In ice hockey, an assist is attributed to up to the two previous players of the scoring team who touched or deflected the puck towards the scoring teammate, meaning that they were "assisting" in the goal. There can be a maximum of two assists per goal. The primary assist is awarded to the player of the same team who touched the puck before the goal scorer. The secondary assist goes to the player of the same team who touched the puck before the primary assister. If the opposing team gains possession and then loses possession again to the player who scores, there are no "assistants" in the goal and therefore no assists are awarded.
The player(s) who gain an assist point will also have their names announced to the crowd, with the goal scorers name, as to further credit them.
In slang parlance, this is also sometimes called an "apple"
- NHL Rulebook, Rule #57 - Goals and Assists