


Backchecking – When a player skates back toward his defensive zone to disrupt an opposing player who has possession the puck.

Backhand shot – When a right-handed player shoots with the right side of his stick blade or a left-handed player shoots with the left side of his stick blade.

Blade – The curved part of the stick that makes contact with the puck.

Blind pass – To pass the puck without looking ahead or choosing a distinct target.

Blocker – The piece of goalie equipment attached to the stick-side glove. The blocker is a flat, rectangular pad attached to the back side of the goalie’s hand and is used to deflect pucks away from the net.

Blow a tire – When a player falls as a result of their own actions (for example, not being checked).

Blueliner – A defenseman. The term is borrowed from ice hockey, which has blue lines to denote the ends of each zone.

Boarding – Penalty given for pushing or checking a player into the boards while that player is facing, but a few feet away from the boards. This play leaves the opponent defenseless against numerous injuries. Often a major penalty.

Boards – The wall that surrounds the rink.

Body check – Penalty given for intentionally hitting an opposing player with one’s shoulder or hip to knock them off the puck. A staple of ice hockey; a penalty in roller hockey.

Box – Strategic formation with two players down low on each side of the net and two players at the top of the circles.

Breakaway – When a player with the puck enters the offensive zone with no opposing player between himself and the goalie.

Breakout – Basic, effective set play intended to help a team clear the puck out of its defensive zone.

Bucket – Nickname for a hockey helmet.

Butt-ending – Penalty given for hitting a player with the top of the shaft of the stick. Automatic major/game misconduct.

Butterfly – A style of goaltender play characterized by the goalie dropping to his knees and using his leg pads in a V-shape to cover the entire bottom of the goal.


Centering pass – When a player passes to a teammate who is in front of the goal, in position to score.

Changing on the fly – The act of making a player substitution while the play is still in progress.

Cherry pick – Setting a player up deep in the offensive zone behind the defense and trying to get him the puck with a long pass. Only possible in roller hockey due to the lack of offsides/icing.

Clear – The act of getting the puck out of the defensive zone, achieved by carrying, passing, or dumping it.

Clipping – Penalty given for intentionally body checking an opponent below the knees. Automatic major/game misconduct.

Corner – The rounded-off areas of the rink where the sideboards connect with the endboards.

Cross checking – Penalty given for pushing/checking a player with one’s stick while it is being held with two hands.

Crossbar – The horizontal metal bar that connects across the top of the two goalposts.

Cycle – Offensive strategy where players skate in tight circles while exchanging the puck via soft passes or drop passes. The constant motion can confuse or tire the defensive players. Most often performed in the corners (called the low cycle).


Dangle – Nickname for a deke.

Defensemen – As the name implies, these are the defensive specialists who must protect the area in front of their goalie and make crisp outlet passes to the forwards in transition.

Defensive zone – The half of the rink where your team’s goal and goalie are located.

Deflection – When a player positioned between the shot and the goal disrupts the path the puck is taking (intentionally or otherwise).

Deke – A move where the puck carrier fools the opposition by faking he is going in one direction only to end up going in a different direction – usually in a side-to-side manner.

Delay of game – Penalty given for deliberately disrupting the pace of the game, often by holding the puck or shooting the puck out of play.

Delayed penalty – The time between when a referee raises his hand to signal a penalty and when he actually blows the whistle to stop play and send a player to the penalty box. Done so that the non-penalized team may keep possession if they have the puck.

Diamond – Strategic formation with one player in front of the net, one in each face-off circle, and one near the center of the rink in the transitional zone.

Diver – A player who characteristically overplays contact in an effort to get a penalty called against the other team.

Double-minor penalty – Any minor penalty that causes injury (or intends to injure). The guilty player must serve two consecutive minor penalties.

Drop pass – When a player in motion leaves the puck in a stationary position knowing that a trailing teammate will gather the puck before the opposition.

Dump – The act of sending the puck hard out of the defensive zone to relieve pressure, facilitate a line change, or kill time.


Elbowing – Penalty given for hitting an opposing player with an elbow.

Empty-net goal – Any goal that is scored against a team that has pulled its goalie for an extra attacker.

Endboards – The section of the boards that extends behind each goal and runs perpendicular to the sideboards.

Extra attacker – The extra skater allowed on the rink when a team has pulled its goalie.


Face-off – The act that initiates the start of a game, period, or any play following a whistle. Face-offs feature a player from each team battling for possession after the referee drops the puck onto the rink.

Face-off circle – A circle that (usually) measures 30 inches in diameter and surrounds five of the face-off dots on the ice.

Far side – The area of the goal farthest from the shooter, widthwise. If the shooter is nearer to the right side of the goal, the far side is on the left.

Fighting – Major penalty assessed to players who remove their gloves and punch each other. Fighting in roller hockey is at least a major penalty and, depending on the sanctioning body, often a game misconduct or match penalty, as well.

Five-hole – One of the “holes” in a goaltender’s protection of the net, the five-hole is the triangular area between the goalie’s feet and lower torso.

Forechecking – When a player (or players) on the team without the puck pressures the opposition when its players are backed up in their defensive zone.

Forehand – A shot or pass that comes off the inside part of the stick’s blade.

Forward – The most offensive-minded position, forwards lead rushes and score most of the goals. These players must be fast skaters and have good hands.

Full strength – When a team isn’t short a player due to a penalty and has five total (most commonly four skaters and goalie) players on the rink.


Game misconduct – Penalty assessed on top of a particularly dangerous major penalty; any player who receives a game misconduct is ejected from the game.

Game-winning goal – This is the term for whichever goal put the winning team above the losing team’s final score. If a final score is 2-1, the second goal scored by the winning team was the GWG. With a final score of 6-3, the fourth goal scored by the winning team was the GWG.

Garbage goal – Term assigned to any goal scored where chance played a larger factor than ability. Examples include fluke deflections and goalie misplay.

Gate – The doors built into the boards in front of the benches and the penalty boxes.

Glove side – The area of the net on the side of the goalie’s trapper. Can change based on handedness, but this is most often the goalie’s left side.

Goal – The metal-framed net where scoring occurs. The goal measures six feet wide and four feet high. This term is also used to describe the act of getting the puck past the goalie and into the net. Goals are the basic unit of scoring in hockey and the stat assigned to the player who scored.

Goal crease – The painted semi-circle area in front of the goal. The crease is occupied by the goalie.

Goal line – The red line that runs from sideboards to sideboards in front of each goal. Goal lines create the plane that pucks must fully cross in order for a goal to be scored.

Goal mouth – The area in front of the goal. Often used to describe the location of loose pucks and passes.

Goalposts – The upright metal bars that make up the sides of the goal.

Goals-against average – The stat that shows, on average, how many goals a particular goalie allows per game. Abbreviated as GAA and shown to the second decimal place (example: 3.41).

Goaltender – A team’s last line of defense, the goalie is the player with large pads who stays in front of the net and tries to block all the shots the opposing team makes. Quickness, spatial awareness, and reflexes are paramount to play this position.

Goaltender interference – Penalty given for physical contact with the goaltender.

Gretzky’s Office – The area directly behind the net. Named so because famous ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky would go there with the puck and let plays develop.


Half boards – The area of the sideboards along the top of the face-off circles. An important area for the initiation of offensive chances.

Hand pass – Pass made with the hand from one player to a teammate. Legal only when both players are in the defensive zone, otherwise the play will result in a whistle and face-off.

Hat trick – One player scoring three goals in a single game. A noteworthy accomplishment for any player.

Heel – The curved part of the stick blade where it attaches to the shaft.

High-sticking – Penalty assessed when a player’s stick contacts another player’s body above the shoulders. Frequently a double-minor penalty, as injury is likely to occur.

HiLo – A particular wheel setup used on inline hockey skates. HiLo’s allow the back two wheels to be larger than the front two, but due to the positioning of the individual axles, all the wheels touch the playing surface. This allows added maneuverability without sacrificing top speed or acceleration.

Holding – Penalty for grabbing and holding a player’s body or equipment as a means to impede their movement.

Hooking – Penalty for using a stick to grapple a player and impede their movement.


Interference – Penalty for impeding any player not in possession of the puck.


Leg pads – The big pads covering a goalie’s legs. The most commonly used piece of equipment to make saves.

Light the lamp – To score a goal.

Line change – The act of substituting a pair of forwards for another pair of forwards, or pair of defensemen for another pair of defensemen.

Loose puck – When the puck is controlled by neither team.


Major penalty – A more serious/dangerous infraction than a minor penalty. The guilty player must remain off the ice for five minutes while his team skates shorthanded. The guilty player must also remain out of play until the five minutes have expired, regardless of whether or not the opposition scores. Often accompanied by a misconduct or match penalty.

Match penalty – Similar to a game misconduct, a match penalty is assessed whenever a player deliberately injures or intentionally injures a player on the opposition. Players who receive a match penalty are ejected from the current game and suspended for their next game, as well.

Minor penalty – An infraction where the guilty player must remain out of play for two minutes while his team skates shorthanded (or until the opposing team scores; whichever occurs first). The most commonly assessed penalty.

Misconduct – Penalty where the guilty player must remain out of play for either a period of 10 minutes or for the remainder of the game. His team, however, continues at even strength. Misconduct penalties often accompany major/double-minor penalties.


Natural hat trick – When one player scores three consecutive goals in a game without any other player (from the same or opposing team) scoring between.

Netminder – Alternate name for the goaltender.


Offensive zone – The half of the rink where the opponent’s goalie and net are located.

Overtime – The period of play after regulation (varies in length, depending on league formats).

Overtime loss – Any loss that occurs during overtime or a shootout. Less hurtful in the standings than a regulation loss. Abbreviated as OTL.


Pass – The act of a player using his stick to push the puck to a teammate.

Penalty – A breach of the game’s rules. In hockey, the guilty team must play shorthanded for a period of time determined by the severity of the offense (most commonly two minutes).

Penalty box – The enclosed area (usually) across the rink from the team benches where penalized players serve their suspensions.

Penalty kill – The opposite of a power play. A team short skater(s) due to one or more penalties is on the penalty kill. Abbreviated as PK.

Penalty shot – When a player on a breakaway whose progress is hindered by what would normally be an obstruction penalty, the puck carrier is awarded a penalty shot. The skater starts from the red line and goes one-on-one against the opposing goalie. No power plays will be awarded after a penalty shot, whether the shot is made or missed. Penalty shots are also awarded to a team when the opposing goalie intentionally throws his stick, or when a player intentionally covers the puck with his body while in his goalie’s crease.

Pest – A player whose main job is to antagonize the opposition, both physically and verbally. Pests often do the physical part (when the refs aren’t looking) to get into the heads of the opposition in an attempt to lure a retaliatory penalty.

Pipe – Any of the metal posts on the front of the goal.

Playmaker – A player whose offensive ability is more focused on setting up goals and getting assists than shooting and scoring goals.

Point – Stat used to measure a player’s offensive output. Both goals and assists count equally as points.

Poke check – When a player uses his stick to force the puck loose from an opponent.

Power play – Whenever a team has more attackers (due to penalties) than their short-handed opposition, it is called a power play. Abbreviated as PP. Usually manned by a specific unit of offensive-minded players.

Puck – The main playing object; a three-inch-by-one-inch plastic disk that all play revolves around. The puck is designed to glide quickly on Teflon-infused plastic runners.

Pull the goalie – Term for when the team that is losing removes its goalie in exchange for an extra skater in order to attempt one final push to tie the game. This most often occurs in the closing minutes of a game.


Rebound – When a shot or pass bounces off a goalie, potentially leading to a scoring chance.

Red line – The line that runs from sideboards to sideboards in the very center of play, differentiating the offensive zone from the defensive zone.

Referee – The officials of roller hockey decked out in black/white stripes and on inline skates. They call infractions, penalties, goals, and generally keep the peace.

Regulation – The time of play in a standard game (i.e. one without overtime periods).

Rink – The playing surface, surrounded by boards and glass on which the game is played. Standard North American (NHL-sized) rinks are 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. International (Olympic-sized) rinks are 200 feet long and 100 feet wide. However, not every rink adheres to these dimensions.

Rink rat – A hockey player who is constantly around the rink. Often a young player who spends hours a day playing hockey.

Roughing – Penalty for body checking an opposing player or physically jostling a player after the whistle.


Saucer pass – A pass that leaves the rink surface, but does not flip end-over-end. Used to get the puck to a teammate when opponents’ sticks are in the way.

Save – The action a goalie makes, using any part of his body or equipment to stop a puck from going into the net.

Save percentage – Goalie stat used to express the percentage of shots on net that the goalie saves. Abbreviated as SV%. Expressed in a three-digit decimal number, such as .873.

Screen – When a player positions himself in front of the opposing goalie in an effort to block the goalie’s vision.

Shaft – The long, straight part of a hockey stick that players hold onto.

Shift – The time a player spends in play on the rink between stints spent on the bench.

Short side – The area of the goal nearest to the shooter, widthwise. If the shooter is nearer to the right side of the goal than the left, the short side is on the right.

Shorthanded – When one (or rarely two) players on a team are serving penalties and their team is out-manned by the opposition.

Shot on goal – A shot from a player that is either saved by the goalie or goes into the net. Also called a “shot on net.”

Shutdown line – A unit of players more adept at disrupting the opposing team’s skilled players than scoring themselves.

Shutout – When a team holds the opposition scoreless through an entire game. Also a goalie stat of the same meaning, abbreviated as SO.

Sideboards – The boards that run lengthwise along the rink, perpendicular to the endboards.

Sieve – A goalie who lets in many goals.

Sin bin – A nickname for the penalty box.

Slapshot – The type of shot that generates the greatest velocity, slapshots get their force from the player hitting the rink surface and the puck, thus bending the shaft of the stick in a way that launches the puck as it slaps forward.

Slashing – Penalty for swinging a stick and hitting another player, or swinging one’s stick against an opponent’s stick and causing it to break.

Slewfooting – A type of tripping penalty, slewfooting is widely considered to be one of the dirtiest moves in hockey: Kicking another player’s skate out from under them. Easy to conceal, thus rarely called.

Snap shot – A shot that comes with the least amount of motion and thus is the fastest to get off. The player pulls their stick back and snaps their wrists upon contact with a stationary puck.

Sniper – A slang term for a player whose offensive ability is focused around shooting the puck quickly and accurately.

Spearing – Penalty for stabbing an opposing player with the blade of one’s stick. Almost always a major penalty.

Stack the pads – Term for a save maneuver where the goalie lays completely horizontal along the playing surface in front of the net and layers his leg pads, one over the other. Once commonplace in hockey, now mostly a desperation move.

Stick – The main tool used by hockey players. Sticks are comprised of two parts: Blades and shafts.

Stick handle – The act of a player using his stick to move the puck for the purpose of avoiding an opponent or deceiving the goalie.

Stick side – The area of the net on the side of the goalie’s blocker. Can change based on handedness, but this is most often the goalie’s right side.


The point – This refers to a player furthest from the goal and near the sideboards while in a zone. Despite usually occupied by a defenseman, the point is important in setting up offensive opportunities by feeding the puck down low and taking hard shots on net.

The slot – The area directly in front of the goal, between the faceoff circles.

Toe – The very tip of the stick blade.

Toe drag – A type of deke where the puck carrier controls the puck with the toe of his blade.

Top shelf – A slang term for a shot that goes high into the goal.

Trailer – A player positioned behind the puck carrier on a rush into the offensive zone who is awaiting a pass.

Transitional zone – The area on the rink surface a few feet on either side of the red line. Roller hockey’s equivalent to the neutral zone in ice hockey.

Trapper – The piece of goalie equipment on the hand of the goalie that isn’t holding the stick. Also known as a “catcher” or “catch glove,” the trapper resembles an armored baseball glove.

Triangle – A defensive alignment used by a team on the penalty kill. Two players (usually defensemen) stay low in the slot while the third player (usually a forward) chases the puck at the point and tries to take away cross-rink passes.

Tripping – Penalty for using a stick, skates, or any part of one’s leg to trip an opponent.

Twig – Nickname for a hockey stick.


Unsportsmanlike conduct – Penalty for use of lewd gestures, derogatory remarks, or excessive arguing with a referee. Unsportsmanlike conduct can be called on players and coaches alike (though a player, not the coach, will serve time in the box).


Wrap around – When a player goes behind the net from one side and tries to shoot (or merely push with their stick) the puck into the net on the far side from where they started.

Wrist shot – The most accurate shot type. The player releases the puck off their stick blade with a whip of the wrists.


Zebra – Nickname for a referee.

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