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Monday, 17 August 2015

Ice Hockey

The game of Ice Hockey was originally thought up in England. It appeared in a book called Juvenile Sports and Pastimes in 1797, almost 80 years before the first official ice hockey match took place in Canada.

A crude form of ice hockey was introduced in Canada's frozen harbors by English soldiers serving with the Royal Canadian Rifles at Kingston, Ontario. They improvised the game at the rear of their barracks at TĂȘte du Pont, on the iced-up harbour, during Christmas 1855.

The earliest recorded use of the term ice hockey is linked with a game at Montreal's Victoria Skating Rink in the vicinity of McGill University. The match between two nine-member teams took place  on March 3, 1875. It was organised by James Creighton, a member of the Victoria Skating Club and a figure skating judge. The key innovation was the substitution of a square, wooden puck, which offered the players far more control than they had over a lacrosse ball.

1893 Hockey game at the same rink

McGill University is known as "the cradle of ice hockey." It fostered the game in its early days and to promote competition,  produced the first code of rules in 1879.

On March 18, 1892 former Governor General Lord Stanley pledged to donate a silver challenge cup, as an award for the best hockey team in Canada. Now known as the Stanley Cup, it is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.

Originally presented to amateur champions, the Stanley Cup was first awarded to Montreal AAA in 1893. It has been awarded to the top pro team since 1910, and since 1926, only to National Hockey League teams.

The first Stanley Cup Champions: The Montreal Hockey Club 

The Western Pennsylvania Hockey League, which later became the first ice hockey league to openly trade and hire players, began play at Pittsburgh's Schenley Park Casino on November 17, 1896.

The Montreal Canadiens, the oldest professional ice hockey club in the world, was founded on December 4, 1909 as a charter member of the National Hockey Association.

The oldest existing indoor ice hockey arena still used for the sport in the 21st century, the Boston Arena, opened for the first time in 1910.

The National Hockey League (NHL) was established on November 26, 1917 at Montreal. It was originally composed of teams from Ontario and Quebec, (Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, and Toronto Arenas), but now consists of US and Canadian professional teams.

The first radio broadcast of ice hockey was made in 1923 by Foster Hewitt of an intermediate game between teams from Kitchener and Toronto.



Jacques Plante, of the Montreal Canadiens, became the first goalie in the NHL to wear a mask in 1959 after being struck in the face with a hockey puck. It is now everyday equipment for goaltenders in ice hockey.

The USA ice hockey team defeated the Soviets 4-3 in the “Miracle on Ice" game. The match took place during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, on February 22, 1980 and the Americans went on to win the gold medal. The United States national team, made up of amateur and collegiate players had not been expected to defeat the Soviet Union national team, which had won the gold medal in six of the seven previous Olympic games.  In 1999, Sports Illustrated named the "Miracle on Ice" the Top Sports Moment of the 20th Century.

The March 3, 1980 cover of Sports Illustrated ran without any accompanying captions or headlines. Wikipedia Commons

Professional players from the National Hockey League (NHL, USA) participated in the Winter Olympics for the first time in 1998.

The actor Viggo Mortensen is a huge Montreal Canadiens fan. He wore one of their T-shirts under his armor while working on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

On February 16, 2005, the NHL became the first major pro sports league in North America to cancel a season because of labor dispute.

The gold medal Ice Hockey match at the 2010 Winter Olympics was watched by 26.5 million Canadians. That's most of them.

NHL rules state that if a team's starting and backup goalie are injured during a game, almost anybody can suit up as a replacement. Examples have included a team video producer and an embroidery shop owner (who dressed but did not play).

A hockey puck weighs 0.38 pounds.

Egypt has an ice hockey team. Its emblem is a Pharaoh's death mask merged with a traditional goalie mask.

Source Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999.

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