Hockey - History of Hockey


The earliest forms of the game of Hockey were simply played using sticks that hit balls across a field. These games date back to the ancient world, although the specific time of their introduction remains unknown. Throughout the 2nd millennia AD, the game of hockey went by various names including "shinty", "badie ball", "kolf", "knattleikr" and "bung" throughout Europe, Scotland, Iceland and the Netherlands.

The first known game of ice hockey occurred 1799, when a letter written by William Pierre Le Cocq described the rules to the recipient. Shortly thereafter, British immigrants transferred the game to the United States. During the 1820s, indications of hockey games were recorded in letters and art from that time. By 1859 the Boston Evening Gazette even began referring and mentioning the results of local games.

Although played across the artic world, Montreal was the center of the first organized indoor game. On March 3rd, 1875, two teams of nine-players took to the ice for hockey's first recorded game. At the time, there were only twelve rules sanctioned by the Hockey Association. By 1880, the number of players was reduced to seven.

Rapidly, the number of Hockey teams throughout Canada and the rest of the world grew, and by 1883 a world championship was held in Montreal. Unsurprisingly, the home team won.

Lord Stanley of Preston, who was the Governor General of Canada in the year 1888, decided that there should be recognition off Canada's best hockey team. For this he purchased a silver bowl and named it the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. This award, which eventually became known as the Stanley Cup, was awarded to the Montreal Hockey Club in 1893. This was a huge achievement, as there were nearly 100 teams present in just Montreal during that year.

Hockey in the United States developed through the use of a ball instead of a puck. But by 1893 the first ice hockey match was played between Yale University and Johns Hopkins University. Continuing to grow over the next century, hockey's popularity traveled throughout the world. The first professional hockey teams were organized in the early 20th century, and the sport was added to the Olympic games by 1920.

From the ancient ball and stick games to the highly anticipated worldwide Olympic games of today, hockey continues to excite people throughout the world. Development of the game will surely continue, as this excitement carries local and professional teams to strive to become better players, teams and models for this historical game.

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