HOCKEY IN CANADA
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Origin of Ice hockey
Ice Hockey is a Canadian game.
It's as Canadian as the Maple Leaf.
"Go west, young man", was the advice of wise men to the youth of the Maritimes as Canada began to develop. They should have added, "And don't forget to look back!", for had they done so, Canadians wouldn't still be searching for the Birthplace of Hockey. It would have been obvious that our national winter sport began and developed as the nation did, and in the same direction, from east to west. Ice Hockey, the fastest and most exciting winter game in the world, got its start on the east coast, in Windsor, Nova Scotia. After developing for seventy-five years in Nova Scotia, it began to spread to the west coast; a trip which was to take an amazing fifteen years.
Ice Hockey was not invented,
nor did it start on a certain day of a particular year. It originated around
1800, in Windsor, where the boys of Canada's first college, King's
College School, established in 1788, adapted the exciting field game of
Hurley to the ice of their favorite skating ponds and originated a new winter
game, Ice Hurley. Over a period of decades, Ice Hurley gradually developed into
A man who is still North America's most quoted author, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, born in Windsor in 1796, told of King's boys playing "hurley on the ice" when he was a young student at the school around 1800. This is the earliest reference in English literature of a stick-ball game being played on ice in Canada. Haliburton, who wrote the first history of Nova Scotia, was the first Canadian to acquire international acclaim as a writer, and the account of his recollection is therefore of great significance.
Soon after the boys of King's College School adapted Hurley to the ice, the soldiers at Fort Edward, in Windsor, took up the new game. They carried the game to Halifax, where it gained impetus as it was played on the many and beautiful Dartmouth Lakes, and frozen inlets of Halifax Harbour.
The development of Ice Hurley into Ice Hockey during the 19th Century is chronicled in the newspapers of Nova Scotia.
To quote Thomas H. Raddall, a
noted Nova Scotia historical novelist: "When the soldiers were transferred
to military posts along the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes, they took the game
with them; and for some time afterwards continued to send to Dartmouth
Indians for the necessary sticks."
As would be expected, coincident with the evolution of the game of Ice Hockey, the basic rules and the equipment with which the game was first played also developed in Nova Scotia - wooden pucks; one-piece sticks made by the native Mi'kmaq carvers and world-famous Starr "hockey" skates. When the game was introduced to Montreal in 1875, The Starr Manufacturing Company of Halifax and Dartmouth held the 1866 American and Canadian patents on Starr Hockey Skates, and the Mi'kmaq carvers of Nova Scotia were the undisputed national masters of carving one-piece ironwood hockey sticks. Not only did the Montreal players use Nova Scotia "hockey"skates, "hockey" sticks, and Halifax "Hockey" Club Rules as they learned how to play the game, they were also taught by a "hockey" coach from Halifax by the name of James George Aylwin Creighton. Later Nova Scotian contributions to the game would be the "hockey" net, the position of "rover" and the "forward pass".
Over the years, the origin of the game has been misunderstood all across the nation and false claims have been made of the game beginning in both Kingston, Ontario and Montreal. These were based on faulty information which resulted from incomplete research. Decades earlier, people knew from whence the game had come.
Dr. A.H. Beaton, secretary of the Ontario Hockey Association in 1898, told the country in a national publication, the 'Canadian Magazine', that "Nearly twenty years ago hockey, as a scientific sport, was introduced into Upper Canada from Nova Scotia, the latter being the indisputable home in Canada of this game."
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