The sport of ice hockey has been
believed to originate from the games played on
makeshift ice skates in the Middle Ages. Many
believe that North American Indians were the
first actual ice hockey players, engaging in
the sport with curved field tools on an ice
During the mid-19th century, a simple form of ice hockey was
developed in Canada’s frozen harbors by British troops. The exact
location of the first formal game of ice hockey is still debatable,
with three Canadian cities, Halifax, Kingston, and Montreal all
staking claim to the pioneering of the sport. It is thought that ice
hockey was being played as early as 1830 in Kingston, Ontario.
The first recorded game of ice hockey was organized by a
McGill University student in 1875. The game was played between two
teams of McGill University students on their Montreal campus.
Not long after, the first sets of rules for this new found sport were
established by two McGill University students, W.F. Robertson and
R.F. Smith. The new rules replaced the ball that had been used up to
that point with the puck, which is still in use today and is the most
recognizable piece of equipment that relates to the sport of hockey.
By 1885 a four-team league was formed in Kingston, and thus the start
of organized hockey began.
The game of hockey quickly began to pick up many supporters,
resulting in the formation of teams all over Canada. Teams began to
play in indoor rinks that were once exclusively for ice skaters.
Hockey’s popularity grew to such an extent that by 1893, Canada’s
governor general, Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston, donated
a trophy to be awarded annually to Canada’s national hockey champion.
Hockey’s popularity not only was profound in Canada, but also in the
United States by the early 1890's.
By 1903 the first professional hockey team was developed in
Houghton, Michigan. The International Pro Hockey League soon followed
as the first professional hockey league. Teams stemming from both
Canada and the United States were able to play competitively against
each other for the first time.
In 1917 the National Hockey League was formed. Originally
composed of only a few Canadian teams, the NHL eventually expanded to
include the Boston Bruins in 1924. Not long after, teams from Chicago,
Detroit, Pittsburgh, and two New York teams joined the NHL. The
expansion of the NHL was slow and drawn out. By 1967 however, the
league had expanded to 12 teams. In 1974 six more teams were added,
and presently expansion has resulted in a league composed of more than
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