Ice Hockey’s History In Canada

It’s the thrill of chasing the puck, sledging down the ice and doubling back to turn around and slam the little biscuit straight into the back of the net.

Ice hockey is a highly competitive and extremely popular sport not only in Canada but also around the world. With firm roots in Canada ice hockey has developed into a popular sporting option all year round at every level of competition, for top athletes from Canada.

Ice Hockey’s Origins And Inception

Ice hockey as a modern contemporary sport first started in Montreal Canada. Birth place and holy grail of the game; the first indoor ice hockey match was played in the city on the third of March 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink.

With the game being nearly one hundred and forty two years old, it is amazing that certain characteristics of the original game from Montreal Canada in 1875 have remained exactly the same to this day. The length of the ice rink and the use of a puck are the two most notable features, still retained in the modern game today.

The Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup is considered to be the oldest trophy in North American sporting history. It was Queen Victoria who appointed Lord Stanley of Preston the Governor General of Canada in 1888.

While Preston presided over his position as Governor General, ice hockey as a sport was just starting to emerge and gather momentum in and around Canada. Preston first witnessed the sport at the 1889 Winter Carnival. With front row seats to the match between the Montreal Victoria’s and the Montreal Hockey Club, Preston and his family started to take a keen interest in the sport.

The Governor General, after slight persuasion by his two sons, Arthur and Algernon, donated a trophy to the game that would be a highly significant sign of the ice hockey championship. The trophy was a silver bowl embedded with gold, first presented in 1893, under the name the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. It was only later on that the name was changed to the now famous, Stanley Cup.

Professional Ice Hockey

It was only after the 1900’s that professional ice hockey teams began to emerge. Five cities from the United States and Ontario Canada formed what was known as the IPHL or International Professional Hockey League in 1904.

The IPHL was the beginning of professional hockey, attracting high-end Canadian players and diminishing Canadian reserves in the amateur league.

After just three years, the IPHL ceased to exist.

Even though short lived, the International Professional Hockey League sparked a change in Canadian culture, with the formation of a Canadian based professional league, the OPHL or the Ontario Professional Hockey League in 1908. The NHL or National Hockey League was founded later in 1917.

The National Hockey League Today

The NHL or National Hockey League is the top League in the world, considered the pinnacle of modern ice hockey in Canada and around the world. Comprised of thirty teams, twenty-three teams are from the United States, with the other seven teams from Canada.

This professional ice hockey championship draws the highest performing athletes from around the globe. With players from more than twenty different countries, the NHL is still predominantly made up of Canadians. The reward for the top trumping team in the NHL today is still the beloved Stanley Cup.