May 1, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Hockey Player

 You ask. He answers. Every Sunday.

This week's questions are from JB and Jen.

What exactly do players from opposing teams say to one another on the ice? I always notice players mouthing things back and forth to one another during games, whether it is before a fight, preceding a faceoff, or at another point during the game. Are the players arguing, insulting each other, or making friendly jokes with one another? I've always been curious to find out.

Thanks so much! What a great opportunity to get my obscure hockey question answered.
- JB


‘Chirping’ or ‘beaking’ is generally meant to get under your opponent’s skin. Players will say just about anything to offend another player: his skill level, playing style or even personal appearance. That’s right we do call each other ugly. "You got my vote for the all ugly team." Hockey is a game of intimidation and most of the time, when you see players in each other’s faces; its one player telling another player how soft he is, etc. (of course we use more explicit, descriptive language). I have heard guys use a player’s wife or girlfriend and her (sexual) past as ammunition. I can’t say that I haven’t laughed but personally, brining someone’s family or personal life into it is crossing a line. To me, it’s just poor taste. There are also times when you’re playing against an old teammate and sometimes, in between a whistle, we shoot the shit.

We’re already talked about jerseys, but let’s talk the rest of the grab bag. I don’t know if you’ve ever been traded, but if not I’m sure you’ve had traded players on your teams. When players get traded they experience a lot of major stresses, but there are probably a lot of little annoyances that people just don’t think about… like trying to adjust to new equipment while trying to impress your new team. I wondered when players get traded exactly what equipment goes with them, if any? They must take their skates I imagine, but do other pieces of equipment go with them or do they have a whole new set of equipment they have to break in on arrival at their new team?

Thanks… now go play some on-line poker or something.


A team typically issue gloves, pants, sticks, helmets, socks and jerseys. They consider those items reusable and keep that equipment when players are traded or the season is over. Most players still have the same elbow pads, shin pads, and shoulder pads that they used in minor hockey (and will never change them). I am still amazed at how this equipment holds together but usually the equipment manager has to do a lot of patch work to keep them functional. Hockey players, for the most part, do not like new equipment (except for hockey skates) so the amount of hockey gear we actually take with us at the end of the season isn’t much. I always try to sneak out a pair of hockey socks or practice jersey for summer beer league hockey, but that’s between you and me.

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  1. Thanks! Now I'll have a better idea of what the players are saying when I'm watching their mouths move on the ice. I never really thought of it as a method of intimidation - interesting!

  2. JB, You're so welcome! Thanks for participating! He might think he's intimidating but he uses words like "flustrated" (I think it's a hybrid between flustered and frustrated) so I'm not so sure. If you ask me, he's pretty soft himself! ;)

  3. New follower here. Love hockey! And your blog!
    Come stop by
    xoxo, Amy

  4. Thanks, HP. I feel like I know the life of a hockey player so much better than I did just a year ago because of you.

    Little tip from an observer regarding equipment. Don't sign with any team that wears red pants... I don't care how much the Detroit Red Wings offer you. When red pants get wet, there is a very noticeable colour change that makes all the players look like they just pissed themselves (which I guess helps if you've just gone into a corner with Zdeno Chara for the first time, but still don't "rock the red"!)

  5. Amy, Welcome! So glad you found me.

    Jen, Thanks for participating again! I can't watch a hockey game without making a comment on how much their shorts remind me of diapers. Even funnier when they are sweaty ... and I'm glad I'm not the only one who notices things like that! Haha!

  6. Haha, I always ask alex what he said on the ice and then joke it is something along the lines of "OH hey there friend, nice weather we are having, good to see you" haha. Those boys :)


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