The History of Ice Hockey

Rules of Modern Ice Hockey Were Devised by James Creighton in 1875

Ice hockey game moment

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The origin of ice hockey is unknown; however, ice hockey probably evolved from the game of field hockey that has been played in Northern Europe for centuries.

The rules of modern ice hockey were devised by Canadian James Creighton. In 1875, the first game of ice hockey with Creighton's rules was played in Montreal, Canada.?This?first organized indoor game?was played at Victoria Skating Rink?between two nine-player teams, including?James Creighton?and several other?McGill University?students. Instead of a ball or "bung," the game featured a flat circular piece of wood.

The?McGill University Hockey Club, the first ice hockey club, was founded in 1877?(followed by the?Quebec Bulldogs?named Quebec Hockey Club and organized in 1878 and the?Montreal Victorias, organized in 1881).

In 1880, the number of players per side went from nine to seven.?The number of teams grew, enough so that the first "world championship" of ice hockey was held at Montreal's annual Winter Carnival?in 1883. The McGill team won the tournament and was awarded the "Carnival Cup."?The game was divided into 30-minute halves. The positions were now named:?left and right wing,?center,?rover,?point and cover-point, and?goaltender. In 1886, the teams competing at the Winter Carnival organized the?Amateur Hockey Association of Canada?(AHAC) and played a season comprising "challenges" to the existing champion.

Stanley Cup Origins

In 1888, the?Governor-General of Canada,?Lord Stanley of Preston?(his sons and daughter enjoyed hockey), first attended the Montreal Winter Carnival tournament and was impressed with the game. In 1892, he saw that there was no recognition for the best team in Canada, so he purchased a silver bowl for use as a trophy. The Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup (which later became known as the?Stanley Cup) was first awarded in?1893?to the?Montreal Hockey Club, champions of the AHAC; it continues to be awarded annually to the?National Hockey League's championship team.?Stanley's son Arthur helped organize the?Ontario Hockey Association, and Stanley's daughter?Isobel?was one of the first women to play ice hockey.

Today's Sport

Today, ice hockey is an Olympic sport and the most popular team sport played on ice. Ice hockey is played with two opposing teams wearing ice skates. Unless there is a penalty, each team only has six players on the ice rink at a time. The puck is a vulcanized rubber disk. The aim of the game is to knock the hockey puck into the opposing team's net. The net is guarded by a special player called the goalie.

The first artificial ice rink (mechanically-refrigerated) was built in 1876, at Chelsea, London, England, and was named the Glaciarium. It was built near the King's Road in London by John Gamgee. Today, modern ice rinks are kept clean and smooth by the use of a machine called the Zamboni.

Fibreglass Canada worked with Canadiens Goalie Jaques Plante to develop the first-ever hockey goalie mask in 1960.