The term waffle boarded in hockey refers to a goalie making a save with their blocker. The name waffleboarding came from the old-timey goalie blockers that looked similar to a waffle board.
The term waffleboard in hockey is not incredibly common but its use in a few NHL video games has left many fans wondering what it means.
Since this term doesn’t have any logical meaning with today’s blockers many fans head to the internet to get the answer.
In the early days of hockey goalie blockers used to have a “waffle-like” appearance. The blocker would feature a glove for the hand and a rectangular board on the backside of the hand.
The goalie’s hand and the board were covered with real leather which made the goalies blocker quite heavy. In order to reduce the weight of the blocker holes were cut into the leather around the rectangular board.
These circular holes cut out of the blocker gave it a very unique appearance which resulted in the term waffleboarded. Due to this strange appearance, this piece of goalie equipment was also referred to as a domino.
So when a puck is waffleboarded away it simply means that the goalie hit the puck away with his blocker.
Why Waffleboard Saves Can Be Effective
Now that you understand what waffleboarding is in hockey it’s time to break down why saves like these can be effective.
One of the best aspects of making a save with your blocker is the ability to control where the rebound ends up. When a puck hits a goalies pads it can be difficult to control where the loose puck is going to end up.
For this reason, teams will often shoot at a goalie’s pads in the hope of a rebound opportunity. But when it comes to the blocker goalies have much more control. If a shot is hitting a goalies blocker it almost always means that puck is in the air.
This makes it much easier for the goaltender to direct the puck away from the net. One of the reasons this is so handy is because a goalie can waffleboard pucks out of play.
If a team is under a lot of pressure in their defensive zone waffleboarding a puck can be a worthwhile tactic. Skaters cannot puck the puck out of play themselves but if a shot goes off the goalie and out of bounds the play will stop and the teams will have a faceoff.
The ability to stop the play by knocking pucks over the glass is a sign of a good goaltender.
Goalies will use their blockers as a way to stop the play and give their teammates a rest when they are pinned in their defensive zone.