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Junior Hockey Jargon

If there is a term you’d like to know the answer for, write it in the comments section and it will be added.

Below are standard terms associated with junior hockey.

affiliate (player)—a player who plays a lower level than that of the team who owns his rights at a higher level. Affiliated players are signed to affiliate cards.

agent—a player’s paid representative, much like in the NHL

A.P.—see affiliate (player)

axed—to be released or sent down. “He got the axe after training camp.”

barn—an arena

black aces—players who practice with the team but never play. A term often evoked during playoffs.

card—a document used by teams to sign players. In effect, a contract. Each team is only allowed a certain number of cards each season. (to be “carded” is to be signed by a team.)

director of player personal, aka director of player development—a team’s head scout

division I, aka “div one”—the top level of collegiate hockey in the United States, sanctioned by the NCAA

division II, aka “div two”—synonymous with the division three level of collegiate hockey in the United States.

division III, aka “div three”—the lower level of collegiate hockey in the United States, sanctioned by various organizations including the NCAA and NAIA.

dropped—to have one’s rights released (and the player subsequently cut) by a team.

family advisor—an individual who guides a player’s family through junior hockey and on to a scholarship. Much like an agent, a family advisor is technically not paid to represent the individual player thus allowing the player to maintain his NCAA eligibility.

four for four—an NCAA scholarship where all four full years are covered by the school, i.e. 100 per cent coverage, while the player plays four seasons for the team

fly-down—a paid trip by an NCAA (or CIS) school for a player and one parent used for recruiting purposes.

full-ride—a 100 per cent paid scholarship for four seasons from an NCAA division one school.

future considerations—compensation, often in a trade. Money, draft picks, prospects.

G.P.A.—grade point average. A scoring system used to create equal an equal comparison of grades between students regardless of their location or school.

half-ride—a 50 per cent paid scholarship from an NCAA division one school. Also known as a “two for four”

healthy, to be a—to be scratched from the lineup despite not being injured. “Bobby is a healthy tonight for missing curfew.”

intersquad game—a scrimmage held at the end of training camp comprised of the best players in the camp.

junior a—the second-highest level of junior hockey in Canada. This level maintains NCAA eligibility. Sometimes called tier two, governed by the CJHL.

letter of intent—a promisary document that says a player will attend X-school and not sign with another. In turn, X-school will promise to reserve a spot for the player.

listed—to be protected by a team. To be placed on a team’s protected list

major junior—the highest level of junior hockey in Canada. Sometimes called tier one, governed by the CHL.

Memorial Cup—national championship for the CHL. Sometimes referred to as “mem cup”

overage player, aka overager—a twenty year-old player.

partial, a—a scholarship that does not fully cover the player’s tuition costs

picked up, to be—to be placed on a protected list

PPL—player protected list. “He is on our fifty player protected list.”

priority selection—official name for the OHL draft

protected list—an organization’s stable of prospects and current players. “He is a prospect on our protected list.”

RBC Cup—national championship for the CJHL. Formerly known as the Royal Bank Cup.

red shirt—a NCAA player who practices with the team but is ineligible to play (or is simply never dressed). A practice player.

release—a document stating that a player is no longer property of an organization (and can play elsewhere)

released, to be—when one is not only cut from a team, but also has his playing rights made free from the organization. To become a free agent after being an organization’s property.

role player—common hockey term meaning a player who plays on the third or fourth line, such as checker or fighter.

SAT—pron. S-A-T. An aptitude test used as a college entrance exam by American colleges and universities. The name once stood for standardized aptitude test.

scratch—to be taken out of the lineup. “He was scratched from the scoresheet and will not be playing.”

sent down, to be—when a player is demoted/released to an affiliate club. The player may or may not have his rights released outright.

showcase—a tournament with the primary intention of displaying players for scouts rather than to determine a top team.

show, the—the NHL

three for four—an NCAA scholarship where three full years are covered by the school and the fourth by the player, i.e. 75 per cent coverage, while the player plays four seasons for the team

twenty, a—a twenty year-old player

two for four—an NCAA scholarship where two full years are covered by the school and the remaining two by the player, i.e. 50 per coverage, while the player plays four seasons for the team

underage player, aka an “underage”—a 16 or 17 year old player who plays junior.

walk-on—a player who is not protected (junior hockey) or does not receive a scholarship (NCAA) but makes the team

white card—a protected list for prospects of AJHL teams. (More info)

wire, the—a list of players currently up for trade, privately exchanged by general managers. “I heard he’s on the wire so maybe he’ll get traded.”

League Abbreviations

Below are leagues and organizations outside of the Junior A and Major Junior leagues in Canada.

AHL—American Hockey League, aka the “A”. The second-highest level of pro hockey, directly below the NHL. This league is the primarily affiliate of the NHL’s teams.

Atlantic Hockey—a NCAA division I conference

AUS—Atlantic University Sport. Division of the CIS on the East Coast of Canada

Big 10—a NCAA division I conference

Canada West—Western division of the CIS

CCHA—Central Collegiate Hockey Association. A now defunct NCAA division I conference

CJHL—Canadian Junior Hockey League. The umbrella organization of the 10 Junior A leagues in Canada.

CHL—Canadian Hockey League. The umbrella organization of the WHL, OHL and QMJHL.

CHL—Central Hockey League. The lowest level of respectable pro, falling beneath the AHL and ECHL. Some NHL teams have secondary farm clubs in this league.

CIS—Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Canadian university hockey.

College Hockey America—a NCAA division I conference

ECAC—East Coast Athletic Confernce. A NCAA division I conference

ECHL—East Coast Hockey League. The third-highest level of pro, beneath the AHL. Colloquially known as “the Coast”. NHL teams have secondary farm clubs in this league.

Hockey East—a NCAA division I conference

KHL—Kontinental Hockey League. Top pro league outside of North America, based in Eastern Europe.

NAHL—North American Hockey League. The second highest level of junior hockey in the United States. Referred to as tier two junior in America.

NAIA—National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Division three level of collegiate hockey in America.

NCHC—National Collegiate Hockey Conference. A NCAA division I conference

NCAA—National Collegiate Athletic Association. Division one level of collegiate hockey in America.

OUA—Ontario University Athletics. The Ontario (and Quebec) division of the CIS.

USHL—United States Hockey League. The top level of junior hockey in the United States. League that receives the most NCAA scholarships in the world. Referred to as tier one junior in America.

WCHA—Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Dressing Room Talk

Below are terms you’ll hear in a dressing room or on the ice. 

apple—an assist.

beauty—a player who puts a smile on the faces of his teammates. A loved, respected and loyal player. Also known as a “beaut” or “beaut wagon”.

bird cage—a full wire face mask

boner—a Zamboni

bucket—a helmet

cancer, a—a player who tears apart cohesion in a dressing room.

celly—the act of celebrating

cheese, to go—to shoot for the upper half of the net

chisel—suggesting the referee missed an assist that was never made. “He chiseled an assist on that last goal.”

dangle—a great deke, to deke out an opponent.

“dub”, the—Western Hockey League (WHL)

fish bowl—a full face shield

flow—long beautiful hair, preferably cut in the mullet style.

gino (“g-no”)—a goal.

gonger—a player, act or game that turns into an outrageous display. Term taken from TV show The Gongshow. “That game turned into a real gonger.”

Jungle, the—pejorative slang used to describe Junior B

lid—a helmet

liney—a line brawl

“O”, the—Ontario Hockey League (OHL)

plug—a player lacking so much in ability that his presence on the ice disrupts the natural flow of the game. (derogatory).

plumber—a player who taps into the skills of a better player in order to put up points. “He’s just a plumber and can’t actually score.”

“Q”, the—Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)

roady—a road trip, slang.

rock pile—a group of rookies

rook—a rookie

sauce—(1) a beauty (positive) or plug (pejorative) player. (2) A saucer pass. A pass that appears to float like a flying saucer.

scholly—a scholarship

suitcase—a player who gets traded often.

tendy—a goaltender

tilt—term used to describe a fight or a game. “Did you see the tilt at the end of the game?” “Are you ready for the tilt tonight?”

warmies—the pre-game warmup

weak sauce—a poor outcome, excuse or player (noun). “They shouldn’t play Bobby. He’s weak sauce.”

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