Friday, March 4, 2011
First hockey game took place 136 years ago
The first organized game of ice hockey took place on March 3, 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, based on a set of rules proposed by a group of McGill University students. The game also featured a number of those students.
James G. A. Creighton, who went on to become a McGill law student, was believed to have played a role in the established the first set of formal rules.
Two nine-man groups, one of which was captained by Creighton, opposed each other in the world's first-ever indoor public display of an ice hockey game. The event was played at the Victoria Skating Rink.
By moving ice hockey game indoors, the smaller dimensions of the rink initiated a major change from the outdoor version of the game, limiting organized contests to a nine-man limit per team. Until that time, outdoor games had no prescribed number of players, the number being more or less the number that could fit on a frozen pond or river and often ranged in the dozens. The nine-man per side rule would last until the 1880s, when it was reduced during the Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament.
The key innovation was the substitution of a square, wooden disk (puck), which offered the players far more control than they had over a ball.