Ice hockey

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Ice Hockey is a team sport played on an ice rink. As in field hockey, the object of the game is to get a puck into the opposing team's goal (a small net). The game consists of three periods of twenty minutes each. In case of tie, there is a "sudden death" overtime period or a series of "shootouts".[1] Each team consists of six players; three "forwards," (left wing, right wing, center) two "defensemen" (left defenseman, right defenseman) and a "goalie."

The sport is popular in Canada, some Northern and Eastern European Countries (notably Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia and Finland) and many parts of the United States (notably the northern midwest and the East Coast region).

The top professional league in North America is the National Hockey League (NHL), and the league championship trophy is called the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. The Montréal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup 23 times, the most of any team in the league.

Players wear ice skates and try to get the puck through the net to score a point. Often known as a bloody sport, broken teeth, bones, and other appendages are common.


Stick and ball games on ice had been played for decades before 1875 especially in the Maritimes and at military garrisons. In its modern form hockey was standardizes by McGill students in 1875 under rules brought to Montreal by Haligonian J.G.A. Creighton. The game rapidly spread nationwide. The Stanley Cup was created in 1893 by Lord Stanley, Canada's governor general. Almost exclusively a Canadian sport, ice hockey was seasonal, without uniform rules, played outdoors informally whenever and wherever there was available a large enough piece of ice; with its severely cold setting, the sport attracted virtually no spectators. Professional teams emerged after 1900. Five cities in the U.S. and Ontario formed the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1904. The American-based league marked the beginning of the professionalization of ice hockey. The IHL attracted high-caliber players from Canada, thus depleting that country's stock. Although many Canadian amateur teams secretly paid their players, most Canadian hockey associations still embraced the principles of amateurism. The IHL existed for only three years, but that was long enough to spark the creation of a Canadian-based professional league, the Ontario Professional Hockey League, in 1908. Though some have attributed the IHL's short life to a lack of spectators, the primary reason the league failed was a loss of good players back to Canadian teams that by 1906 played in hockey associations, such as the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association, that allowed professionals to play alongside amateurs. The National Hockey League was formed in (1917).[1]

The extremes of masculinity and violence ignited the Ottawa Silver Seven and Montreal Wanderers rivalry of 1907. Newspapers depicted the game as a combination of "brutal butchery" and "strenuous spectacle," speaking to public perceptions and different ways of experiencing the game. Ideals of respectable, middle-class masculinity and rough, working-class masculinity co-existed within accounts of fast, skilled, rugged, hard-hitting hockey.[2]

Facing severe economic pressures during the Great Depression, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association was forced to reevaluate its purist position on amateurism in ice hockey and to rethink its relation to the amateur sports infrastructure in Canada, which was headed by the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada. The poor performance of the defending champion Canadian hockey team at the 1936 Olympics, in a context of international dispute over player eligibility and the authority of national bodies to determine that eligibility, crystallized the problems Canadian hockey faced and led to substantial changes in policies and procedures.[3]

Despite being excluded from Winnipeg's senior hockey league for the 1919-20 season, the Winnipeg Falcons, made up of the children of Icelandic immigrants, became Canadian national champions and won the 1920 Olympic gold medal in Antwerp. Combined with their willingness to serve Canada in World War I, their success made this team a symbol of Canadian manhood, unaffected by the ethnic stereotyping and discrimination that affected some other sports teams during the 1920s.[4]

Maurice "Rocket" Richard (1921–2000) is one of the nation's most important sports icons, especially in Quebec. Playing for the Montreal Canadiens (1942–60) he scored 544 regular season goals and 82 more in playoffs. Famed for his dashing style of play, his intensity, determination, and scoring prowess, Richard the first 50-goal scorer in NHL history in 1944-45, with a 50-game schedule. Richard was named to the All Star team 14 times, won two Hart trophies as league MVP, and led the Canadiens to eight Stanley Cups.[5]

In September 1972, Canada's best hockey players from the National Hockey League (NHL) played the elite amateurs from the Soviet Union in a friendly series known as the Summit Series. When Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau met his Soviet counterpart, Aleksei Kosygin, in 1971, their discussions included increasing the hockey competitions between the two countries. Soon after, hockey hierarchies of both nations decided on a series of eight games, four to be played across Canada (in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver) and four in Moscow. For Canadians, the Summit Series was intended to be a celebration of their global supremacy in ice hockey. The architects of Soviet hockey, on the other hand, had designs on surprising Canada and the world with their skill and claiming the Canadian game as their own. Over the course of the month, the games captured the imagination of both nations. Far beyond any hockey match, the series pitted East against West - Communism against capitalism - and many of the players were swept away with the sense of history in the making that the games engendered. What was to be a friendly contest became instead, thanks to the machinations of the USSR, a politically charged event with extensive cultural repercussions - quite literally, a Cold War.[6]

See also:

Further reading

  • Boyd, Bill. All Roads Lead to Hockey: Reports from Northern Canada to the Mexican Border. (2006). 240 pp
  • Dryden, Ken. "Soul on Ice: A Century of Canadian Hockey." Beaver(Dec 2000/Jan 2001), Vol. 80, Issue 6 in EBSCO
  • Dryden, Ken, and Roy MacGregor. Home Game: Hockey and Life in Canada (1989)
  • Gruneau, Richard. Hockey night in Canada: Sport, identities and cultural politics, (1993)
  • Hollan, Andrew C., 'Playing in the Neutral Zone: Meanings and uses of ice hockey in the Canada-U.S. Borderlands, 1895-1915', American Review Of Canadian Studies, 2004, 34(1).
  • Hughes-Fuller, Helen Patricia. "The Good Old Game: Hockey, Nostalgia, Identity." PhD dissertation U. of Alberta 2002. 258 pp. DAI 2004 64(7): 2496-A. DANQ81202 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Melançon, Benoît. The Rocket: A Cultural History of Maurice Richard (2009), outstanding interpretation, emphasizing how Canadians understood their great hero. online review
  • Moore, Mark. Saving the Game: Pro Hockey's Quest to Raise its Game from Crisis to New Heights. (2nd ed. 2006). 420 pp.
  • Morrow, Don, and Kevin Wamsley. Sport in Canada: A History. (2005). 318 pp. ISBN 978-0-19- 541996-2. online review
  • Stubbs, Dave, and Neal Portnoy. Our Game: The History of Hockey in Canada (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Wong, John Chi-Kit. "The Development of Professional Hockey and the Making of the National Hockey League." PhD dissertation U. of Maryland, College Park 2001. 432 pp. DAI 2002 62(9): 3152-A. DA3024988 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses


  1. Daniel S. Mason, "The International Hockey League and the Professionalization of Ice Hockey, 1904-1907." Journal of Sport History 1998 25(1): 1-17. Issn: 0094-1700
  2. Stacy L. Lorenz, and Geraint B. Osborne, "'Talk about Strenuous Hockey': Violence, Manhood, and the 1907 Ottawa Silver Seven-Montreal Wanderer Rivalry." Journal of Canadian Studies 2006 40(1): 125-156. Issn: 0021-9495 Fulltext: Ebsco
  3. John Wong, "Sport Networks on Ice: the Canadian Experience at the 1936 Olympic Hockey Tournament." Sport History Review 2003 34(2): 190-212. ISSN: 1087-1659
  4. Ryan Eyford, "From Prairie Goolies to Canadian Cyclones: the Transformation of the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons." Sport History Review 2006 37(1): 5-18. Issn: 1087-1659
  5. Melançon Benoît, Les Yeux de Maurice Richard: Une Histoire Culturelle, (2006)
  6. J. J. Wilson, "27 Remarkable Days: the 1972 Summit Series of Ice Hockey Between Canada and the Soviet Union." Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 2004 5(2): 271-280. ISSN: 1469-0764 Fulltext: EBSCO; Markku Jokisipilä, "Maple Leaf, Hammer, and Sickle: International Ice Hockey During the Cold War." Sport History Review 2006 37(1): 36-53. Issn: 1087-1659