Rink Terminology

Looking past the basics

There are a million hockey terms. For novices, it’s a language that needs to be learned.

Hockey Tactics Rink

There have been a bunch of terms that have popped up in the recent past. We wanted to great a rink with the terminology showcasing a bunch of them. These geographical spots have become important as strategy, analytics, and tactics have come to be.

Let’s take a look:

Breaking Down the Terminology


These are on both sides of the faceoff circle. The outside hashmarks are often a reference point for wingers on the breakout.

House/Home Plate

This is the prime scoring area that teams want to get shots from. On the flip-side, this is the area defensively that teams want to protect. “Protect the house” being a common coach phrase.

This leads to the classic, Quantity vs Quality debate.

Dot Line/ Dot Lane

Too often you’ll see player stay to the perimeter and eventually get squeezed out along the boards.

Getting off the boards and into the dot lane or middle ice is critical for modern day success. Here is a link to the NHL Winnipeg Jets working on getting off the wall.

Further reading - We looking at Auston Matthews improved defense at center by staying inside when supporting play


Commonly this is where defenders stand. Shots from here suck and lead to very few goals. In Point shots suck, we break down their inefficiency on multiple levels.

Fewer and fewer coaches are having their defensemen stay here and are having them activate off the point more.


In the offensive zone, between defender and winger guarding the point

Commonly used on the Power Play. E.g. “Working the half-wall”


Similar to a basketball court elbow. These are areas where many defensive players and systems overlap and can cause confusion when forced to sort.


This is the inner area of the rink that has the best chance at resulting in a goal. Here is a chart showcasing passes on the power play. Yellow and green show higher expected goals.

Royal Road

This is an imaginary line that splits the zone into two. As the puck goes across this line, goalies must make adjustments.

Analytics have shown how passes across this imaginary line dramatically increase the chance of a goal on the proceeding shot. Another analytics example.

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