First indoor game of ice hockey

First indoor game of ice hockey

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On March 3, 1875, indoor ice hockey makes its public debut in Montreal, Quebec. After weeks of training at the Victoria Skating Rink with his friends, Montreal resident James Creighton advertised in the March 3 edition of the Montreal Gazette that “A game of hockey will be played in the Victoria Skating Rink this evening between two nines chosen from among the members.” Prior to the move indoors, ice hockey was a casual outdoor game, with no set dimensions for the ice and no rules regarding the number of players per side. The Victoria Skating Rink was snug, so Creighton limited the teams to nine players each.

Hockey, traditionally played on grass with a stick and a ball, has its roots in ancient Greece, Egypt and Persia. In this form, the game spread north to Europe and then west to the Americas, and is still popular in the Southern Hemisphere as well as in North America, where it is called field hockey. North America’s indigenous people were playing games with a stick and ball long before the French and English crossed the Atlantic. Cherokee, Ojibwe and Mohawk tribes all had different names for what the French branded “lacrosse,” as did the Iroquois native to Quebec. Meanwhile, ice skating was popularized by skating on sharpened animal shinbones in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and games played on ice included a Dutch version of golf and an on-ice version of hurling, an Irish stick-and-ball game.

Ice hockey was initially thought too dangerous a game to play, as the ball was difficult to control on the ice. For the 1875 Montreal game, the ball was replaced with a wooden disc, now known as a puck. The disc was less likely to fly off the ice, and was less dangerous to both players and spectators. Creighton also instituted an early off-sides rule, mandating that there be no forward passing ahead of the player with the puck. The Montreal Gazette reported the next day that the first ice hockey game at Victoria Skating Rink attracted 40 spectators. Ice hockey then caught fire in Montreal, and in 1877 Creighton published rules to the game, known as Montreal Rules. Canada’s now legendary national passion for ice hockey was ignited, and the new sport began to spread across the country.

Years later, in 1994, bill C-212, making ice hockey the official winter sport of Canada, was made law by Canada’s parliament. Lacrosse—which had been Canada’s national sport since 1859—remained the country’s official summer game.

History of Hockey - Who Invented Hockey?

Today we are familiar with several of hockey forms, including field hockey, ice hockey, roller hockey and indoor hockey. The most popular one is ice hockey, especially in Canada. Regardless of the forms, hockey is a team sport in which two teams play against each other by controlling a ball or a puck trying to get it into the opponent’s goal. All players use hockey sticks during a game.

It is impossible to claim the exact time of the birth of hockey. We will probably never know for sure, but there are records of people participating in this kind of game about 4000 years ago. Since ball-stick games are as old as our civilization, the earliest origins may be from China, Persia or Egypt. Archeologists discovered that an early form of the ball-and-stick game was played in Greece the 5th century BC. At the time when Europeans sailed across the Atlantic and started settling North America, they discovered that Native Indian people had their games which were precursors of lacrosse. Furthermore, some museums today showcase evidence that hockey was played by Aztecs centuries before Columbus even discovered the New World.

The name “hockey” is thought to be derived from the French hoquet meaning “ shepherd’s stave”, however, there are a couple of suppositions of which none have been evidenced. The second supposition derives from the use of cork bangs, called stoppers, in place of wooden balls to play the game. These objects came from barrels containing hock ale, also known as hocky. Still, though, the origin of “hockey” remains unclear.

J. G. Creighton was the Canadian from Halifax, Nova Scotia who created the first set of rules of ice hockey about 140 years ago. Upon arriving in Montreal, he presented hockey sticks and skates which were patented by Nova Scotia company in 1866. The skates featured rounded blades held onto boots by metal clamps, which had not been seen ever before. The very first game of ice hockey played in Canada was in 1875 at Victoria Skating Rink, in which the new rules were implemented. Just a couple of years later, Mr. Creighton’s rules were revised at McGill University in Montreal. Eventually, it was decided that the game would be held indoors for the first time, due to the belief that ice hockey had to be played on ponds only. Otherwise, people could get badly hurt. Creighton handled the issue by creating a flat and circular piece of wood, that is the first hockey puck. It provided players with better control over a ball, and it decreased the chance of injuring spectators during a game.

Ice hockey is Canada’s national winter sport. The country undoubtedly contributed to this sport more than any other so we could say this their tendency to regard ice hockey as their national sport is entirely justified. The national hockey league of North America, called NHL is the highest level for men’s hockey and thus the most popular. In Russia and the most of Europe, the highest league is called Kontinental Hockey League. The formal governing body of International ice hockey is the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The modern game was formed in the middle of 19th century by British soldiers stationed in Canada. During the next 30 years, many leagues and amateur clubs were organized in Canada. By the beginning of the 20th century, ice hockey spread to England and the rest of European countries. Today, the sport is highly popular in Eastern Europe and North America.

Soft hockey has been played in the ancient period by different nations and under different names. It is known that over the last five hundred years the sport has been widely played in India and in rural areas of undeveloped parts of the world where the lack of proper infrastructure eliminates the probability for playing field hockey. In the past, villagers were mixing the bamboo and homemade rubber to make softballs. One of the reasons the sport enjoyed such a popularity was that it didn’t require many players and the equipment for the game was very simple. One of the more advantageous sides of softball was smaller chances of sustaining injuries, compared to other similar games. The game was played by pushing the ball instead of hitting it, to avoid sending the ball out of the field and into bushes and ponds, which would lead to a longer recovering from the ball. Over the last couple of centuries, the sport has been modified and developed into other separate sports like croquet, lacrosse, shinty, field hockey, etc. According to sources, the countries which mostly contributed to the development of hockey were Great Britain and France, where field hockey remains to be a popular summer sport. During cold, harsh winters in Europe, it was not uncommon to see young athletes play the version of this sport on ice. In the 17th century, the game started becoming popular in Holland and then later on it started to take hold in England as well.

The first Olympic Hockey Competition for men took place in London in 1908 where all of the United Kingdom countries were competing separately. Another two countries which participated as well were Germany and France. However, after London Olympics, the game was dropped from 1912 games held in Stockholm due to the preferences of other ‘optional sports’ by the host country. Several years later, in 1920, the ice hockey reappeared in Antwerp but was again neglected in Paris in 1924, despite the formation of the International Hockey Federation that same year. Ultimately, hockey was granted re-entry in Amsterdam in 1928 and has been on the program ever since. As for the women’s hockey, the first time it was included in the Olympic program was in Moscow in 1980.

Since the Olympics held in Sydney (2000), men athletes have competed in 12-team tournaments and women in a 10-team one.

Another hockey sport, which was played for the first time in the city of Kent, England at the beginning of the 20th century, is called “ roller skate hockey”. Apart from several European countries, the sport presently enjoys popularity in South America, Angola, and Mozambique. The International Federation of roller skate hockey was created in 1924. The sport may be played on roller skates or roller blades. Two teams comprise of six players each, so it closely resembles ice hockey. However, it is played on asphalt or an indoor skating rink with a ball. The minimum size of the playing area is minimally set to be 65 x 35 feet while the maximum size is 100 x 200 feet. Same as indoor hockey, the game starts with a face-off after a coin is tossed. The players’ positions are a goalie, two forwards, center and two defenders. All players wear matching jerseys, as well as a face mask, shin guards, hockey gloves and helmets with a chin strap. They may also use a mouthpiece, but it is optional.

Indoor hockey is very similar to field hockey but only adapted for indoor play. However, the same playing style can be applied outdoors if the surface is flat, hard and asphalted. Each team is created out of six players, and the game has two periods of 20 minutes. One of the rules of the game is that the ball must only be pushed and not hit with the stick. Additionally, the ball may just rise from the surface while attempting to score a goal from the striking circle. The game starts with a lateral pass from the team which loses a toss-up.


Until the mid-1980s it was generally accepted that ice hockey derived from English field hockey and Indian lacrosse and was spread throughout Canada by British soldiers in the mid-1800s. Research then turned up mention of a hockeylike game, played in the early 1800s in Nova Scotia by the Mi’kmaq (Micmac) Indians, which appeared to have been heavily influenced by the Irish game of hurling it included the use of a “hurley” (stick) and a square wooden block instead of a ball. It was probably fundamentally this game that spread throughout Canada via Scottish and Irish immigrants and the British army. The players adopted elements of field hockey, such as the “bully” (later the face-off) and “shinning” (hitting one’s opponent on the shins with the stick or playing with the stick on one “shin” or side) this evolved into an informal ice game later known as shinny or shinty. The name hockey—as the organized game came to be known—has been attributed to the French word hoquet (shepherd’s stick). The term rink, referring to the designated area of play, was originally used in the game of curling in 18th-century Scotland. Early hockey games allowed as many as 30 players a side on the ice, and the goals were two stones, each frozen into one end of the ice. The first use of a puck instead of a ball was recorded at Kingston Harbour, Ontario, Canada, in 1860.

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: The world's first organized hockey game was played on March 3, 1875

MONTREAL -- The first organized game of ice hockey took place on March 3, 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, based on a set of rules proposed by a group of McGill University students. The game also featured a number of those students.

The last quarter of the 19th century was a great period of social organization and saw the standardization of many sports. Hockey, as we know it, began in Montreal where James G. A. Creighton, who went on to become a McGill law student, was believed to have played a major role in the established the first set of formal rules.

Two nine-man groups, one of which was captained by Creighton, opposed each other in the world's first-ever indoor public display of an ice hockey game. The event was played at the Victoria Skating Rink, March 3, 1875, located in the part of Montreal that is now bordered by the following streets -- Drummond, de Maisonneuve and Dorchester (now named Boulevard René Levesque). This event was promoted in The (Montreal) Gazette prior to the game and a post-game account was also published (see below).

The contest was divided into two halves and played with nine men per side. The players on one side were Charles E. Torrance (captain), Daniel Meagher, Thomas J. Potter, Edwin H. Gough, William M.S. Barnston, George W. Gardner, W.O. Griffin, Francis Jarvis and a fellow named Whiting. The other team was composed of James G.A. Creighton (captain), Robert Esdaile, Henry Joseph, Frederick C. Henshaw, William B. Chapman, Robert H.W. Powell and Edward S. Clouston, along with brothers Lorne and George Campbell.

By moving ice hockey indoors, the smaller dimensions of the rink initiated a major change from the outdoor version of the game, limiting organized contests to a nine-man limit per team. Until that time, outdoor games had no prescribed number of players, the number being more or less the number that could fit on a frozen pond or river and often ranged in the dozens. The nine-man per side rule would last until the 1880s, when it was reduced during the Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament.

The key innovation was the substitution of a square, wooden disk (puck), which offered the players far more control than they had over a lacrosse ball. In 1877, the first organized team, the McGill University Hockey Club, was formed and in 1886, the first national association, the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, was founded.

Europeans Are the Answer to Who Invented Hockey

Like Canada, researchers discovered a plethora of references to sports much like today’s game of hockey. In fact, it dates as far back as 17th century Scotland.

But first, let’s start with a reference to the game in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1803. The Aberdeen Journal reported on February 9, 1803, that two young boys around the age of 14 were playing shinty on ice when the surface gave way. They boys fell through and unfortunately did not survive.

The game was once again referenced in a painting (that can be seen on the SIHR website) by an artist that is believed to be Benedictus Antonio Van Assen. The painting is of two young men playing the game of hockey on a frozen surface as early as 1796. According the SIHR, the city of London experienced a severe cold spell in December 1796, which could explain the painting and where it took place.

Again, hockey is referenced in multiple publications between 1780 and 1791, with Admiral Charles Stewart providing one anecdote in the Life of Stephen Decatur, a Commodore in the Navy of the United States that read:

“During the winter, when the glassy surface of the Schuylkill invited the boys to skim over it on skates, no one excelled him [Decatur] in hurly, prisoner’s base, and the other games of the season.”

Historian George Penny published anecdotes from Perth, Scotland, that referenced the game of shinty being played “on the ice by large parties” and “on the streets.” These anecdotes are estimated to have taken place between 1745 and 1809.

But the earliest reference, according to the SIHR is a Scottish text from 1607-08. In The Historie of the Kirk of Scotland, published in 1646, a passage discussing the Great post in the winter of 1607-08 references the game of chamiare, another word for shinty according to the Scottish National Dictionary and the SIHR. It reads: “The sea freized so farre as it ebbed, and sindrie went in to shippes upon yee, and played at the chamiare a mile within the sea marke.”

Halifax Rules

'The earliest games in the sport were not carbon copies of the current version the Halifax Rules , which Creighton played under in the March 3 rd game, said the puck couldn't leave the ice, no forward passing was permitted and the goalie couldn't fall down or kneel to make saves. As the sport's popularity skyrocketed in Montreal in the late 1800s, the official rules of the sport were created, the Montreal Rules, in 1877. Injured players could now be replaced, team sizes were set at seven a side (down from eight) and the rink's measurements were now made standard. '

'Hockey took the country by storm, as hockey teams sprouted up across eastern Canada, both at universities and at amateur athletic clubs. McGill University (at which James Creighton studied law) established the first university hockey team in 1877, and the 1880s saw an explosion of teams. The first hockey leagues formed in the mid-1880s, while the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC), which began in 1885, was the first national hockey organization. At the Montreal Winter Carnival in 1889, at a match between the Montreal Victorias and the Amateur Athletic Association, Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Governor General of Canada, with his wife and two children stopped to watch the game. Stanley was taken with the game, and helped to form a team, the Rideau Rebels and a league, the Ontario Hockey Association (which formed in 1890). Two years after the formation of the OHA, Stanley created the concept of a regional competition and gave a cup to be awarded to the victor, the Dominion Challenge Trophy. In 1893, it was decided the cup would never become the property of any team and was renamed the Stanley Hockey Championship Cup. While the cup, about the size of an association football, has undergone several cosmetic changes over the years, the Stanley Cup is still awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League today.'

'As the country spread west, so did the sport. The Manitoba Hockey Association was formed in 1892, and first competed for the Stanley Cup four years later. In their first attempt at capturing the Cup, the Winnipeg team defeated their counterparts from Montreal, (the first team the Cup winners didn't come from Montreal), and the reports of the victory came down in hockey's first play-by-play, done by telegraph. The Cup continued to be awarded, year after year, to teams mainly from Montreal, the hockey capital of the world. In 1900, a team from Halifax competed for the Stanley Cup, losing to the Montreal Shamrocks 11-0. However, the Halifax team had come west with the practice of putting up fishing nets on the back of the metal posts that served as goals. The tradition stayed, and the first goal nets were born.'

'Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, the game spread not only geographically but also across the classes. While the amateur athletic clubs who played organized hockey were made up of upper class men, hockey leagues and teams formed among both the middle and lower classes, often by banks or mining companies for example. Women also played early organized hockey, forming their own leagues by the turn of the century. The first black hockey league began in Nova Scotia, the Colored League of the Maritimes, in 1900. Its creation was spurred because the white leagues wouldn't allow black players. The game had also spread all the way to the Pacific in Canada and south to the United States by 1900, in places like Vancouver, the Yukon Territory, New England and Michigan. Early hockey, however, was also plagued by excessive violence. In two cases, one in 1905 and another in 1907, hockey players were put on trial after blows that killed other hockey players. Both times the players were found innocent, but the press and many in the country (including the juries) called on legislation to be enacted that would curb the violence.'

'Hockey's popularity led to serious moneymaking for the owners the Stanley Cup in particular was a huge financial success, drawing large crowds who paid good money to watch the games. Hockey's success also led to gambling on the sport. However, despite all the money coming from the sport, almost none was going to the players. The leagues in Canada and the U.S. were strictly amateur, and though money often changed hands under the table, the vast majority of players were never paid. That all changed in 1904. Jack Gibson, born in Ontario in 1880 and a hockey star there, moved to Michigan to study dentistry in Detroit shortly after the turn of the century. After setting up a practice in Houghton, Michigan, Gibson formed the Portage Lake hockey team in 1902. Gibson's team was given a new arena by local businessman James Dee, who invested a great deal of money in the team. The Portage Lake squad was exceptionally good, beating most opponents over the next two years. This was helped by the fact that Gibson had been recruiting Canadian stars to come play for the team, offering to pay them. In 1904, Gibson's Portage Lakers beat the Stanley Cup champion Montreal Wanderers. The success of the two game series - called the World Championship - led Dee and Gibson to form the International Hockey League, the first professional hockey league. The league's first teams came from Houghton, Calumet, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. Hod Stuart, star of the Portage Lake team, took advantage of free agency in the new league and signed with Calumet as player-coach for $1,800 per season (worth $44,700 today). As the league experienced early success, players from Canada swarmed over the border, drawn by the prospect of being paid to play hockey. Canadian hockey finally responded with the creation of the Ontario Professional Hockey League in 1907, which helped persuade some Canadian stars to cross back over the border. In the other Canadian hockey leagues, players were now being paid quietly, drawing even more back to the country, and between the Canadian hockey leagues now paying their talent and a recession, the International Hockey League folded in 1907.'

'New Leagues and New Teams:'

'Late in 1909, the Eastern Canada Hockey Association had folded because of disputes between new owner J.P. Doran and the rest of the owners. The others owners folded the league only to start a new one, the Canadian Hockey Association, shutting out Doran. As a result, Doran's Montreal Wanderers formed a new league of their own, the National Hockey Association, with small town teams from Haileybury, Cobalt and Renfrew, while adding a new team by forming the Montreal Canadiens, an all French-Canadian team. This new league was well-financed, with early stars Lester and Frank Patrick making $3,000 and $2,000 per season. The biggest star of the new league (and its wealthiest) was Fred Taylor, who had played in the IHL before going back to Canada to play for the Ottawa Senators. When the Renfrew Millionaires of the NHA came calling, Taylor negotiated a contract of $5,200 per season (which, at the time, was just 12 games). At the time, that salary was more than double that of the Canadian prime minister. The $5,200 salary broke down to just over $433 per game. In today's money, that comes to $126,000 per season, $10,500 per game. However, the pricey players spelled trouble for the league, and the NHA by 1912 was suffering heavily in financial terms, with small town teams Renfrew, Cobalt and Haileybury all dropping out, and two Toronto teams taking their place. '

'Meanwhile, as the NHA was suffering, brothers Lester and Frank Patrick had moved to the Pacific coast of Canada, to Vancouver, where they started up the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Hockey had never really caught on on the west coast of Canada, primarily because there was so little natural ice that formed. The Patricks solved this problem by building the Vancouver Arena, the world's largest artificial ice arena (which had previously been Madison Square Garden in New York). The first pro hockey game ever played west of Ontario and Michigan was in 1912, and the Patrick brothers had made it possible by ensuring they lured players west with plenty of money, poaching many from the NHA. Still, the money wasn't quite the same - in the PCHA's second season, Fred Taylor was convinced to come west to play for $1,800 a season, more than he could get elsewhere, but far less than his salary from just three years earlier. In 1915, the Stanley Cup ceased to be a challenge cup, as the NHA and PCHA agreed to compete for the prize at the end of each season, with Vancouver winning the PCHA's first Stanley Cup that year. A year prior, the New Westminster team of the PCHA had been sold and moved to Portland, Oregon, and in 1915, a new franchise was formed in Seattle. The Patricks had created a truly international league. In 1916, the Portland team became the first American team to play for the Stanley Cup, losing to the Canadiens in a five-game series, and the next year, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup.'

'But Lester and Frank did not merely change the sport through their money they also brought new innovations that would revolutionize the game. In 1912, the Patricks debuted numbered uniforms and allowed goalies to drop to their feet in order to make saves. The next year, they came up with the concept of zoned hockey, creating the blue lines, and allowed forward passing in those zones.'

'World War I claimed millions of lives, and hockey players were among those lost. As Canada entered the war (it was still under British control, and went to war when the U.K. did), many hockey teams were gutted, losing quite a few players. However, play went on, and new teams started to pop up - soldier teams. Units put together teams made up of their soldiers, and exhibitions were often played, some of them earning nice profits for the soldiers. One soldier team, led by Conn Smythe, who would go on to play a big role in hockey, earned a profit of $6,706 for one game played ($135,000 modern), with the bulk of the profit coming from a wager with the opposing team's owner. That caught the attention of the NHA, who put together a team from the 228 th battalion and made them a member of the NHA during the war.'

'The war also helped the cause of women's rights and women in hockey. Before the war, women in Canada could neither vote nor own property once the war began and women went to work, those things changed. And although women had been playing hockey almost since the sport began, the war gave women's hockey a far bigger spotlight, and they flourished, with some rumors circulating that the pro men's leagues were even going to consider signing some of the top female stars. While that never came to fruition, it underlined the quality of the women's play.'

'When Montreal beat Portland to win the Stanley Cup in 1916, it was the first Stanley Cup victory for the Canadiens. They would go on to win more Stanley Cup than any hockey team in history. Yet, that first victory was overshadowed by severely low attendance figures the war hurt hockey greatly, primarily in the pocketbook. However, when the Canadiens travelled to Seattle to play the Stanley Cup the next year, with the Metros taking the Cup, it helped revive some interest in the sport, and as the world exited from world war, hockey recovered. Ironically, however, the only Stanley Cup series ever cancelled after a full season had been played came just a year after the war ended, when, in 1919, the series was shut down due to the flu epidemic.'

'1920 also saw hockey at the Olympics for the first time. Though world hockey had been around for the vast majority of the 20 th century, its quality was not very high. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had been formed in 1908, made up of Belgium, Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), England, France and Switzerland, with Germany joining a year later. Canada and the U.S., the true centers of the hockey world, did not join until 1920, the year of the Olympics. Though the Olympics that year were not well attended - held in Antwerp, the majority of the public could not put together enough money to attend - hockey was a huge draw, with the Canadians winning handily.'

'During the war years, as pro hockey struggled to stay afloat, numerous disagreements arose among the owners, particularly Toronto Blueshirts owners Eddie Livingstone, who regularly flouted league rules and angered the other owners. '

'Things got so bad that prior to the 1917-18 season, the other NHA owners began to work on shutting down the league and start a new one, leaving Eddie Livingstone out in the cold. In response, Livingstone transferred ownership of his team to a Toronto arena ownership group when the Quebec Bulldogs had to shut down, the other owners allowed Toronto into the fold of their new league, the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL, after its first season, quickly moved to become the premier professional league in hockey, naming itself pro hockey's governing body. '

'However, the early NHL was not a massive organization comprised of four teams initially, it lost one (the Montreal Wanderers) after its first season. Despite adding a team in Hamilton along the way, the NHL only had three real, stable franchises: the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto St. Patricks (Livingstone's old team) and the Ottawa Senators. When Hamilton's players went on strike in 1925, NHL president Frank Calder suspended the entire team and fined them. The NHL, wanting to branch out to the U.S., then sold the team to a New York entrepreneur and renamed them the New York Americans. The Americans debuted at the newly built Madison Square Garden (which replaced its predecessor in 1925). '

'Meanwhile, out west, the PCHA had been struggling along in the late 1910s and into the 1920s, and in 1924, they merged with the Western Canada Hockey League, which had started up in 1921. After two years, the new league (the Western Hockey League) finally folded, and the Patrick brothers sold off their two remaining teams to owners from Detroit and Chicago. Those two teams joined the NHL, which now had teams in Boston and Pittsburgh in addition to Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and New York. That same year, 1926, New York businessman Tex Rickard (who had spearheaded the building of Madison Square Garden and the addition of the New York Americans to the NHL) sought to form his own team, also in New York, having them named the Rangers (a word play on Texas Rangers). The NHL had truly taken form, and established itself as the premier pro hockey league in the world.'

'With the PCHA/WCHL/WHL now out of the way, the NHL took control of the Stanley Cup, awarding it to the victor of the league. The NHL also added more trophies to its case, awarding them each year. The first trophy was the Prince of Wales trophy, which the Prince of Wales had donated to the NHL in 1924. Initially, it was given to the winner of the NHL (while the Stanley Cup was awarded to the victor of the series between the NHL and WHL). After the WHL folded, the Prince of Wales trophy was presented to the regular season champion, while the Stanley Cup was given to the playoff champs. Years later, in the '60s, when the league expanded, the Wales trophy would play a different role.'

'In that same year, 1924, Dr. David Hart, father of Cecil Hart, who managed the Canadiens to three Stanley Cup wins, donated a trophy to the league to be awarded to the player considered most valuable to his team. The Hart Memorial Trophy is still awarded to the league MVP, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA). Its first winner was Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators. Nighbor also received the first Lady Byng Trophy. In 1925, Lady Byng, wife of Canada's governor general, invited Nighbor to dinner, impressed by his play. After asking Nighbor if he thought the NHL would accept the trophy to be awarded to the most gentlemanly player (and Nighbor answered that he thought the NHL would), Lady Byng awarded the trophy to Nighbor. The award is still given today to the player who shows the most sportsmanship, again as chosen by the PHWA. '

'Finally, the Vezina trophy was first introduced in the 1920s. Georges Vezina, who had played goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens for years, collapsed on the ice in the 1925-26 season, suffering from tuberculosis. He died a year later. At the end of the '26-'27 season, Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, owners of the Montreal Canadiens, gave the trophy to the league, awarding it to the goalie of the team with the fewest goals against it. In 1981, the Vezina was changed, awarded instead to the goaltender considered to be the best in the league (as determined by the PHWA).'

'Conn Smythe's Luck and the '30s:'

'Conn Smythe, after returning from a German P.O.W. camp (which he had spent time in during World War I), got back into hockey first by building the New York Rangers into a Stanley Cup winner. Smythe parlayed a $2,500 amount paid to him by the Rangers for scouting and assembling the team into $10,000 via gambling (on a soccer match between Toronto and McGill University and on a hockey game between Toronto and the Rangers). With that money, and by gathering other investors, Smythe bought the Toronto St. Patricks, renaming them the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smythe also built a new arena in Toronto, vowing to win the Stanley Cup within five years. Though he had some initial success with the fans, he needed a star player as well he found him in Frank Clancy. Clancy was a huge star in hockey, and when the cash-strapped Ottawa Senators put him up for sale, Smythe put together the money to sign him by putting his race horse, at 106-1 odds, in a single race, winning the money necessary to ink Clancy. Five years almost to the day since Smythe had vowed to win the Stanley Cup, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Rangers at Maple Leaf Gardens to hoist the Stanley Cup as its 1932 champions.'

'However, while Smythe was experiencing success, several other NHL franchises were not. The Great 30's Depression had hit in both Canada and the U.S., and teams struggled to stay in business. The Philadelphia Quakers (who had been the Pittsburgh franchise) suspended operations for a year in 1931, but never returned. The Ottawa Senators did the same that year, returning for the 1932-33 season, but in 1934 moved to St. Louis. That franchise only lasted one season, then folded. The Montreal Maroons, who had shared hockey's capital with the Canadiens for years, went out of business in 1938. Many hockey players also left Canada and the U.S. to go play in Europe, where teams were offering pay (and sometimes better pay) to hockey players. The exodus that resulted from the Depression helped raise the level of play in international hockey as many of the players shared their hockey knowledge with the locals in Europe.'

'As had happened during World War I, World War II saw the creation of several military teams across Canada. However, unlike before, public outcry eventually worked against them. As most of the military teams stayed at home for the early part of the war, the public thought it outrageous that hockey players essentially got deferments. The military responded by almost immediately sending the soldier teams to war. Still, many enlisted players never had to fight overseas the Montreal Canadiens in particular largely escaped the conflict because of a loophole in the system, which allowed them to stay home if their jobs were considered essential to the war effort. The Toronto Maple Leafs would have mostly done the same had Conn Smythe not been so devoted to the military. With the Canadiens able to stay at home, they dominated the early part of the 1940s in hockey. This domination was helped by the addition of a young player from Montreal named Maurice Richard. The man who eventually earned the nickname "Rocket" was a scoring machine: in the 1944 Stanley Cup Finals, Rocket Richard scored five goals…in one game, including three in the first period alone (known as a natural hat trick). The next year, Richard would become the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games, a record that would stand for over 30 years. Richard would go on to be the first NHL player to record 500 goals in a career.'

'The '40s also saw an innovation in the game that helped significantly increase scoring: the creation of the center red line. The brainchild of NY Rangers coach Frank Boucher and Boston Bruins coach Art Ross, the red line, which divides the rink in half, was put in place so players could now pass the puck out of their own zone (which had previously been illegal). This helped open up scoring: scoring averages went from 2.5 goals per game in the late '30s to 4.08 gpg in 1944, the first year of the new line. That same season, six NHLers scored 30 or more goals, the first time in NHL history that happened.'

'In 1947, the NHL had another first: their first All-Star game. The exhibition, played between a team of NHL All-Stars and the defending Cup champion Maple Leafs, raised money for the newly created NHL Pension Fund. The All-Stars won 4-3 and the game raised more than $25 thousand ($240 thousand today). In that same season, '46-'47, the NHL increased the regular season from 50 to 60 games. Just three years later, in the '49-'50 season, the number of games would again go up, this time to 70. That number would not change again until expansion hit the league. Also in the 1947 season, Boston Bruins coach Art Ross gave the NHL a new trophy, named for him, to be awarded to the NHL's scoring leader at the end of each season.'

'The latter part of the 1940s belonged to the Maple Leafs since the NHL assumed control of the Stanley Cup in '26, no team had won it more than twice in a row. That changed in the last three years of the '40s, when Toronto won three straight, and four times in five years (winning in '45 and '47-'49). Their opponents in the last two Stanley Cup victories were the Detroit Red Wings, a sign of things to come. In the first year of the new decade, the Red Wings took home the Stanley Cup, and would go on to dominate the first half of the 1950s. Of the first six Stanley Cup finals in the '50s, the Red Wings would win four of them. The Winged Wheelmen were led by Gordie Howe, a brilliant hockey player who began his career in the NHL in the 1946-47 season, and would go on to play professional hockey for 31 more season, spanning four decades. Nicknamed "Mr. Hockey," Howe won six Art Ross trophies, six Hart Trophies and when he retired held the records for goals and points, considered by many to be the greatest hockey player of all time (before Gretzky came along, anyway).'

'Just as the Detroit Red Wings had faced the Maple Leafs twice at the end of the Leaf's string of Stanley Cup wins in the '40s and went on to form their own dynasty, the Montreal Canadiens did the same, facing the Red Wings in '54 and '55, losing both times. However, the rest of the decade belonged to the Habs (their nickname, short for "Les Habitants"). Beginning in 1956, the Canadiens went on a string of five straight Stanley Cup victories, unmatched either before or since. The Canadiens even switched coaches twice during their run, but remained unbeatable for that stretch. Just as the Red Wings were led by Gordie Howe, the Canadiens were led by Maurice Richard and a newcomer, the young (and handsome) hockey star Jean Beliveau.'

'Three innovations that changed the game forever appeared in the 1950s, and two of them actually began in the same year. The first was television. Though televised hockey had actually appeared as far back as 1939, it was an extremely rare occurrence. In 1952, however, as more people began to own televisions, hockey waded into the pool of TV. The first to dip their toes were the Chicago Black Hawks, who decided to broadcast weekend matinee games on Saturdays (not wanting to compete with Saturday night television programs. The Saturday matinees became a staple for the Hawks for years. That same year, a program began in Canada that goes in to this day: Hockey Night in Canada. The first airing was on November 1, 1952, showing a game between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs (beginning in the second period, as Conn Smythe didn't want to show it all). Smythe had sold the rights to Imperial Oil for $100 per game that first year (just $808 today), but after seeing it was a smash success, Smythe sold three years' worth of games for $450 thousand dollars beginning that next year (worth $3.6 million today). '

'The second innovation (and arguably just as significant) was the invention of the Zamboni. The Zamboni, the ice-smoothing tractor used at ice rinks around the world, was created by Frank Zamboni, who opened an outdoor ice rink in southern California in 1940. Zamboni, with backgrounds in both auto repair and refrigeration, wanted a less time-consuming way to resurface the ice, coming up with the machine that drives over the ice, shaving it, smoothing and squeeging it with clean water and recycling the dirty water for reuse. The first Zamboni used in an NHL game was between, again, Montreal and Toronto in 1952.'

'The last innovation occurred at the very end of the decade. Canadien goaltender Jacques Plante, winner of five Vezina trophies and five Stanley Cups, had been hit in the face by a puck in 1955, sidelining him for five weeks, and again in 1956. After the '56 strike, Plante mentioned in an interview he'd be interested in a facemask of some kind. A Quebec fan sent Plante a plastic facemask that Plante used in practice for the next three years. In '57, a man named Bill Burchmore sent Plante a letter, telling him about a facemask made of fiberglass that could be molded to fit Plante's face that Burchmore had been working with. Together, Plante and Burchmore perfect the design, but it wasn't until 1959 that it finally made its debut in the NHL. Plante's coach, Toe Blake, refused to allow Plante to wear the mask, worried it would distract him. On November 1, after Plante was hit in the face with a slapshot, he refused to go back in unless he could use the facemask. Blake finally agreed, and after the Canadiens went on a 10-game winning streak with Plante wearing the facemask, it became a permanent fixture, both in Montreal and across the league.'

'Canadian (and Canadien) Domination:'

'The 1950s had been primarily controlled by two teams: the Red Wings and the Canadiens. The '60s would be no different, only this time, it was Toronto who shared the decade with Montreal. Of the 10 Stanley Cup series in the decade, all but one were won by a team from Canada. Montreal won five titles, Toronto four and the Chicago Black Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 23 years when they hoisted the Cup in '61 - and would not do so again for 49 years. Until 1968, only four teams even played in the Stanley Cup finals: Montreal (who won in '60 and '65-'66), Toronto (who won from '62-'64 and in '67), Chicago and Detroit (losers in '61, '63, '64 and '66). Finally, in the last two years of the decade, a new team arrived on the scene, the St. Louis Blues (a new team to the league, as well). However, the Blues could not get past the Canadiens, who finished the decade with back-to-back wins. The Blues were coached by Scotty Bowman, who, when his career was done, would have more Stanley Cup victories than any coach in history with nine (compiled with three different teams, none of them the Blues, who have never won a Stanley Cup).'

'The Maple Leafs, however, enjoyed their success in the '60s without a familiar face at the helm: in 1961, Conn Smythe, now 66 years old, decided to sell his shares of the team to his son. His son immediately sold the team and the arena away. Though Smythe stayed on as chairman of the board until 1964, his days of running the team were over. In 1964, upon his retirement, the league awarded a new trophy at the end of the Stanley Cup finals, the Conn Smythe Trophy, to the player voted most valuable in the playoffs.'

'The St. Louis Blues were not the only new hockey team to appear in the late 1960s 1967 saw the first large-scale expansion in league history, with the NHL adding six teams to its existing six. The existing six teams (the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks) were nicknamed the Original Six, a moniker that has stuck to this day. The expansion was spurred by a league that had formed in the 1950s, the Western Hockey League. The WHL, which began in 1952, focused its attention on California, and experienced early success there. The WHL even intended to establish itself as a major league, competing for the Stanley Cup. They never reached that status, and in 1974 went under. However, their success on the West Coast (in addition to the NHL's desire to cash in on the TV market there) led to NHL expansion.'

'The six new teams were the Los Angeles Kings, California Seals, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. The Seals would, in the span of just ten years, change their name to the Oakland Seals, California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons (after moving to Cleveland) and then merge with the North Stars. The omission of a Canadian team from the expansion caused considerable ire in Canada, made worse by the addition of St. Louis. Vancouver had been considered a strong candidate for expansion, but Montreal and Toronto reportedly didn't want to share TV revenues. St. Louis hadn't even put in a bid, but Chicago Black Hawks owner Bill Wirtz owned a stadium in St. Louis, and therefore supported putting a team there. The Blues were easily the most successful expansion team early on, making three straight Stanley Cup finals.'

'The addition of the six new teams also divided the league for the first time. Previously, the league had only one division now that six more teams were added, the league split into two divisions, the East and West. With expansion also came an increase in the number of regular season games, which went up to 74 in the 1967-68 season. Just one year later, they increased to 76. New to the divisions were awards for regular-season triumph: the winner of the East Division received the Prince of Wales Trophy. The winner of the West got the Clarence Campbell Bowl, named for a former president of the NHL.'

'Ups and Downs: the 1970s:'

'The '70s were a tumultuous time for hockey in North America. In the '70s, seven different professional leagues closed down operations. The Western, Eastern, North American, Pacific, Southern and Northeastern Hockey Leagues all closed up shop, as did the World Hockey Association. Each league was either set up as a rival to the NHL or as a minor pro league. The World Hockey Association, however, had a far greater impact on the league than any other. The WHA, which began operations in 1972, was mostly made up of teams from cities that had been rejected by the NHL for being too small-market: the New England Whalers, Alberta Oilers, Houston Aeros, Calgary Broncos, Ottawa Nationals and Quebec Nordiques. The new league received a boon when they successfully challenged the NHL's reserve clause, which allowed NHLers to move to the WHA. The most high profile of these defections was that of Bobby Hull, the Black Hawks star who signed with the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA for a then-record ten year, $2.75 million deal (worth $12.8 million today). Another notable name to join the WHA was Gordie Howe. Howe had retired from the NHL in 1971, but returned with the Houston Aeros in 1973 to play on a line with his two sons. Howe tallied 100 points in his first year back (at age 46), and would play six seasons in the WHA. The WHA also began recruiting European players, something the NHL had not yet done, believing European hockey players to be inferior to North American players. In 1979, the WHA folded, but not before agreeing to a merger with the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers (whose name had been changed from Alberta to Edmonton), the Winnipeg Jets, the Quebec Nordiques and Hartford (nee New England) Whalers all joined the NHL. All four teams still play in the NHL, though only one (the Oilers) still play in the city in which they originated. The WHA also helped end the reserve clause, raise player salaries and give credence to Canadian teams (who didn't happen to be located in Montreal or Toronto). '

'The four WHA teams were not the only ones to join the NHL in the '70s. In 1970, the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks joined the league, in '72 the Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders joined the fold and in 1974, the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals were added. Each of those franchises still exists, though some have moved/changed their name, including the Scouts, who moved to Denver just two years after they came into the league and became the Rockies.'

'The increase in the number of teams also altered the landscape of the NHL's number of games played and divisions. In 1970, the games had increased to 78 in the regular season, and in '74, they went up further, to 80. They would remain at that number for almost 20 years. Additionally, no longer would teams play in the East and West divisions now, the NHL was divided into two conferences, with two divisions in each. The Prince of Wales Conference, with the Norris and Adams divisions, and the Campbell Conference, with the Smythe and Patrick divisions made up the new NHL. The conferences got their names from the trophies awarded to their regular-season winners. The divisions were named for significant figures in hockey: James Norris was the former owner of the Red Wings, while Jack Adams was the former coach and manager of the Wings (the Adams trophy was also introduced that year, awarded to the league's top coach). The Smythe division was named for Conn Smythe, and the Patrick division for Lester.'

' The '70s also saw the first Summit Series played, a matchup of a Canadian national team (made up of NHL stars) and the Soviet Union national squad. Helped along by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the Summit Series was a worldwide event, with all eyes of the hockey world turned on the eight-game series. The Canadian public (and most of the press and players) expected to win easily. Though they won, it was not easy, as the Soviets proved to be an incredibly fierce opponent. However, it would be years before a Soviet hockey player laced up skates in the NHL.'

'Also in the '70s, Bobby Orr came to the forefront of the sport. Orr, a young defenseman playing for the Boston Bruins, helped lead the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup title since 1941 when, in 1970, he won the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Norris Trophy. No other player in history has even won all those awards in the same year. The Norris Trophy had been give to the NHL in 1953 to recognize the late James Norris, awarded annually to the player considered the best defenseman. Orr's 1970 win was his third, and he would go on to win five more, winning it an unmatched eight times (all in a row). No player before or since has accomplished that feat. Orr also collected three Hart Trophies in his career, the last defenseman to win the award until Chris Pronger did it almost 30 years later. Orr is credited with revolutionizing the defense position, making it a more offensive position than it had ever truly been.'

'For years, the balance of power in hockey resided in North America. European teams simply did not have the talent to compete. However, as the WHA showed by recruiting European players and as the Soviets showed in the Summit Series, the rest of the international hockey world was finally catching up (with the rest of the hockey world being essentially Europe). The European game developed into a different entity than the North American game, emphasizing speed and skill with less focus on physicality. While North American hockey liked speed and skill just fine, they also loved their bruisers, and Europe didn't play that style very much.'

'In international hockey tournaments (both the World Championships and the Olympics), the Soviets ruled, though this was helped greatly by the fact that both the World Championships and Olympics were played by amateurs and not NHLers. Still, no one could deny the Soviet might almost all of the Soviet stars of the '70s and '80s could (and should) have played in the NHL, but were barred from doing so by the Iron Curtain. In particular, Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak was considered by most to be the greatest goaltender in the world (and is still thought of that way in many circles). Their international dominance - from 1956 to 1988, the Soviet Union won seven out of a possible nine gold medals - is a major part of what made the 1980 Olympic games such a surprise. The United States, made up of a group of college players, beat the Soviets in one of the greatest upsets in sports history, 4-3, in the semifinal match of the tournament. The U.S. went on to beat Finland in the gold medal game. '

'In the '90s and '00s, international teams started using their professionals to play, and in 2002, Canada won its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years, beating the U.S. in the gold medal game. Eight years later, in the Olympic games in Vancouver, Canada succeeded on home ice, winning another gold medal - again, beating the U.S. in the final. In the last fifty years, only five teams have won gold medals: the Soviet Union (and, in 1992, the "Unified Team," a squad made up of the former Soviet republics and Russia), Canada, the U.S., the Czech Republic and Sweden.'

'The Great One: The '80s:'

'The 1980'smarked the first decade since the '50s that the NHL did not add a single franchise, though the Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary (where they still reside) in 1980 and the Rockies moved to New Jersey to become the Devils (where they remain to this day) in 1982. 1980 also saw the end of an era: Gordie Howe, who had moved from the Houston Aeros to the New England Whalers two years before the WHA merged into the NHL, played one season with the Whalers (in their new location, Hartford), retiring for the final time after the season. At 52 years old, Howe led the Whalers in scoring for the vast majority of the season, finishing with 41 points and playing in all 80 games.'

'Early in 1981, after two years with the new WHA teams, the NHL realigned itself. Although they kept the conference and divisional names, the conferences and divisions themselves were reorganized geographically: previously, the Wales and Campbell conferences (which had been, respectively, the East and West Divisions) were a mish-mash of east and west teams. Now, the Wales Conference was made up of teams entirely from the eastern parts of the U.S. and Canada, while the Campbell Conference was made up of teams from the west and Midwest. The playoffs were also redone: teams now competed with teams in their own division in the division semi-finals and finals, then advancing to the conference finals before reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Additionally, the Prince of Wales trophy and Campbell Cup were now awarded to the team who won their conference in the playoffs.'

'But perhaps the biggest addition of the 1980s was two players who came over from the WHA with the Edmonton Oilers: Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky. Messier, considered one of the all-time great captains of the game, ended his career with six Stanley Cup victories (including five with the Oilers in the '80s and 1990's) and would probably have finished with a large number of NHL records if not for Gretzky. Wayne Gretzky, nicknamed "The Great One," ended his career considered the greatest hockey player of all time. He won the Art Ross trophy an unmatched ten times, including seven in a row in the '80s, won the Conn Smythe twice, won the Hart Trophy nine times, including eight in a row (only one other player won a Hart Trophy in the 1980s: Mario Lemieux) and won the Lady Byng five times. To this day, Gretzky holds or shares 61 different NHL records, from the regular season, playoffs and All-Star game, including career points, goals and assists. Messier is second to Gretzky in many of those records.'

'However, before Gretzky and Messier's Oilers could dominate in the later half of the decade, the New York Islanders had something to say first. Following the Canadiens' four-peat to close out the '70s, the Isles opened up the 1980s with four straight Stanley Cup championships, coached by Al Arbour (who, ironically, won his only Adams award the year before the Islanders went on their run). The Islanders streak ended when they lost in the Stanley Cup finals to Edmonton in 1984. The Oilers would win back-to-back titles twice in the decade, their string of four Stanley Cup victories interrupted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. The '80s also marked the end of long-lasting dynasties in the NHL in the two decades since, no team has won more than two consecutive Stanley Cups.'

'The Oilers success, however, clearly did not rest solely on Wayne Gretzky theirs was a complete team, from Messier to winger Jarri Kuri, from defenseman Paul Coffey to goaltender Grant Fuhr, all of them Hall-of-Famers. Still, a shockwave was sent through the hockey world when, on August 9, 1988, Gretzky was traded from the Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. Many blamed penny-pinching Oilers owner Peter Pocklington for Gretzky's departure, while others also pointed fingers at Gretzky's wife, the Los Angeles native Janet Jones. Whatever the reason, Gretzky's trade stunned both Oilers fans and hockey followers across the globe. While the Oilers would go on to win one more Stanley Cup, however (in 1990), Gretzky would never win another.'

'Labor Unrest and Further Expansion:'

'The 1990s were yet another decade of great change in the NHL. When the '90s began, there were 21 teams in the NHL. When the calendar changed to the year 2000, there were 30. Two sets of expansion created a larger league than ever before the first set began in 1991, when the San Jose Sharks joined the league. The next year the Tampa Bay Lightning were added along with the Ottawa Senators (with no connection to the old Senators other than the name). The following year, the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Mighty Ducks brought the NHL's total to 26. The Mighty Ducks inclusion was a source of great contention, particularly among hockey purists. The Ducks, owned by the Disney Corporation, were named after a team of children from a 1992 Disney film. Hockey fans thought this embarrassing despite their objections, the Ducks stayed around, though the team was later sold, and their named changed from the Mighty Ducks to just the Ducks - it was only after this change that the team finally won a Stanley Cup.'

'The second wave of expansion occurred at the close of the decade. In 1998, hockey came to Nashville in the form of the Predators a year later, the Thrashers brought hockey back to Atlanta. Finally, the 2000-01 season began with two new teams: the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild. Of the nine teams that were added to the NHL lists in the '90s, only two have won the Stanley Cup finals: the Ducks and the Tampa Bay Lightning.'

'In addition to adding teams, the NHL moved several teams around in the 1990s. .The Minnesota North Stars packed up and moved to Dallas in 1993, becoming the Dallas Stars. In 1995, the Quebec Nordiques headed southwest, making their home in Denver and calling themselves the Colorado Avalanche. The Winnipeg Jets also left Canada, moving to Phoenix and renaming themselves the Coyotes in 1996, while in '97, the Whalers abandoned Hartford and relocated to North Carolina, rebranding themselves the Carolina Hurricanes.'

'However, as the league enjoyed unprecedented expansion in the '90s, it also suffered through its first significant labor disruptions. The first came in 1992, when, after new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) could not be reached, the players announced, on April 1, that they would go on strike, the first league-wide player strike in NHL history. It would last ten days, as an agreement was signed on April 10. Of the 30 remaining regular season games, 11 were played. The playoffs were not interrupted. The second, and more serious disruption, came just two years later. In 1993, the CBA that had been negotiated in '92 expired, and the entire 1993-94 season was played under the expired CBA. On October 11, after months and months of fruitless negotiating, the owners announced a lockout. This would not last a short time the lockout lasted over 90 days, with the owners and player's association finally reaching an agreement on January 11. The season began on January 20, lasting only 48 days.'

'While the '80s belonged to Gretzky, the early '90s belonged to Mario Lemieux. Lemieux had been the Pittsburgh Penguins' first round pick in 1984, and as the '80s wound down and the '90s started up, "Super Mario" came into his own, winning three Hart Trophies, winning the Art Ross Trophy six times and winning the Conn Smythe trophy in both of the Penguins' Stanley Cup finals appearances (which they won both times). In the minds of many, Lemieux's talent was second only to Gretzky's.'

'The other star of the '90s was undoubtedly Patrick Roy. The goaltender began playing for Montreal in the mid-'80s, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy his rookie year, 1986. He would go on to win two more, though one was not for the Canadiens. In the middle of the 1995-96, Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, and that spring backstopped them to a Stanley Cup championship. He would win a second with the Avs in 2001, winning his third and final Conn Smythe. He also won three Vezina trophies, all while with Montreal. When he retired, Roy held almost several major goaltending records and was considered by many to be the best of all time. Since then, he has lost some of those records to a new challenger to the throne of greatest goalie of all time, Martin Brodeur.'

'As the new millennium dawned, hockey's fortunes appeared bright. They had finally reached a level of stability - no new teams were added or moved in the entire decade, while only one team changed its name (the Mighty Ducks to the Ducks). Parity had reached the NHL as well: only two teams won multiple titles in the 2000s, the Devils and the Red Wings, and those victories were three and six years apart, respectively. Several teams made or won the Finals for the first time, including the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators, the Ducks and the Lightning. However, the middle of the decade saw a dark cloud descend on the sport.'

'Leading up to the 2004-05 season, the CBA had expired, and negotiations between the league (led by Commissioner Gary Bettman) and the NHLPA hinged primarily on the issue of a salary cap. Contracts had been going up and up, and with no kind of cap, there was no end in sight. The players stood firm, refusing to back down, and on September 13, 2004, the owners imposed the second lockout in history. This one, however, would be far more damaging than the first. This lockout lasted 310 days, causing the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season and playoffs, the first time the Stanley Cup had been cancelled since 1919, when the flu epidemic shut it down. When the lockout finally ended in July of 2005, severe damage had been done. Only in the last few years has the NHL finally been able to recover somewhat from the lockout, in attendance, TV ratings and revenue.'

'Out of the lockout, the NHL got itself a hard salary cap (including significant pay cuts for its players). The NHL also, in an attempt to win back fans (and perhaps gain new ones) also changed some of its rules, opening up the ice (by shrinking the neutral zone), prohibiting contact in the neutral zone and introducing "touch-up offsides," all in an attempt to increase scoring.'

'As the NHL and professional hockey enters the next decade, it is in a far better place. Its new stars, including Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, are major figures in the sports world. The Detroit Red Wings returned to dominance in the late part of the decade, winning the 2008 Stanley Cup. In fact, the 2008 and 2009 Finals included both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Red Wings, with the Wings winning the first matchup and the Penguins the second, the first time since '83-'84 that's happened, and only the fourth time in history. The next season, the most recent Stanley Cup finals, the Chicago Blackhawks captured their first Cup victory since 1961. Interestingly, winger Marian Hossa, one of the major NHLers of the 2000s, played in all three Stanley Cup finals from 2008 to 2010 - each for a different team, the first time in NHL history that has occurred. Hossa played with the Penguins when they lost in 2008, played for the Red Wings when they lost in 2009, and finally took home the title with the Blackhawks in 2010.'

'With the NHL finally starting to recover, they are starting to see TV ratings and revenues pick up. However, another CBA expiration is looming, and if the NHL fails to learn from its mistakes of the mid-2000s, it could spell doom for the sport. Time will tell.'
Back To: Sports History Home Page

  • 'Total NHL edited by Dan Diamond (ISBN: 9781572436042)'
  • 'Hockey: A People's History by Michael McKinley (ISBN: 9780771057694)'
  • 'Hockey: Professional Sports Team Histories edited by Michael L. LaBlanc (ISBN: 9780810388626)'
  • 'Hockey!: The Story of the World's Fastest Sport by Richard Beddoes, Stan Fischler and Ira Gitler'
  • 'Olympic Hockey: '
  • 'USA Today Hockey Salaries: '
  • 'NHL Trophies: '
  • 'NHL Stanley Cup Finalists and Winners: '
  • 'Gordie Howe: '
  • 'ESPN bio of Gordie Howe: '
  • 'Hockey Hall of Fame: '
  • 'Wayne Gretzky: '
  • '2004-05 Lockout: '
  • 'Money Updater: '

Our New Sports Section and the specific sports pages were written and researched by a passionate sports fan while majoring in journalism at the University of Missouri. He is now the State News Reporter for Indiana Public Broadcasting
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Vintage Minnesota Hockey - History

The current Hallock Ice Arena was erected in 1974 for the formerly Hallock Fighting Bears - now Kittson Central Wolf Pack Youth Hockey program. Hallock, MN has a rich history of hockey within Minnesota, and was the first city within the State of Minnesota to have an indoor hockey arena. Hallock&rsquos first indoor rink was built in December of 1894. The ice surface measured around 50&rsquo x 150&rsquo. The roof was supported by trestlework rafters so no posts were needed for support. The lumber for this rink cost $350, hauling the lumber came to about $5, nails cost between $15 and $20, lamps for light and other miscellaneous expenses came to about $25, and the contractor charged $50 dollars to build it. In December 1894 the fire department tried unsuccessfully to flood the rink for the first time. They didn&rsquot have enough hose to reach to the rink, so instead they tried to use troughs to finish the job. Again they ran into problems. Before they were finished flooding, almost everything froze up and they had to complete the job using water tanks. On January 6, 1895 the rink opened its doors for skating, with about 200 skaters and spectators in attendance. John Goodman was the first rink manager. Ole Peterson advertised that he had a complete outfit to sharpen skates and would charge 35 ¢ per pair. The rink was even outfitted with a phonograph to entertain the skaters while they rested. The first few years most events at these early rinks, other than public skating consisted of ice carnivals, skating races, and the occasional hockey game. These first hockey games were more of a social affair a serious competitive game. As there were few, if any, roads most of the participating skaters and teams had to travel by rail. These early games and races had to be arranged in accordance with the train schedules.

On March 4, 1895, a skating race for the championship of North Dakota was supposed to be held at the Hallock rink. Mr. Shannon of Grand Forks was pitted against Aif Bouvette. Many spectators from around the area had come to the rink to witness the race, not knowing that Mr. Shannon had refused to come. So to amuse the large crowd that had come to the race, two local hockey teams played a match game. There was no report of the score of the game or the players involved. This was the first game of hockey officially reported in the village of Hallock. On March 8, it was Band Boys night at the rink. Tickets were being sold at 15 and 25 ¢ and all proceeds went to the Band Boys. Another game of hockey was scheduled, along with several races among local skaters. There was no report of the results of either the races or the hockey game. On July 6, 1895, it was announced that Bouvette and Thompson had offered the rink as an exhibition hail for the 1895 County Fair. On August 3, it was reported that the skating rink was being torn down and Hallock would probably be minus a rink for the coming winter. On November 9, 1895 it was reported that Louis Larsen would build a new indoor skating rink in Hallock. On November 22, the following article appeared in the Kittson County Enterprise: &ldquoMaterial is on the ground for Hallock&rsquos new skating rinkand it is going to be a bute too. It will have a clear body of ice 58 x 150 feet with a space about ten feet wide of which will be taken up for a waiting room and the remainder in a platform and seats for spectators. The doors will be thrown open for business in less than two weeks."

But due to much mild weather this rink was not opened for skating until Christmas Day of 1899. Emerson, Manitoba and Pembina, North Dakota also built new rinks in 1895. Emerson&rsquos rink opened on November 28 and Pembina&rsquos opened on November 29. The exact location of this first rink in Hallock is not known, but many historians believe it may have been located near where the present day fire hall sits. The 1894 arena in Hallock lasted only one year and was subsequently torn down for unknown reasons, when the 2nd arenawas added in November of 1899. The local paper picked up the story of "Enterprise Editor, J.E. Bouvette, began promoting the building of a new rink in Hallock. This attempt was finally successful after many years coming up short and by late November the new rink was being constructed (in the vicinity of the present day Fire Department building). This rink cost approximately $1,000 to build. Due to mild weather, the rink did not open for skating until December 25 of 1899". On November 30, 1906, it was reported in the Kittson County Enterprise that the "Hallock Ice Rink collapsed due to the large amount of snow on its roof. The Olson Bros. planned to rebuild the rink as soon as possible". In 1907 M.D. Lawrence built an indoor rink in Hallock. The ice sheet measured 50&rsquo x 150&rsquo and also included a warming room for skaters and spectators. It was located where the present day city garage and fire hall are located. According to available records this rink was around for a great many years until 1915 before it was dismantled for unknown reasons. In the next couple years Hallock began playing more and more hockey games. (No known images of these three arenas are known to exist)

Hallock Hockey 100 Years Program

The Hallock old arena additionally had the same exact plans as the WPA built Winter Sports Arena arena in Crookston, MN with the interior wooden truss support system visible within the building. The Old Arena was used for hockey from 1934-1980 when the town decided that the arena was not going to be used for hockey any longer as the roof was "getting leaky and water was dripping on the ice making the playing surface un-playable any longer". In 1973 after many years of trying to devise a way to remodel or rebuild the old again arena, a group of Hallock hockey enthusiasts came up with a plan where a new arena could possibly be built. A bond issue of $140,000 through the school district was proposed and voted on successfully and with a partnership agreement with the village of Hallock - the new arena became a reality. Over $30,000 in donations were received. Most of the material and fixtures used in the interior were either acquired at cost or were outright donations and all the labor to finish the interior was donated. A used Zamboni ice resurfacing machine was bought from an arena in Ft. Wayne, Indiana for $1280 and Jerry Lindegard and Joel Deere donated their time to go there and bring it home. In 1975 it was decided to try making the new arena a complete ice facility with the addition of an artificial ice plant. In 1976 another bond issue was put to the voters, but this was defeated so another way had to be found to complete this project. In 1980, again by using donated funds and the acquisition of a used ice plant from a defunct ice arena on the east coast the artificial ice became a reality. All labor to install this ice plant was donated so the total cost to put the plant in complete running order came to about $31,000. In 1982 the old Zamboni was becoming obsolete, so another used ice machine was found in Pittsburgh, PA. and was purchased for $6500. Also in 1982 almost the entire inside of the new arena was repainted and plexiglass was installed around the playing area. Bob Lindegard was the first manager of the new arena. Following the opening of the new arena, the old WPA erected barn was sitting vacant. Local farmer Jerry Gillie proposed to purchase the old arena from the city in the winter of 1985-86 and subsequently Jerry moved the building to his farmstead property- which is just east of Hallock 4-5 miles were it still stands today. At the time of the tear-down and rebuild, the building had bleachers, ice boards, and the green metal siding with the old white exterior plywood letters of "HALLOCK ARENA" still in place, as they were in the shown 1934 image. (See teardown images below supplied by Scott Klein)

1974 Hallock Current Arena

Jerry, with assistance from his family and friends dismantled, recycled the boards and bleachers to the city, and moved the building to his land where it was rebuilt on a new foundation and side walls, and stands today 14ft. higher than it originally stood when it housed hockey. It is unknown at this time if the recycled boards within the old arena were the actual boards that were utilized for the old outdoor ice sheet that the city placed adjacent to the newer 1974 rink. Jerry's land neighbors: Jodie & Matt Mootz, purchased the original foundation from Jerry, that they eventually used for an addition on their home from the arena. "The wood was so hard that we couldn't even pound nails into the wood, we had to pre-drill the holes first when building that addition from the used timbers, and wainscoting" - per Scott Klein, (long-time Hallock resident via phone), whom assisted the Mootzs' with their addition. Jerry used the recycled old arena on his property for grain storage at the time when the Government payed farmers, and grain elevators to "store grain as part of the grain storage program, in which typical farmers were payed 20¢ a year per bushel to store grain". Following grain storage, Jerry hauled dirt within the old Arena - now renamed "Gillie Dome", and housed various horse contest & shows within the old buildings walls for 3-4 years. Jerry moved to Medora, ND to retire and still owns the property today in which it is rented out at times for storage of fertilizer to local dairy farmers to raise their calves.

The original 1894 & 1907 built arenas are thought to be in the location of the Hallock Fire Hall and Grocery stores today respectively. The 1934 "Old Arena/Gillie Dome" was in the location of the Hallock retirement home today. The 1974 current arena lies east of Hallock High School and is located at 205 4th St. N and has wooden bleachers for a maximuum seating capacity of 750 spectators to cheer on the Kittson Central High School team. The rink opened in 1974 and had artificial ice for the first six years, when in 1980 an artificial ice plant was installed. The arena, and the city of Hallocks' rich hockey history are featured within the various trophy cases showing several early 1900's hockey teams.

Special thanks to John Lindberg, Scott Klein & Cameron Gillie for the images and information on the Hallock Arenas respectively. Source in part: 1895-1995 Hallock Hockey Centennial Program


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Origin Overview

Ice Hockey is a Canadian game. It’s as Canadian as the Maple Leaf. “Go west, young man”, was the advice of wise men to the youth of the Maritimes as Canada began to develop. They should have added, “And don’t forget to look back!”, for had they done so, Canadians wouldn’t still be searching for the Birthplace of Hockey.

Town of Windsor Nova Scotia circa 1836

It would have been obvious that our national winter sport began and developed as the nation did, and in the same direction, from east to west. Ice Hockey, the fastest and most exciting winter game in the world, got its start on the east coast, in Windsor, Nova Scotia. After developing for seventy-five years in Nova Scotia, it began to spread to the west coast a trip which was to take an amazing fifteen years.

Ice Hockey was not invented, nor did it start on a certain day of a particular year. It originated around 1800, in Windsor, where the boys of Canada’s first college, King’s College School, established in 1788, adapted the exciting field game of Hurley to the ice of their favorite skating ponds and originated a new winter game, Ice Hurley. Over a period of decades, Ice Hurley gradually developed into Ice Hockey.

A man who is still North America’s most quoted author, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, born in Windsor in 1796, told of King’s boys playing “hurley on the ice” when he was a young student at the school around 1800. This is the earliest reference in English literature of a stick-ball game being played on ice in Canada. Haliburton, who wrote the first history of Nova Scotia, was the first Canadian to acquire international acclaim as a writer, and the account of his recollection is therefore of great significance.

Soon after the boys of King’s College School adapted Hurley to the ice, the soldiers at Fort Edward, in Windsor, took up the new game. They carried the game to Halifax, where it gained impetus as it was played on the many and beautiful Dartmouth Lakes, and frozen inlets of Halifax Harbour.

The development of Ice Hurley into Ice Hockey during the 19th Century is chronicled in the newspapers of Nova Scotia.

To quote Thomas H. Raddall, a noted Nova Scotia historical novelist: “When the soldiers were transferred to military posts along the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes, they took the game with them and for some time afterwards continued to send to Dartmouth Indians for the necessary sticks.” As would be expected, coincident with the evolution of the game of Ice Hockey, the basic rules and the equipment with which the game was first played also developed in Nova Scotia – wooden pucks one-piece sticks made by the native Mi’kmaq carvers and world-famous Starr “hockey” skates. When the game was introduced to Montreal in 1875, The Starr Manufacturing Company of Halifax and Dartmouth held the 1866 American and Canadian patents on Starr Hockey Skates, and the Mi’kmaq carvers of Nova Scotia were the undisputed national masters of carving one-piece ironwood hockey sticks. Not only did the Montreal players use Nova Scotia “hockey”skates, “hockey” sticks, and Halifax “Hockey” Club Rules as they learned how to play the game, they were also taught by a “hockey” coach from Halifax by the name of James George Aylwin Creighton. Later Nova Scotian contributions to the game would be the “hockey” net, the position of “rover” and the “forward pass”.

Over the years, the origin of the game has been misunderstood all across the nation and false claims have been made of the game beginning in both Kingston, Ontario and Montreal. These were based on faulty information which resulted from incomplete research. Decades earlier, people knew from whence the game had come.

Dr. A.H. Beaton, secretary of the Ontario Hockey Association in 1898, told the country in a national publication, the ‘Canadian Magazine’, that “Nearly twenty years ago hockey, as a scientific sport, was introduced into Upper Canada from Nova Scotia, the latter being the indisputable home in Canada of this game.”

The roots of the game apparently were lost in the intervening years leading up to the 1940s, because in 1943 when the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association accepted the report of a research committee charged with determining the origin of Ice Hockey, and named Kingston(1886) as the Birthplace of Hockey, an error was made, inasmuch as the committee members had not looked back to Montreal(1875) where the game was played eleven years earlier, let alone further east to Nova Scotia(1800) where it began eight decades before. Had they checked newspapers in the public archives, they easily would have determined that Windsor is the birthplace, and Nova Scotia is the growth-place of the game.

The so-called ‘Kingston Claim‘ was based on a game played in 1886 between the Royal Military College and Queen’s University. George Munro Grant, a native of Nova Scotia’s Pictou County was the principal of Queen’s University at that time. For the previous fourteen years he had been preaching at Saint Matthew’s church in Halifax. Dr. Grant would have been acutely aware of the origin of the game of Ice Hockey and the game’s equipment in Nova Scotia.

To further solidify the Nova Scotia connection to the spread of Ice Hockey, it should be pointed out that the young men of RMC were first introduced to the game in 1884, when Cadet #149, Roddy McColl, arrived from New Glasgow. McColl is credited by RMC students with teaching them the game, with hockey sticks and hockey skates brought from Nova Scotia. He acted as Goal Judge in the first Queen’s-R.M.C. games. In an interview in 1936, he stated, “The Nova Scotia boys defeated Kingston in hockey.”

The Kingston Claim cited “Shinny” ( a Scottish field game actually called “Shinty”) as having been played in Kingston as early as 1855. Shinty was played in other places at the same time, including Nova Scotia. Shinty, although ‘Ice Hockey-related’, did not develop into Ice Hockey.

Captain James Sutherland of Kingston, Ontario, who did much to develop Ice Hockey in Ontario, was President of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association in 1943 when a committee was formed to study the origin of the game. Along with journalist and hockey reporter Billy Hewitt, father of famous Hockey Broadcaster Foster Hewitt, and a friend named George Slater of Montreal, Sutherland’s committee of three was not long in presenting its findings based on flimsy evidence, that Kingston was the birthplace of Ice Hockey. The C.A.H.A. accepted the report and thus gave birth to the “Kingston Myth”. Later in life, when he was reminded that the sticks used to play the first games in Kingston had been sent up from Halifax, Captain James Sutherland conceded that the Nova Scotia capital preceded most centres in playing the game. “Otherwise, why send to Halifax for sticks?”, he commented.

Mr. J. C. Beauchamp of Montreal, while preparing to write a book on hockey history in 1940, wrote to Creighton’s Limited of Halifax, distributors of hand-made “Mic Mac” sticks to Upper Canadian hockey clubs: “The making of the first sticks has a most important bearing on the origin and early development of hockey. It may also settle the old controversy as to whether Halifax or Montreal was the birthplace of the game.”

John Regan, a journalist of Halifax who wrote a book “First Things In Acadia – The Birthplace Of A Continent”, in 1936, wrote to Captain Sutherland in 1943 concerning the birthplace controversy with the following interesting remarks. “You probably agree that any account of this national sport should be as complete as possible. Hockey on ice had been second nature with Maritimes, records show, long, it seems before the game became common in centralist communities. Actually, in 1867, Montreal and Toronto vigorously promoted lacrosse as Canada’s national game and sent organizers to the Maritimes and Britain. The Indian game was languidly taken up here typically tried on skates. Misstatements by Central magazines and broadcasts are quite common but unfortunately there is a tendency to refuse to make corrections. In fact, you can verify that for years, 1860-1890 and after, that thousands of pairs of skates and hundreds of bundles of Indian-made hockey sticks were regularly shipped from Dartmouth, Halifax, and Saint John to sporting goods houses in New England, Montreal, and Toronto for local distribution. Mainly because ice sports in these regions were relatively in infancy, so to speak, and manufacturing had been long overlooked. Hockey or Hurley did not start in the Maritimes at Confederation, but long before.”

Elmer Fergusson, Montreal sports writer and radio sports commentator in the 1940s: “After probing into Maritime Hockey Lore”, he wrote, ” I am satisfied that ice hockey really began in Nova Scotia.”

Foster Hewitt, noted pioneer hockey broadcaster, wrote in his book Down the Ice, in 1936: “Like other evidences of early hockey, it is difficult to confirm the testimony, but it is generally believed that when the young men in Kingston played their early games, the sticks had been imported from Halifax and Montreal.”

William Kerr, of Montreal, who played for Queen’s University’s first hockey team in 1886, commenting on their hockey sticks which were imported from Nova Scotia for the games, said they were “simply wonderful sticks…such beauties that they were…made of small trees, planed down, with roots for blades warranted irresistible by any shin!” Kerr went on to explain that an order was sent to the Nova Scotia capital for sticks. What cadet Kerr and others did not know, was that the sticks were not made in the city but were merely distributed from there by the Starr Manufacturing Company and others, which bought them from the Mi’kmaq carvers in Tuft’s Cove, Millbrook, Shubenacadie, Guysborough, and the Annapolis Valley native communities. Starr later produced “Mic Mac” brand sticks which were popular across the country into the 1930s.

J.W. (Bill) Fitsell, hockey historian from Kingston, Ontario, said that Cadet Kerr of the original R.M.C. team ” gave an important clue to hockey history when he reported that some of the senior cadets remembered that Halifax made ‘simply wonderful sticks.'” J.W. (Bill) Fitsell, also stated in his 1987 book on hockey history entitled Hockey’s Captains, Colonels and Kings, (The Boston Mills Press), “The three Queen’s – R.M.C. matches, 1886-1888, which followed the first Montreal games by a decade, were of historic significance to the new ice sport. They brought together players from two areas of Canada, Halifax and Montreal, where hockey originated and developed, and also from the two centres where it first spread, Quebec and Ottawa, and produced dedicated players who were dispersed to other non-playing centres throughout North America.”

The C.A.H.A.’s unfortunate 1943 decision to cite Kingston as the Birthplace of Hockey was not based on sound historical fact and was immediately challenged from Montreal and Nova Scotia.

E. M. Orlick, the Assistant Physical Director of McGill University knew that Ice Hockey had been played in Montreal in 1875, eleven years before the Kingston game. Commenting on the C.A.H.A. Committee Report of 1943 which supported the Kingston Claim, Orlich wrote, “No amount of eyewash, backwash, or whitewash can convince any individual, who has seen the evidence in my possession, that Kingston has even the slightest shred of an historical claim, either to the origin of ice hockey, or the proposed Hockey Hall of Fame.” In his article, published in the McGill News, he made a case for the game having started at McGill on the basis that some of the players in that 1875 game were McGill students. That in no way gives McGill a right to a claim, for McGill had neither a team nor an ice rink at the time. The fact is, that the first “organized” hockey game played in Montreal was between teams representing the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA) Football Team and the Victoria Skating Club. It was two years after the fact, in 1877, that McGill formed it’s first hockey team.

When Orlich claimed that Ice Hockey started in Montreal in 1875, he may not have realized that it had been played in Nova Scotia for decades before that time. Also, he may not have realized for he never mentioned that a Nova Scotian, one James George Aylwin Creighton, the world’s first “hockey export”, and first hockey coach, had taken the game from Nova Scotia to Montreal and taught it to members of the two teams that played the city’s first game on March 3, 1875, at the Victoria Skating Rink.

Orlich’s article even stated that “there are no records available pertaining to any earlier games” than the 1875 match.

The Boston Evening Gazette, sixteen years earlier, in 1859, printed a story about Winter Sports in Nova Scotia, which told of “hockey” being played in Nova Scotia. Creighton was but nine years old at the time, attending the Halifax Grammar School, practicing figure skating and learning about Ice Hockey which was developing from Ice Hurley at the time. Nova Scotia newspapers of the era had chronicled the evolution of the game during the entire period.

Creighton moved to Montreal from Dalhousie University in Halifax in 1872, taught the game to new friends from then until they played in public in 1875. In fact, the first games in Montreal were played under “Halifax Hockey Club Rules“.

Creighton never did play hockey for McGill, as Orlich, and others since him, would have us believe. It was after Creighton had established Ice Hockey with the Victoria Skating Club and MAAA clubs of Montreal that he enrolled at McGill in 1877 to earn a law degree. Soon thereafter he moved to Ottawa, became Law Clerk to the Senate and, in 1884, began playing hockey with senators, parliamentarians and aides de camp, as well as William and Edward Stanley, the sons of the Governor General of the day. Their team was called the Rideau Hall Rebels and did much to popularize the game in Ontario. Henry Joseph, in an interview in Montreal in 1936 shed great light on the game’s origin. A noted Montreal athlete who played football with Creighton for the MAAA and also played with him in Montreal’s first hockey game in 1875, said that “J. G. A. Creighton was the leading spirit in the introduction of hockey into Montreal” and added that he “could not recall seeing hockey sticks in Montreal before that time, nor anybody playing hurley or shinny on skates“. Finally, Joseph said that “to Creighton should go the credit for the origin of ice hockey in Montreal”.

Dr. C.Bruce Fergusson, Nova Scotia provincial archivist, writing in the Nova Scotia Journal of Education in 1965, concerning ‘Montreal’s Claim’, had this to say: “If Halifax Rules were used in the first game of ‘true ice hockey’, which was played in Montreal in 1875, was it not reasonable to infer that those rules were evolved on ice, not solely on paper, in Halifax?”

Timothy “Ted” Graham, Maritime Champion Amateur Skater of 1887, in a letter written to the Halifax Herald in 1943, concerning the origin of the game, stated simply, “Nova Scotia is the birthplace of hockey, not Ontario.”

William Gill, a scenic artist of Halifax who played hockey on the North West Arm before 1872, said they used : “‘Micmac’ sticks purchased from the Indians at the Halifax Green Market.”

“Old Joe” Cope, highly respected Mi’kmaq historian, hockey stick carver, noted musician, boxer and native elder story teller, moved about the province keeping in touch with members of his Mi’kmaq Nation. In 1943, on reading that Kingston was making a claim to being the birthplace of hockey, wrote to the editor of the Halifax Herald from his home on the reservation at Millbrook, N.S., “Long before the pale faces strayed to this country, the Micmacs were playing two ball games, a field game and an ice game.” The Dictionary of the Mi’kmaq tells that their original ball game was called Oochamkunutk. When they began playing hurley on ice with white men, they called it Alchamadyk.

Rev. J.A. (Jock) Davidson, resident of Kingston, Ontario, commented in a paper he wrote in 1976, “The first organized hockey games played here (Kingston) are shrouded by both the mist of history and the fog of local mythology.”

Dr. Sandy Young, professor of sports history at Dalhousie University, in his book, Beyond Heroes, “The facts lead to one conclusion: While it is true that very primitive forms of hockey-like games are centuries old, THE HOME OF CANADIAN HOCKEY IS NOVA SCOTIA. Other claims cannot be supported by the evidence available.”

Brian McFarlane, host of Hockey Night in Canada for 27 years, hockey historian, and author of a host of books on Ice Hockey, told The Hants Journal of Windsor Nova Scotia, “In all of my years of doing research into the origins of the game, I have never seen anything documented in print about the first games of hurley on ice or hockey until I saw Windsor’s evidence that Thomas Chandler Haliburton recorded regarding the game being played by students of King’s College School on Long Pond circa 1800. No place in Canada is there written evidence of the game being played any earlier, and since hockey developed from hurley on ice in Nova Scotia, until there is such evidence, I endorse and support the claim of Windsor, Nova Scotia to the birthplace of the wonderful game of hockey.”

Scott Russell, Dec. 2000: Co-Host of CBC Hockey Night in Canada and author of ICE TIME: “The birth of hockey actually started at King’s College School around 1800. The boys wanted to adapt the Irish game of Field Hurley to an ice game in the winter months.”

Garth Vaughan, Dec. 2000: Hockey Historian, and author of The Puck Starts Here – The origin of Canada’s great winter game, Ice Hockey: “While Ice Hockey is as Canadian as the Maple Leaf, it is also as Nova Scotian as the Bluenose and the mayflower.”

As of October 3, 2020 the Birthplace of Hockey Museum is closed for the season. We hope to reopen in June 2021.

20 Fun, Random Facts about Hockey

The NHL is in their regular summer lay-off, and not a lot happens in the doldrums of summer. Here we will look at 20 fun and random facts about hockey since the sport was first invented through today. If you are a fan of sports facts, check out my others at Random Sports Facts.

Facts about Hockey

1) No one can definitively say they know for certain when hockey was invented. Some claim it could go back to the 1700’s. While that date has hardly been etched in stone, we can look at the first indoor hockey game that was ever organized. This dates back to the 1800’s — March 3rd, 1875 to be exact. The location was in Montreal at the Victoria Skating Rink. Not only was this rink used for the first indoor hockey game, it was also the location of the first Stanley Cup playoff games in 1894.

2) The Stanley Cup has been around longer then the NHL. The Stanley Cup was created in 1893, while the NHL was established in 1917 — quick math says that’s a 24-year difference. The Stanley Cup was named after Canadian Governor General Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the trophy. The trophy at the time was only seven inches high.

3) Since the year 1914, the Stanley Cup has been awarded every single year except for two times. One time was during a Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919 and the more recent one occurred in 2005 during the NHL lockout.

4) The first NHL goal ever recorded was on December 19th, 1917. The goal came from Dave Ritchie of the Montreal Wanderers in a game against the Toronto Arenas.

5) Now, about the ice cleaning machine — that zamboni that goes around the ice several times each game to make sure players have a clean smooth piece of ice? That was invented in 1949 by Frank Zamboni.

6) Out of all the names on the Stanley Cup over the years, there are only 12 of them who are women. The first woman was Marguerite Norris, the president of the Detroit Red Wings in 1954-55 when they won. All the women are owners or team executives.

7) Manon Rhéaume (goaltender) was the first and only female hockey player to lace up her skates in the NHL. She tried out for the Tampa Bay Lightning and was signed as a free agent. Her first game she played was an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues. She only played one period and let in 2 goals. Her only other NHL game, was a second exhibition game against the Boston Bruins.

8) The first million dollar contract was signed by Bobby Orr in 1971. The Boston Bruins signed him to a five-year deal, $200 000 per year.

9) The biggest hockey prank happened in 1974 when the Buffalo Sabres GM “drafted” a player from Japan who never existed, nor did the team he supposedly played for exist. This was GM Punch Imlach, who released a statement to the media and told the NHL officials he drafted Taro Tsujimoto of the Tokyo Kitanas.

10) The hockey puck. I cannot get through a full article about hockey unless we see a fact or two about the hard rubber black piece that is commonly seen in the back of a frustrated goalie’s net. The puck has a diameter of three inches, weighs six ounces, and they are frozen before each game to keep the pucks from bouncing on the ice and out of play.

11) How many points do you see an average person recording in a single game? 1… 2… maybe 3? Very rare to see anyone go above 1 or 2 per game. Yet, on February 6th, 1976, Darryl Sittler from the Toronto Maple Leafs helped defeat the Boston Bruins racking up 10 points in a single game. He scored 5 goals and had 5 assists.

12) Speaking about racking up points, the first player to ever post more than 100 points in an NHL season was Phil Esposito (Boston Bruins) back in 1969. In 74 games, he had 49 goals and 77 assists, recording 126 points.

13) 1914 marked another change within the hockey rules. Before 1914 referees had to place a puck on the ice between both centres’ sticks. This resulted in many cuts, bruises, fractures and breaks. The rule was passed in 1914 that the referee could drop the puck between the two sticks so they could avoid those injuries.

14) The shortest player who has played in the NHL was Roy Woters who measured 5 feet, 3 inches tall. He served as goaltender throughout 1925-1937. He played 484 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Americans and Montreal Canadiens.

15) The tallest player in the NHL is defenseman Zdeno Chara. Chara was drafted by the New York Islanders in 1996. He currently plays for the Boston Bruins, winning a Stanley cup with them in 2011. He has played over 1000 games and has about 500 career points. Chara measures 6 feet, 9 inches and in skates is close to 7 feet tall.

16) Remember the Disney movie The Mighty Ducks? The Anaheim Ducks are named after this movie. They used to be known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim as the team was founded in 1993 by the Walt Disney Company. The team was named after the movie which came out the year before in 1992. Eventually the franchise was sold, and before the 2006-2007 season, the team switched their name to the Anaheim Ducks.

17) Some teams have multiple Stanley Cups, and leading the way is the Montreal Canadiens with 24. But there are 11 active teams who have yet to win a cup: the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators (expansion era), Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets.

Just five years ago, the LA Kings were also on the list. But in the past three years the team’s won 2 Stanley Cups. They won the cup in 2012 and 2014.

18) Anyone remember Kris Draper, better known as the 1 dollar man? He was traded from the Winnipeg Jets to the Detroit Red Wings for just one dollar. This was a strange deal but Draper ended up playing over 1000 games with the Wings before retiring in 2011. He had 161 goals and 203 assists.

19) During an intense NHL game, it’s imperative that players stay hydrated and full. This is why they eat protein before games and have lots of hydrating liquids with them on the bench and in the dressing room. In a game, the average hockey player can lose between 5-10 pounds, most of which is water.

20) The Buffalo Sabres are the only team to have killed a live animal during a hockey game. In 1974, the team killed a bat during the game.

Hope you all enjoyed some random NHL facts. Stay tuned for my next upcoming article about bizarre hockey incidents.

If you are a fan of sports facts, check out my others at Random Sports Facts.

History of Hockey

Where did hockey originate? Who set down the first rules of the modern game? What was the FIH set up to do?
Whether you’re a history buff or simply want to impress you mates with you knowledge of the game, discover more about the history of hockey below.

Hockey and its Origins
The roots of hockey are buried deep in antiquity. Historical records show that a crude form of the game was played in Egypt 4,000 years ago and in Ethiopia around 1,000BC, whilst an ancient form of the game was also played in Iran in around 2,000BC.
Various museums offer evidence that a form of the game was played by the Romans and Greeks as well as by the Aztecs several centuries before Columbus arrived in the New World.
The modern game of hockey emerged in England in the mid-18th century and is largely attributed to the growth of public schools, such as Eton.
The first Hockey Association was formed in the UK in 1876 and drew up the first formal set of rules. The original association survived for just six years but, in 1886, it was revived by nine founding member clubs.

Hockey and the Olympics
The inaugural Olympic Hockey Competition for men was held in London in 1908 with England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales competing separately. With the addition of Germany and France, the competition ran with six teams.
After having made its first appearance at the London Games, hockey was subsequently dropped from the 1912 Stockholm Games after host nations were granted control over ‘optional sports’. It reappeared in 1920 in Antwerp after pressure from Belgian hockey advocates before being omitted again in Paris in 1924.
The formation of the International Hockey Federation in 1924 was not soon enough for the Paris Olympics but it did grant hockey re-entry in Amsterdam in 1928. Hockey has been on the programme ever since, with women's hockey included for the first time in Moscow in 1980.

Hockey and the FIH
Motivated by hockey’s omission from the 1924 Paris Games, the Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon (FIH) was founded by Paul Léautey. M. Léautey, who would later become the first president of the FIH, called together seven National Federations to form the sport’s international governing body.
These founding members, which represented both men's and women's hockey in their countries, were Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Spain and Switzerland.
Popularised in the late 19th century, the women’s game developed quickly in many countries. In 1927, the International Federation of Women's Hockey Associations (IFWHA) was formed. After celebrating their respective Golden Jubilees - the FIH in 1974 and the IFWHA in 1980 - the two organisations came together in 1982 to form the current FIH.
By 1964, there were already 50 countries affiliated with the FIH, as well as three Continental Associations - Africa, Pan America and Asia - and in 1974, there were 71 members. Today, the International Hockey Federation consists of five Continental Associations, 137 National Associations and is still growing.

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