Interesting facts of ice hockey

As an ice hockey is a very old and popular sport, it is no surprise there are some interesting facts and legends in conjunction with this game and the players of it. Here are the most interesting facts about the game of ice hockey.

  • The history of ice hockey is unclear until this day. Unlike other popular sports games, there are many versions of both early origins of ice hockey and history of modern ice hockey. Some believes that it comes from Europe; however others claim that Europeans stole the idea of the game from Native Americans. Also there is version that none of the games played before 1800s can’t be considered as the ancestor of modern ice hockey.
  • The first organized game of ice hockey was played only in 1875 in Montreal, Canada. There was only two teams participating in this competition and there were only nine players in each tem. Most of them were students from the same university.
  • Until this day Canada is considered as a birthplace and main centre of ice hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Canada. Also many best hockey players come from Canada. Although nowadays many other countries have proved their ability in ice hockey, Canada is still the leader.
  • Since 1914 the most prestigious award in professional hockey is the Stanly Cup. Since that time it has been awarded every year, except two – 1919 and 2005. In 1919 it was because of the epidemic of Spanish flu, which also hit the players of Montreal Canadians team. In 2005 it was not given, because the season was cancelled.
  • There are lots of accidents connected with Stanly Cup. One it was accidentally left by the side of the road. Also it had been thrown into a swimming pool and even lost in an airport. Despite all of that, the cup is still used as an award of best hockey team.
  • The original Stanley Cup was only 22 cm high. As there are names of players of each winning team written on the base of the cup, there was a need for lot bigger cup. Now the base of a cup with all the names is approximately 80 cm high.
  • The team who has won the most Stanley Cups is Montreal Canadians. Together this team has won 23 Stanley Cups. The second team who has won the most Stanly Cups is Toronto Maple Leafs, but they have only 13 cups. That means Montreal Canadians has proved their superiority.
  • Until 1959 no goalie wore the face mask for the protection. Only after the goalie of Montreal Canadians, Jacques Plante broke his nose because of flying puck; he started to wear the mask and established it as a tradition. Nowadays the face mask is an integral part of goalies uniform.
  • Two ice hockey players who are considered to be one of the greatest of all time – Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy were born on the same day. Also their birthplaces were located only about 200 km apart. That is very odd coincidence.
  • There are twelve woman name on the Stanley Cup, but none of them were players of any team .They were either team owners or executives.

Early history of ice hockey

The game of ice hockey as we know it today has developed form other ball and stick games, which are almost as old as civilization itself. Archeological evidence shows that these kinds of games have been played even in ancient Greece. Later something similar has been found also in China and Egypt. Of course, these ball and stick game were quite different from the modern hockey.

The biggest step in development of the game had been taken only around 1500s, when people started to play these games on the ice. But again, these games were just slightly similar to a modern ice hockey. In Holland people used to play a game on ice that was more similar to golf. In Ireland, there was a game similar to hurling. Also in other Nordic countries there was found some evidences of different games on ice, so it is hard to tell from which game exactly hockey has developed.

When Europeans discovered America, they found out that Native Americans also have their own games on ice. Very popular game there was lacrosse and it was played also on ice. So combining the ideas from Europe and America, the ice hockey was created. It was a lot more primitive then now and it was played only outside. Usually only in small towns and villages this game was popular.

The biggest gratitude on making ice hockey popular goes to Canadian named James Creighton. He introduced many people from bigger cities with this game and organized a group of people willing to play this game. They started to practice hockey indoors. After some months of practice and further development of the game, Creighton introduced society to ice hockey by special exhibition. Society had different opinions about ice hockey as a sport. Some believed it’s a good and interesting game, but others however thought it was violent and traumatic.

The game developed gradually, but at the 1877 the main rules were set. That was the time when ice hockey turned into a game we all knows today. The rules included the count of players in the team and on the field, the standards of the rink, the behavior of the players etc. After that, the game became a lot popular.

Many university students played ice hockey. In 1878 the McGill University established the first official hockey team and next few years there was many other teams established. Later also the first hockey league formed. In 1889 Governor General of Canada Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley watched leagues’ game and become a supporter of the game. Stanley created the concept of a regional competition and gave a cup to the winners. It was named the Stanley Hockey Championship Cup. Nowadays, we now it as Stanley Cup and it is still awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League.

At the end of 1800s and the 1900s the game of hockey spread all over the world. There were more and more teams and leagues established and this game became an object of interest not only for the players, but also fans.