The origins of ice hockey have attracted heated debates in recent years. For a long time, ice hockey was believed to have originated from Indian lacrosse and field hockey and spread across Canada by British soldiers. In the later 1980s, some research showed the mention of a hockey-like game that was played in the early 1800s by the Micmac Indians. Researchers now believe that the mentioned game was the game that fundamentally spread through Canada and evolved to be the Ice Hockey sport that we know and love today.
The name ‘hockey,’ as the organized game is currently known, is said to have originated from ‘hoquet,’ a French word that refers to a shepherd’s stick. The designated play area of ice hockey is known as the rink. That term was used initially in the game of curling back in the 18th century.
The early ice hockey games allowed each team to field up to 30 players on the ice for each team. The goals were just two stones that were each placed across the length of the playing area and frozen into the ice. A ball was used instead of the puck. It is until 1860 that the use of a puck was first recorded. That game took place in Kingston Harbor in Ontario, Canada.
The first-ever public ice hockey game that was played indoors and recorded took place in Victoria, back in 1875. The game was between two student teams, both from McGill University. The game’s reputation of violence began from that very first recorded game, with The Daily British Whig reporting that fans fled in confusion after shins and heads were battered.
The first organized ice hockey team to have ever been formed was the McGill University Hockey Club, which was formed in the year 1877. The team tweaked the rules of the game and set a limit to the number of players that could be fielded at a time.