A player in hockey with a reputation for agitating or antagonizing other players through verbal or physical means.
The very nature of the game of hockey is comprised of rough and physical contact between players. Players who take this nature to the next level, often inciting reactions from other players through seemingly intentional or flagrant physical and verbal abuse on the ice, are known across the league as "pests." Players classified as pests will often skate the border of rules and conduct, often slashing or hooking other players when out of sight of the referees.
Pests also employ harassment and trash-talking to upset or distract players on opposing teams. A favored tactic pests will sometimes use is to bait opponents into fights in order to get them called for a penalty. Pests are often classified as lacking courage, being more likely to start a fight than to actually engage in one.
Some of the most famous pests include: Sean Avery, Claude Lemieux, Steve Ott, Jordin Tootoo, Jarkko Ruutu, Matt Cooke, Alexandre Burrows, Chris Neil, Ian Laperrière, Darcy Tucker, Chris Simon, Matthew Barnaby, Theo Fleury, Pat Verbeek, Esa Tikkanen, Ken Linseman and Tiger Williams.