The game of ice hockey probably evolved from the game of field hockey that was played in Northern Europe for hundreds of years. The modern version of ice-hockey finds its origins in the rules laid down by a Canadian named J G Creighton. His rules were implemented in the first game of ice hockey played in Montreal, Canada in the year 1875.
In fact, the “rink” or the playing area for ice hockey was actually used in the game called “curling” in Scotland during the 18th century. Initially there were as many as thirty players for each side and the goals were two stones frozen on one end of the ice. The rules for the game of ice hockey were drafted at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in the year 1879. Ice hockey found its way to the US in the year 1893. By the early 1900s, the sport had become prevalent in parts of Europe including the UK.
The hockey stick was introduced in the early 1800s. The first stick was created of wood with a flat blade. In the 1920s, hockey players began to tape their sticks to increase the hold and strengthen the blade. The banana curve or the bend in the blade which we see today was developed during the phase between the years 1957-1980. A certain player named Bobby Hull broke a stick at a practice match and began to play around with the “bent” stick and found to his amazement that there was far more accuracy in his shots. In the early 1980s, the sticks were formed of metals. By the turn of the 21st century, there have been three types of hockey sticks-wood, composite (reinforced wood sticks) and aluminum. The aluminum hockey sticks are most often used today because of its light weight, durable nature and replaceable blades.
Legend has it that a Canadian by the name of Pierre Lapin introduced the game of ice-hockey. He would implement a crooked stick to help him walk comfortably over the surface of the ice. This particular stick, also known as the first stick is now kept in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto. He swung the stick at a piece of a frozen beaver bladder and came up with the idea of ice hockey. The bladder fell short of a small bay which was an imitation of the goal post. Soon the whole idea developed into a game of ice hockey and many people began to play the game of hockey on the snow and icy area. The then Prime Minister Stanley Park decided to form a league of talented player and offer a prize to the winning team. A tea pot was offered as the prize. The prize soon began to set a trend for future games. In 1926, the National Hockey League (NHL) emerged unquestionably as the top league in North America and took official control of the cup. The tea-pot shaped prize now known as the Stanley Cup is the most coveted trophy in the world of ice-hockey. (from here)
And as you all know, Canada won the Olympic gold medal in the men's AND women's hockey just last month. Here you see Canadian fans (click to enlarge) lined up patiently waiting to see that game at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, BC. As Canadians, even facing such a historic game as they did this day, everyone behaved well even up to hours after the medal was won. There was a lot of yelling, cheering, and singing of "O Canada" but no fighting or rioting. Hockey truly is Canada's sport of choice! And now that the Olympics are over, the National Hockey League is back in full action, and all Canadians anxiously await the playoffs for the Stanley Cup in May. Will it be a Canadian team or an American team? It really doesn't matter since both countries have players not only from both countries, but also from countries around the world.