Ice hockey is considered to be the biggest international winter sport and in the top 10 most popular sports in the world. Today, millions around the globe flock to ice rinks to see players battle it out on every level, from professional NHL tournaments and winter Olympic Games to amateur college competitions and up-and-coming junior and high school matches. It begs the question — how did ice hockey come to be? Here is a brief history of the sport and how it has become so popular today.
Ice Hockey: A Short History
The etymology of the word “hockey” is unknown, but the name itself dates back to the 16th century. Many games involving sticks and balls predate Christian times, but not much is known about ice hockey itself until the 1800s. A game played in Nova Scotia by the Mi’kmaq Indians is said to have influenced an Irish game called “hurling,” which involved a wooden block and a “hurley” stick. This game is believed to be the precursor of field hockey, which later developed into the sport we know as ice hockey today.
The first official game of ice hockey is said to have taken place in 1875 at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 1877, the same university organized a hockey club that instated certain rules including the number of players and ones to be followed to avoid accidents and injuries sustained during the first two years of gameplay. By the late 1800s, hockey had established leagues, and professional uniforms and gear were being manufactured to make gameplay safer.
In 1917, the National Hockey League was established, which is still the most prominent hockey association known today. Since it’s the establishment, NHL and the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) compete against one another at the Olympic and World Cup championships, and the sport has surged in popularity. You can find youth hockey programs all over the world encouraging young people to take an interest and igniting a continued passion for the game.
If you’re interested in winter sports or looking for an engaging physical activity, stop by Aspen Ice in Randolph, NJ. They offer a wide range of ice hockey camps and classes with experienced instructors who will teach you the skills you need to improve, all while having fun. For more information on available programs, visit them online or call (973) 927-9122.