In 1875 members of the Victoria Skating Club in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, gathered for the first organized match of a new sport the club had been playing recreationally, on frozen ponds for some time.
James Creighton, a Canadian lawyer, engineer, journalist, and athlete gathered his friends, members of the club, and some students from McGill University to play an official game where teams would be chosen and scored would be kept. They chose teams, 9 per side, and played this new game.
The next day, a story simply titled, “Hockey” in the Montreal Gazette read as follows:
At the Rink last night a very large audience gathered to witness a novel contest on the ice. The game of hockey, though much in vogue on the ice in New England and other parts of the United States, is not much known here, and in consequence the game of last evening was looked forward to with great interest. Hockey is played usually with a ball, but last night, in order that no accident should happen, a flat block of wood was used, so that it should slide along the ice without rising, and thus going among the spectators to their discomfort…
The match was an interesting and well-contested affair, the efforts of the players exciting much merriment as they wheeled and dodged each other, and notwithstanding the brilliant play of Captain Torrance's team Captain Creighton's men carried the day, winning two games to the single of the Torrance nine.
And there it was. 140 years ago, the game of hockey, and a winter tradition, was born. It was born from a group of friends getting together to skate, compete, and have fun.
This holiday season, we look back at how the game began and how far it has come. From ponds to a local rink to the NHL arenas of today. From blades, you strapped to your boots and crude wooden sticks to the skate and stick technology of today. And, from a flat wooden block to the puck we all know and love.
A lot has changed in the last 140 years but some things have not. Hockey is still an amazing way to connect with friends and family. To get out on the ice. To skate. To laugh. To make memories.
This holiday season, amidst the gifts and the parties and the holiday tournaments and early stages of the season, don’t forget what hockey has been about from the beginning, a great way to spend time together.
So, while you celebrate the season, take some time to strap on your skates, find a “flat block of wood” and get out on your backyard rink or local pond and enjoy the game.
Happy Holiday’s from our Hockey Family to Yours!!
- The Sniper’s Edge Team