Have you ever played or watched a professional hockey game? If you have you’re probably familiar with its basic rules and dynamics. With its speed and its frequent physical contact, ice hockey has become one of the most popular international sports.
The game is an Olympic sport, and worldwide there are more than a million registered players performing regularly in leagues. Whether you’re a fan or an outsider, here are some fun facts about ice hockey that’ll surely surprise you!
1. Who even invented ice hockey?
The popularity of this sport is crystal-clear now, but its first appearance in history has been heavily debated.
Some say that the Irish and French played a version back in the 1700s, but others say that Canadians invented it in the mid-1800s.
2. Most people swing towards Canada.
Most people consider its rightful birthplace to be in Canada, where hockey is the country’s national sport.
3. Gross – but true!
The first hockey puck, used during outdoor pickup games in the 1800s, was reportedly made of frozen cow dung.
4. It’s been competitive since the 19th century.
5. What is the Stanley Cup?
The Stanley Cup is named after a former Canadian Governor-General, Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the trophy in 1893.
6. The Stanley Cup used to be tiny.
The original Stanley Cup was only seven inches (17.78 centimeters) high.
7. It’s been many different things.
The Stanley Cup has had many adventures since its creation in 1893. It has been recorded that Stanley Cup winners have used it for many different purposes: as a cereal bowl, forgotten by the side of the road, thrown into a swimming pool, and even lost.
8. The Cup’s been awarded most years.
Since 1914, the Stanley Cup has been awarded every year but two. In 1919 after members of the Montreal Canadians were stricken with sickness during the Spanish flu pandemic, and in 2005, after the canceling of the season.
9. It’s not a perfect specimen.
The Stanley Cup is far from perfect! It has been known for numerous engraving errors over the years, including Boston being spelt as “Bqstqn,” and the Toronto Maple Leafs as the “Leaes.”
Many referees have been injured before 1914, when they used to place the puck on the ice between the players’ sticks for face-offs.
Therefore since 1914, the referees were allowed to drop the puck between the players’ sticks. Much safer, don’t you agree!
11. The NHL is over 100 years old!
The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded on November 22, 1917.
12. Those pucks can fly!
The fastest recorded slapshot was Bobby Hull’s, a staggering 118 miles per hour.
13. Gretzky is absolutely the Greatest.
Wayne Gretzky holds 61 NHL records, the most by far of any player.
14. Goals came in thick and fast.
The first NHL goal was scored in 1917 by Dave Ritchie of the Montreal Wanderers against the Toronto Arenas.
15. Malone was a scoremonger!
16. Canada really is the heart of ice hockey.
The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Ontario.
17. Forward passing used to be outlawed!
Before the 1927-28 season, forward passes were not allowed in hockey.
18. Four sides to the clock? Newer than you think?
In 1932, the former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs became the first arena with a four-sided game clock.
19. Ice clearing used to be a chore.
In 1949, Frank Zamboni designed the first self-propelled ice-clearing machine.
20. Those masks do great work!
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante is credited with being the creator of the modern goalie mask.
21. Curved sticks first emerged in the 60s.
Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita is most often credited with the creation of the curved stick blade in the 1960s.
22. Esposito was one of the first big scorers.
Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins was the first NHL player to record 100 points in a season, in 1969.
23. Bobby Orr was a big money spinner.
In 1971, the Boston Bruins signed Bobby Orr to a five-year deal worth $200,000 per season —the first million dollar contract in NHL history.
24. Daryl Sittler was someone you really wanted on side!
Darryl Sittler holds the NHL record for most points in a single game. He scored five goals and he had five assists on February 6, 1976. With his great performance he helped Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Boston Bruins.
25. However, some defenders also score big.
26. Boundaries started breaking down in the 90s.
Twelve women either as owners or team executives have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.
27. Who’s the most decorated Stanley Cup participants?
The Montreal Canadians have won the most Stanley Cups in league history, with 23. The most recent came in 1993.
28. Helmets have been important for a long time.
The last player in the NHL to play without a helmet was Craig MacTavish, who retired in 1997.
29. How big is an ice rink?
The standard North American ice rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide.
30. Frozen to reduce bounce!
Before games, hockey pucks are frozen to prevent them from bouncing during play.
31. There’s standard sizing on pucks and nets.
The diameter of a hockey puck is three inches.
Regulation hockey nets are six feet wide and four feet tall.
32. Know your place!
Goalies cannot carry, or even touch the puck on the opposite side of the center line.
33. Even the ice is regulated.
The layer of ice in a pro hockey rink is usually three-quarters of an inch thick and is kept at a temperature of -9 degrees Celsius.
FAQs about Ice Hockey
Does the Russian President play Ice Hockey?
Yes, President Vladimir Putin is an accomplished ice hockey player! He has participated in a number of league games and is an enthusiastic spectator of the game, too!
Which country played the most ice hockey in the period 2019 to 2020?
Canada plays the most ice hockey. In the period 2019/2020, 608,000 players were registered to participate in the game!
Do any tropical countries play ice hockey?
Yes, and some take it very seriously! Despite being in the tropics, in the Philippines, amateurs began playing ice hockey casually in rinks set up in shopping malls!
Do you know any or fun facts about ice hockey? Share them in the comments below!