The "five-hole" is a nickname for the space between a goaltender's legs in ice hockey attributed to David Neal in 1980. If a player scores by shooting the puck into the goal between the goaltender's legs, he is said to have scored "through the five-hole," or to have "gone five-hole." The nickname can also be used in basketball, when a player throws a bounce pass that goes through a defender's legs.
When a goaltender stands in the net in the ready position, there are five open areas (and two closed) that the goalie must cover. They are:
- Glove side, high: this area is defined by the goaltender's arm and catcher on the bottom, mask on the inside, and the post and top of the goal on the outside.
- Glove side, low: this area is defined by the goaltender's arm and catcher on the top, the ice on the bottom, and the outside post of the goal. During a butterfly-style save, this area is closed off completely and the catcher is typically stacked on top of the leg pad as the leg is extended to cover the post.
- Stick side, high: this area is defined by the goal post, top of the goal, and the goalie's arm and blocker. The top half of the goaltender's stick is held in this area, but is not commonly used for stopping the puck.
- Stick side, low: this area is the lower half of the stick side, defined by the blocker and arm, the ice, and the outer post of the goal. During a butterfly save this area is also covered by the leg pad with the blocker stacked on top to protect against low shots. When a goaltender is standing, the paddle of their stick is used to cover this area and to deflect the puck away from the net.
- 'Five Hole': the fifth area is between the goalie's leg pads and skates. This area is protected by the blade of the stick at all times, and is closed up by the upper leg pads when the goalie is in the butterfly position.
The reason for naming this location “five” comes from Canadian bowling, which uses 5 pins, the centermost of which is worth 5 points, and is often called the “5 pin”. When the 5-pin is knocked down without hitting any other pins, it leaves a hole right in the middle, which is called a “5 hole”.
- The dictionary definition of five-hole at Wiktionary
- Gonzalez, Jason (2017-02-08). "Official hockey lingo: Merriam-Webster adds 'five-hole' to the dictionary". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
- "Five-hole". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2019-02-07.