Inventor of Hockey

By Martin Gilliard

There is thought to be no one single inventor of hockey in fact the creation of hockey is somewhat of a mystery. There are many claims to its invention, but no consensus.

Ice hockey is a sport that is played throughout the world in professional leagues such as the NHL and in cul-de-sacs across North America and it is also the national pastime in Canada. Known as the “coolest game on Earth and also one of the fastest because of the ice too!

ice hockey

(Photo Credit: CT State Library)

When considering its invention no one can pin point the exact origins of hockey, there are several ancient sports that resemble hockey however all of these sports differ in specific areas. 

One of these sports was Ijscolf a game where a wooden curved bat was used to hit a wooden or leather ball between 2 poles at an object with the least amount of shots. 

Another game that resembled ice hockey is a game called Knattleikr which was played by the Vikings many years ago. 

The most popular theory on the invention of hockey is that it evolved in Canada sometime around when the country was being settled by Europeans.

The winters brought snow and cold weather but this didn’t deter Canadians from continuing with sporty pastimes – new sports were created using the ice as their new playing fields.

The European settlers played a primitive form of hockey that was influenced by the game of Knattleikr – a game played by various Aboriginal groups and Icelandic immigrants in which the players would hit a ball with sticks.

Not long after the arrival of the modern ice skate in the nineteenth century people started making there skating experiences more interesting by shooting a ball or a puck across the ice with a stick.

Many generations of improvements have led to what today is now known to be the world’s most popular winter team sport.

What is clear is that hockey as we know it today evolved from Canada and Canada is the country that provides the main supply of NHL talent.

The people of Quebec believe that modern day hockey was first played at McGill University in Montreal, whereas the people of Ontario believe it was first played in Kingston. Then there is also the city of Halifax in Nova Scotia who also makes claims to the invention of hockey.

Hockey the name actually derives from the French word hoquet which means “shepherd's crook”.

Hockey as an organized team sport began in Canada in the mid-1850’s with the first league forming in Kingston and consisting of four clubs.

Everyone has their own take on who created hockey but one thing we know for sure is that there is no one inventor of hockey as hockey developed over centuries with the game still being changed today.


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