Who's Invented Ice Hockey

Who Invented Ice Hockey? Origins of Ice Hockey

Are you an adventurous, sports-loving person or someone who likes to stay physically fit and healthy, or simply a knowledge enthusiast? Then ice hockey may definitely grab your interest, a passionately exciting game like a few others with unmatched excitement. Ice hockey is a different thrilling sport played on an ice rink, as the name depicts, between two teams with six players each wearing skates.

So, ever wondered who the person to invent this beautiful game was? Let’s discover this fact by going back in history and finding out more about hockey and its invention.

How Did Hockey Begin?

First, back to history, finding out the origin of hockey games. Hockey is amongst the most ancient games of world history and, according to some researchers, dates back to Egypt 4000 years ago. It is also known to have been played in Ethiopia and Iran in 1000 BC and 2000 BC. Greeks and Aztecs also played this game.

Hockey In Modern Times

In modern times, the game of hockey emerged in England in the mid to the late eighteenth century with an increasing number of public schools. The game started in England, traveled to North America, and then reached other parts of the world. In the early nineteenth century, the game started taking proper form and shape and working on forming rules, and the federation started.

Today, Canada is the country we may call the home of hockey since it is most closely associated with the game.

First Organized Hockey Game

The origin of ice hockey is said to be a little controversial and is extensively researched. According to the International Federation of Ice Hockey, the first organized ice hockey game was played in 1875 in Montreal, while the earlier organization of the game was in England.

Did Vikings Invent Hockey?

The earlier studies tracing hockey’s origin have linked it to England and Canada, but a recent archeological study says something completely different. According to the survey, Vikings from Denmark brought hockey to Canada, a massive setback for the Canadians.

On the contrary, Vikings played the game called “knattleikr,” which is the same game brought to Canada. This game is much similar to ice hockey but also bears some differences. So, possibly hockey is a very diverse game from different origins and blended into the shape we see today.

Research and debate are still going on to satisfy curiosity and reach a better conclusion, but the crux is presented above.

When was the NHL Created?

When hockey started gaining popularity, and different matches and championship competitions began, the need to formalize the game emerged. Various leagues and organizing bodies began, but finally, with NHL’s creation, hockey started becoming standardized. The National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in late 1917.

Disbanded National Hockey Association

Before NHL, the National Hockey Association (NHA) ended up in dispute. On November 26, 1917, five out of six owners of the NHA came out and formed the NHL, leaving behind Eddie Livingstone, the sixth owner whose attitude created problems with the NHA. Therefore, NHL was formed with Frank Calder as the president, and its first match was played 23 days after the league’s formation.

This also led to the formation of the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1904, but the IHL was disbanded in 1907. In 1967, NHL was further expanded, and today, the NHL consists of 32 teams in two conferences and four divisions, with its headquarters in New York City.

History of Ice Hockey

Ice hockey has evolved from field hockey but is simply more fascinating. It was earlier introduced by Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia in the mid-nineteenth century and was first played in Montreal, Canada, with its rules devised by James Creighton in 1875. The game seems to have been influenced by an Irish game known as hurling, from which it derived its denotation and was dubbed “hurley.” But Canada has made the most contributions to ice hockey from the 1870s onwards and has primarily shaped the game to today’s form.

Hendrick-Avercamp-17th-Century-Ice-Hockey-Painting
A day on the ice in a 17th century Dutch painting.

It is also said that the first hockey game which was ever played on the ice was a game of “chamiare” (shinty) played on the ice of the Firth of Forth in Scotland in 1608. The game is governed by the National Hockey League, whose formation has been discussed above.

Who was the First White NHL Player?

It’s the players who make the team and contribute to moving it forward. So, together let’s know more about the NHL’s first players.

Unfortunately, whites have always dominated hockey and denied it to blacks like most other sports and privileges. That’s how we started; a game for the white. Hence, all the early players were white, giving no chance to black to come forward. Therefore, there is no one player to name because the game started by white was only played by white.

Who was the First Black NHL Player?

But the trend is changing with time, and black are also getting a chance to participate in all life activities after years of constant struggle and commendable efforts. So, yes, we can tell who the first black player in the NHL was.

Willie O'Ree

Willie O’Ree was the first black player in hockey who got the opportunity in 1958 and played for the Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens. Even though he was able to join the team and play, he faced racial abuse and negative remarks throughout his career, but his perseverance opened the doors to more blacks and served as a source of motivation. He enlists many examples of racist abuse that he had to endure throughout, such as a banana thrown at him during a game in London, Ontario.

The list of incidents is quite long, but thankfully we see a change in today’s landscape even though racism still exists.

When was the First Game of Hockey Played?

As also discussed above, on March 3, 1875, indoor ice hockey was played in Montreal, Quebec, based on the rules developed by the students at McGill University, Canada. The game was played at Victoria Skating Rink with a good number of 40 spectators at that time. The game was played by two groups, each of which consisted of nine players.

Victoria-Rink-in-Montreal
Early Hockey at the Victoria Rink in Montreal.

A lot more advancements have been made from that time to today, but that first game proved to be a breakthrough for the upcoming changes.

Who Wrote the Rules of Ice Hockey?

And now, to the rules part! Because it’s the rules that keep anything going.

Creighton has created the first set of rules for ice hockey. On February 27, 1877, he published his rules after the first indoor game had been played in 1875. These rules were known as “Montreal Rules.” These rules were developed from the earlier existing “Halifax Rules,” used in the mid-1800s. So, summarizing it, this is how majorly the game of hockey has evolved from an amateur to today’s professional commercialized level and time keeps on bringing more and more changes to it for a better exciting sport both for the players and the spectators.

James Creighton

In a nutshell, the exact origin of hockey is not known, but Canada claims to be the pioneer of the game because the first organized hockey was played in Canada. James Creighton had a significant part in organizing the tournament.

But if we go back to history, the game dates back to the 17th century and has input from different countries.

Ice Hockey And Life

On a side note, passion shapes the game, the players, and the spectators, for nothing in this world can ever be accomplished without passion.

There comes my favorite quote from Sidney Crosby;

“I have always had a passion for hockey… that is the key. You cannot be putting in the time. You have to enjoy what you do.”

Sidney Crosby

So, what is your passion? Furthermore, how far are you willing to go for it?

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