Welcome to Hockey 101, presented by Austin Metro Hockey Association! Whether you're a rookie or a captain, brush up on your hockey knowledge below.


BACK CHECK - To hinder an opponent heading toward and into the defending zone. 

BLUE LINES - The pair of one-foot wide blue lines which extend across the ice at a distance of 64 feet from each goal. These lines break up the ice into attacking, neutral and defending zones. 

BODY CHECK - Use of the body on an opponent. It is legal when the opponent has possession of the puck or was the last player to have touched it. 

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

CREASE - Area directly in front of the goaltender. It is four feet wide and eight feet long and marked off by red lines. Offensive players who do not have possession of the puck may not enter. 

DEKE - To fake an opponent out of position. 

FACEOFF - The dropping of the puck between one player from each team to start or resume play. 

FORECHECK - To check an opponent in his end of the rink, preventing an offensive rush. 

FREEZING THE PUCK - To hold the puck against the boards with either the stick or skate to get a stoppage of play. 

GOAL LINE - The red line which runs between the goal posts and extends in both directions to the side boards. 

GOAL MOUTH - The area just in front of the goal and crease lines. 

HAT TRICK - The scoring of three or more goals by a player in one game. 

ONE-TIMER - Hitting the puck directly after receiving a pass. The offensive player takes his backswing while the puck is on its way to him and tries to time his swing with the arrival of the puck. 

PENALTY BOX - The area opposite the team benches where penalized players serve time. 

POWER PLAY - A power play occurs when a team has a one -man or two -man advantage because of an opponent's penalties. 

PULLING THE GOALIE - Replacing the goalie with an extra skater. This occurs when a team trails, usually by one goal in the last minute of the game. It is a high -risk attempt to tie the game. 

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

SCREENED SHOT - Goaltender's view is blocked by players between he and the shooter. 

SLAP SHOT - Hitting the puck with the blade of the stick after taking a full backswing. 

SLOT - The area immediately in front of the goal. It is from this zone that most goals are scored and where most furious activity takes place. 

SPLITTING THE DEFENSE - The player with the puck attempts to squeeze between the opponent's defensemen. 

STICK HANDLING - To control the puck along the ice. 

TOP SHELF - Term used to describe when an offensive player shoots high in an attempt to beat the goalie by putting the puck in the top part of the net. 

WRAPAROUND - When a player skates around behind the goal. 


Center - The quarterback on the ice, the center leads the attack by carrying the puck on offense. He exchanges passes with his wings to steer the play toward the opposing goal. On defense, he tries to disrupt a play before it gets on his team's side of the ice.

Defensemen - These players try to stop the incoming play at their own blue line. They try to break up passes, block shots, cover opposing forwards and clear the puck from in front of their own goal. Offensively, they get the puck to their forwards and follow the play into the attacking zone, positioning themselves just inside their opponent's blue line at the "points."

Goaltender - The goalie's primary task is simple - keep the puck out of his own net. Offensively, he may start his team down the ice with a pass, but seldom does he leave the net he guards.

Wings - The wings team with the center on the attack to set up shots on goal. Defensively, they attempt to break up plays by their counterparts and upset the shot attempts.

Goal Judges - One sits off-ice behind each goal and indicates when a goal has been scored by turning on a red light just above his station. The referee can ask his advice on disputed goals, but the referee has final authority and can overrule the goal judge.

Linesmen - Two are used. They call offside, offside pass, icing and handle all faceoffs not occurring at center ice. They do not call penalties, but can recommend to the referee that a penalty be called.

Official Scorer - He determines which player scores and credits assists if there are any. He may consult the referee, but the scorer is the final authority in crediting points.

Referees - Two are used. They supervise the game, call the penalties, determine goals and handle faceoffs at center ice to start each period.

Delayed Penalty - Whistle is delayed until the penalized team regains possession of the puck.

Major Penalty - (Five minutes) Called for fighting or when minor penalties are committed with deliberate attempt to injure. Major penalties for slashing, spearing, high-sticking, elbowing, butt-ending and cross-checking carry automatic game misconducts.

Minor Penalty - (Two minutes) Called for tripping, hooking, spearing, slashing, charging, roughing, holding, elbowing or boarding.

Misconduct - (10 minutes) Called for various forms of unsportsmanlike behavior or when a player incurs a second major penalty in a game. This is a penalty against an individual and not a team, so a substitute is permitted.

Penalty Shot - A free shot, unopposed except for the goalie, given to a player who is illegally impeded from behind when he has possession of the puck with no opponent between him and the goal except the goalie. The team which commits the offense is not penalized beyond the penalty shot, whether it succeeds or not.

Shorthanded - A team plays shorthanded when one or more of its players is charged with a penalty. However, no team is forced to play more than two players below full strength (six) at any time. When a third penalty is assessed to the same team, it is suspended until the first penalty expires. When a penalty is called on a goalie, a teammate serves his time in the penalty box.

Can a puck be kicked into the net for a goal?
A puck can deflect off a skate or a player's body for a goal only if no blatant attempt is made to kick or throw it in.

Frequently a goalie ventures far out in front of the net. doesn't this leave a greater target for the opposition to shoot at?
Usually when a goalie comes out in front it is to reduce the shooting area, cut down the angle of the shooter or force the attacker to unleash his shot sooner or wider than he wants.

How are the markings (lines, circles, goal crease, etc.) applied to the ice?
The ice is built up to a half-inch thickness by spraying water over the concrete floor, which has the freezing pipes embedded. The markings are then painted on, after which additional water is sprayed to "coat" the marking and build the ice to the prescribed thickness. 

How fast does the puck travel?
Some players have been known to unleash shots between 90 and 100 m.p.h., while the game's hardest shooters have reached 110 m.p.h.

How thick is the ice?
Ice for professional hockey is approximately 3/4" thick and is usually held at 16 degrees F.

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


Icing_Graphic.jpgWhen a player shoots the puck across the red center line and past the opposing red goal line. The linesmen will whistle the play dead if the defending team wins a race back to the faceoff dots. If an attacking player wins the race, play will continue. All skaters on the ice for the team committing the icing infraction must remain on the ice for the next faceoff. Icing is not called if the attacking team is killing a penalty, or if the officials determine the puck could have been played by the defending team.

Offside_Graphic.jpgWhen any member of the attacking team crosses the defending team's blue line ahead of the puck carrier.


Pounding the closed fist of one hand into the other. Called for driving an opponent into the boards.
Rotating closed fists in front of chest. Called for taking more than three strides before checking an opponent.
A forward and backward motion extending from the chest. Called for hitting an opponent with both hands on the stick, and no part of the stick on the ice.
Tapping the elbow with the opposite hand. Called when using elbow to impede opponent.
Holding both fists, clenched one above the other, at the side of the head. Called for carrying the stick above the waist against an opponent.
Clapping the wrists in front of the chest. Called for using hands on opponent or his equipment.
Tugging motion with arms. Called for using the stick or blade to hook opponent.
Crossed arms in front of chest with fists closed. Called for having contact with opponent not in possession of the puck.
A thrusting motion with the arm extending from the side. Called for engaging in fisticuffs or shoving.
Chopping with one hand across the opposite forearm. Called for swinging stick at the opponent.
A jabbing motion with both hands in front of the body. Called for using the stick like a spear.
Striking the right leg with both hands in front of the body. Called for using stick, arm or leg to cause opponent to trip or fall.