Hockey vocabulary: Toward an air-conditioner league

Hockey vocabulary: Toward an air-conditioner league

Baseball's off-season (i.e., winter) is full of talk about "the hot-stove league," from the days when fans would gather around a hot stove in the winter and talk about their beloved summer game.

Well, why shouldn't hockey fans have the same sort of fun in the off-season? I propose that we call it "the air-conditioner league." Crank up your  own air conditioner and let's look at some of the hockey terms newer fans might not know about -- another set of words worth defending:

Bandwagon: This goes back to the pioneer days when bands literally would roll through towns on wagons before a performance. "Getting on the bandwagon" was joining in the fun, being part of the crowd. There's nothing insulting about being called a "bandwagon" fan, no matter what some veterans say.

Face-off: This is the battle for puck possession at the beginning of the game -- and any time action has stopped and needs to be re-started. It shouldn't be used as a synonym for "debate" or "argument." It's all over in a second -- unless the official (see below) has to drop the puck again. "Drop the puck," i.e., have a face-off, can be a fresh synonym for "Hey, let's get going!"

Ice time: No, it has nothing to do with heat waves. It's the amount of time a hockey player spends on the ice during the game.

Officials: The people who enforce the rules in hockey games. In the National Hockey League (NHL), they consist of two linesmen and two referees. Any of these four people are correctly called "an official." Not "an official linesman" or "an official referee" -- just "an official."

Stickhandling: The act of carrying the puck with the stick, not carrying the stick someplace. It's usually used when noticing brilliant examples of getting around amazing obstacles. (Thank you, Patrick Kane.)

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Filed under: Words Worth Defending

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