R4H News

Hockey Words And Phrases That You Might Not Know

Christmas is over. You probably got a new stick or a cool jersey. Maybe Santa even brought you some tickets to go see your favorite team play their cross-town rivals. That’s cool.But, do you know what the Boston Flu is? How about alchamadijik? No? That’s because you DIDN’T get Andrew Podnieks’ “The Complete Hockey Dictionary” for Christmas. Yeah… That’s right. It has over 12,000 hockey words and phrases that you may or may not know.

Sure, you know what a Gordie Howe Hat Trick is. Big deal. Check out these words and phrases and drop them on your Rink Rat buddies at your next practice or game.

  • Bottle Popper – high, hard shot that knocks the goalie’s water bottle off the top of the net after going in
  • Cookie Shelf – top of the net where the flashy players shoot the puck (“He blasted it cookie shelf and the goalie didn’t have a chance.”)
  • Donnybrook – brawl or multi-player fight
  • Hawkie – (U.S.) early bowdlerized spelling of “hockey”
  • Love Tap – slash
  • Purple Language – swearing
  • Scoot – skate quickly (especially when describing a smaller player)
  • Sin Bin – penalty box
  • Tour de Chapeau – (French) hat trick
  • Turtle – instigate a fight through dirty or illegal tactics but then cover oneself and refuse to defend oneself
  • Wicket – name for hockey used in the 1830s, primarily in Nova Scotia

And that’s only a few of the over 12,000 words and phrases Andrew gets into! So, tell Mom and Dad that, for your birthday, you want Mr. Polnieks’ book. It will give you something to read on the bus or in the car on your way to the next tournament, showcase, practice, or game.

Disclaimer: I don’t get any kick-backs from this… This book is just cool and fun to read!

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What Does It Take To Be An Assistant Hockey Coach

Webster’s defines a coach as a person who teaches and trains an athlete. Strangely enough, there is no definition for assistant coach. While it is easy enough to conjure up a definition, it is not easy to come up with the job description for an assistant coach. Just what tasks should a good assistant coach be responsible for?

Fortunately, I have just such a list!


  •  Ten minutes before practice starts, remind the team that practice starts in ten minutes.
  • Before the squad gets onto the ice, verify that all of the bench and rink doors are closed and secured properly.
  • Set the nets up in the goal crease.
  • Get cones, tires, pads and any other equipment ready. If you don’t have your goalie, put the “shooter tutor” on the empty net.
  • Before each new drill, place the pucks where they need to be. This saves valuable time between drills.
  • During drills, if the puck supply gets low, fish pucks out of the goalie net, and return them to play.
  • Keep a list of drills to run, in case the Head Coach is late.
  • Where appropriate, substitute yourself for a cone.
  • Practice is a good time to figure out who has equipment problems. Every so often, check player’s helmets to ensure proper fit. Alslo, inspect helmet hardware.
  • Get a list of concussion symptoms and keep it with you.
  • Count up the number of players in each color jersey. Figure out which combination of colors makes for an equitable division. This saves time when divvying up teams for small area games.
  • After practice, and after the Zam makes its first cut, hang the nets up on the boards.


  •  Create a team attendance list. List players by last name only, hockey coaches never use first names. Use this list to check in players as they arrive. The same sheet can be used to designate lines and defensive pairings.
  • Put your CEP number on the attendance list. Chances are your team manager will always ask you for it.
  • Prepare a list of warm up exercises. Vary the list, to lessen the routine. Mix in fun games for warm up; soccer, football or ultimate frisbee.
  • check the league website to obtain opponent specific information; record, penalties, win-loss record, player stats. Basically, any information which could give your squad an upper hand.
  • Assemble a small tool kit. Include various pieces of helmet and cage hardware. also include skate blade nuts and bolts. A spare chin strap, mouth guard and skate laces can come in handy.
  • Verify that all of your players have mouthguards.
  • Get a list of concussion symptoms and keep it with you.
  • If one of your players gets banged up, but is ok, have them give the ok sign or thumbs up, to their parents.
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Wheeled Hockey Bag – Is It Worth?

I have overheard ice hockey coaches deride the emergence of the wheeled, roller style ice hockey gear bag.  Such comments are probably rooted in the belief that resistance to obstacles and adversity helps build character, self esteem and muscle mass.  They see the wheeled bag as an easy way around the chore of lugging 20 to 40 lbs of gear in and out of the rink.  Perhaps they believe that this easy path makes their players “soft”.

I would argue that the wheeled ice hockey bag is an innovation that has multiple benefits to the youth athlete.

For starters, the wheeled bag takes tremendous pressure and stress off of the young athlete’s back.  A non wheeled bag is not designed to to allow proper posture while being carried.  Many young athletes struggle to remain in an upright position while carrying their gear.  This awkward position, and the relative weight of the gear, is an injury waiting to happen.  The average bantam aged player is around 100 lbs.  That means their gear could represent approximately 40% of their weight.  Struggling with a non wheeled bag could easily damage or injure a young athlete.

Also, the wheeled bag is designed for efficiency.  The upright position of the bag means that It has a small “footprint”.  This allows it to take up very little space in a cramped locker room.  Non wheeled bags take up quite a bit of valuable locker room floor space.  The non wheeled bags clutter up the floor and make it difficult, or unsafe, for young athletes to properly negotiate their way around the locker room.

Wheeled ice hockey bags are set up very similar to professional style athletic lockers.  Professional athletes have lockers with multiple shelves and cubby holes for gear and equipment.  So do wheeled bags.  Wheeled bags have multiple compartments, so every piece of equipment has a place where it is stored.  Players are less likely to lose or forget equipment because they would notice a vacant spot in the bag.  “A place for everything and everything in its place”.

In summary, wheeled bags make your ice hockey player’s life much easier, safer and efficient.  All attempts to build character, self esteem and muscle mass should be addressed in an off ice training program.

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Multisport Hockey Players

USA Hockey has a policy that encourages its members to participate in additional sports. They see a benefit to athletes participating and excelling at other endeavors. The mastery of skills necessary to participate in other sports has benefits both on and off the ice. Athletes gain a sense of accomplishment and self esteem from their participation in non-hockey activities.

I have often been asked, “How long is the ice hockey season?” I am not sure, because it has not ended yet, and my kid is a Bantam. I do know that ice hockey has a slow season, spring and summer. These two seasons are ideal for soccer, lacrosse, and baseball/softball. Most travel team versions of these sports play year round. While it is possible to play on multiple travels teams, sooner or later, it will become too much to handle. This usually occurs around the U13 age division. Most local recreation associations have leagues, which require minimal dedication. These leagues are the perfect outlets for hockey players who wish to participate in other sports. In addition to local recreation leagues, middle school sports typically begin at 7th grade. Middle school sports have practices and games, during the week, early in the afternoon. These times usually do not interfere with ice hockey games or practice.

Obviously, ice hockey should take athletic precedence, but it is possible and preferable to participate in multiple sports.

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What to Do with Outgrown Hockey Equipment

Ever wonder what to do with your child’s outgrown ice hockey equipment? This is a dilemma faced by the parents of every growing child. Hockey gear may still have value, so long as is it merely outgrown and not worn out.

Are you looking to recoup some of your initial investment? If so, look on eBay to evaluate the market for the item. Remember to take good pictures and try to use USPS flat rate shipping options to entice bidding.

If the item is difficult to ship, perhaps it is very large or unwieldy, try posting on a rink’s message board. Local buyers are easy to meet and the need for shipping would be eliminated.

Do you know of another child who would be interested in hockey if not for the high upfront cost of equipment? Perhaps an offering of the used equipment would help to defray the entry barrier for the family.

Young players have been known to forget to pack some of their equipment. This usually happens during away games, when it is impossible to rush home for retrieval. Perhaps a coach or manager could coordinate a team effort whereby players keep one piece of outgrown equipment in their bag. That way, a complete or nearly complete set of extra equipment would be in the locker room at all times.

Lastly, take the equipment to Goodwill, a yard sale, or the rink’s lost and found.

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Understanding The Power Rank

Most youth sports leagues report team standings, schedules and scores.  This is valuable information for determining the relative strength of the teams in your child’s sports league.  There are many sites on the web, which generate relative sports rankings.  Most are computed mathematically and are based upon how well teams play against one another.  The following is an explanation of how these values are determined.
First, check this spreadsheet for a handy reference.This mathematical model rates teams based upon three factors; average points per game, average goal differential, and strength of opponent.  Average points per game (APG) is calculated by taking the total points assigned for wins and ties and dividing by the total games played.  Average goal differential (AGD) is calculated as the difference between goals for and goals against and dividing by the total games played.  A team’s strength of opponent (SO) is calculated by averaging the AGD for all of the opponents contested to date.  The composite rank, a measure of relative strength, is computed by summing the AGD and the SO.  The POWER RANK is the sum of the composite rank and the APG.This may sound overly complicated, just give it some time, noodle with the spreadsheet, in time, it will make perfect sense.  It has been my experience that this model is a fairly accurate means to evaluate team strength.The associated spreadsheet has two tabs, one is for calculations, and the other is a copy over of the values.  The copied values are handy for sorting and filtering.

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