Ice Hockey Facts Part 1

June 24, 2015
When a sport has been around as long as hockey, there are bound to be plenty of interesting facts, legends and stories surrounding it. And from 10-point games to lost Stanley Cups to the legend of the curved stick blade, hockey certainly has plenty that makes it unique. Here are just a few interesting facts and figures about the game we love. 

 

1. Unlike baseball or basketball, the origins of ice hockey are murky, at best. While some say a version of the game was played by the French and Irish as far back as the 1700s, others claim it was invented in the mid-1800s when Canadians with homemade sticks would skate on frozen ponds in Ontario. (But this has nothing to do with Clovers Defence #13 Alan Flemming…….)

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2. The first organized indoor hockey game was played March 3, 1875 at Montreal’s Victoria Skating Rink, between two teams of nine players each, many of whom were McGill University students. The Shamrock Team were the dominating team in 1899!!

 

Fancy Ball at the Victoria Rink, 1865-66. Montreal'sVictoria Rink is where the first organized game of modern ice hockey was played on March 3, 1875. It was located between Stanley and Drummond Sts., just north of René-Lévesque Blvd.

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3. Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita is most often credited with the creation of the curved stick blade in the 1960s — all blades were previously straight — though many others, including fellow Hall of Fame forward Andy Bathgate, also claim to have curved their sticks as far back as the 1930s and ’40s.

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4. The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded on November 22, 1917…. The Celtic Clovers where founded in 2012!

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5. The Montreal Canadiens have won the most Stanley Cups in league history, with 23. The most recent came in 1993.

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5. The Montreal Canadiens have won the most Stanley Cups in league history, with 23. The most recent came in 1993.

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6. The diameter of a hockey puck is three inches. The origin of the word puck is obscure. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests the name is related to the verb to puck (a cognate of poke) used in the game of hurling for striking or pushing the ball, from the Scottish Gaelic puc or the Irish poc, meaning “to poke, punch or deliver a blow”:

It is possible that Halifax natives, many of whom were Irish and played hurling, may have introduced the word to Canada. The first known printed reference was in Montreal, in 1876 (Montreal Gazette of February 7, 1876), just a year after the first indoor game was played there.

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7. The fastest slapshot on record is Zdeno Chara, winning the NHL’s hardest shot competition the last five years as well as holding the NHL record for the hardest slap shot at a whopping 108.8 mph.

8. Since 1914, the Stanley Cup has been awarded in every year but two. In 1919, it was not awarded after members of the Montreal Canadiens were stricken with sickness during the Spanish flu pandemic, and in 2005, it was not handed out after the season was cancelled due to a lockout/work stoppage.

9. Darryl Sittler holds the NHL record for most points in a single game, with 10. He scored five goals and had five assists on February 6, 1976, helping his Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Boston Bruins.

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10. The standard North American ice rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. (a little bigger than Point Village on Ice but that wont stop us!!)

Come back for more Hockey Facts on Part 2!!