History of Hockey


Hockey is a fast paced, hard hitting, exciting game of skills and talent. Since the 1800s to today, hockey has evolved and developed dramatic changes. The changes are what define hockey today. Those changes included equipment, rules, gender and even color of people.

History of Hockey

History of Hockey
History of Hockey

There are many conflicting stories behind the beginning of hockey. Some people say the initial match played in the snow was in either Nova Scotia or Windson, or even Montreal depending on your evidence and how you believe it. Most believe it originated in Ireland and evolved from the game of Hurley. Hurley was played on the green fields in the summer and when winter approached they would play on the frozen over ponds. At the middle of the 1800s, that’s when Hurley became Hockey. A Canadian royal officer, who was stationed near Nova Scotia, had the men under him playing Hurley for years. He passed away in 1864, and it was decided that the game is named after him, Hockey.

In 1870 was when the first organized game was played. James Creighton, an engineer, taught his friends at Mc Gill University where he came up the Halifax laws. The publication of the guidelines was made in 1877 and by 1892, the game was well known all over Canada and the US. A trophy was then donated by, Fredrick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston and the Governor-General of Canada, the trophy was named Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, but later on it became known as Stanley Cup. This was the first winning team to be known as Montreal Amateur Athlete Association. College and team clubs were formed 1895 and by 1900, the game appeared in Europe countries.

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Hockey spread geographically. The amateur athletic clubs who played organized hockey consisted of noblemen. The hockey association and teams were formed among middle and lower classes. Women also played early organized hockey, forming their league by the turn of the century. The first black league began in Nova Scotia, the colored league of Maritimes. Its creation was spurred because the white leagues would not allow black players. Early hockey was, however, plagued by excessive violence. In two cases, one in 1905 and 1907, hockey players were prosecuted after the exchange blows that took the lives of other hockey players. In both cases, the players were not guilty, but the media and several people in the nation called for legislation to be enacted that would curb the violence.

As the hockey game gained popularity, it was considered as a money – making sport for the owners. The Stanley Cup was a huge financial success, luring large crowds who paid good money to watch the game. Hockey’s large success also leads to gambling on the sports. Despite, all the funds coming from the game, approximately none was going to the players. The vast majority of the players were never paid. It all changed when Jack Gibson a star player went to study dentistry in Detroit. After setting up a practice in Detroit, Gibson formed the Portage Lake Hockey team. Gibson’s new team was given an arena by local businessperson James Dee, who invested a great deal of money in the team. The Portage Lake team was exceptionally good, beating most opponents over two years. This was brought by the fact that Gibson was recruiting Canadian stars to come and join the team and offering to pay them. Gibson’s Portage Lakers won the Stanley Cup Championship. The success of two game series- called the world championship.

Dee and Gibson formed the International Hockey League, the first professional hockey league in the hockey world. Hockey grew popular.

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