Did you know the word “hockey” originated from the French word “hoquet,” meaning shepherd’s stave? For a sport as old as the hills, hockey does seem to have a number of astounding facts.
Many people consider hockey’s rather interesting history to date back to 4000 years ago when it was played during the ancient Egyptian times, according to some claims. Today, however, the world recognizes it in various factions, including sledge, roller, field, street, and ice hockey.
So, in honor of the world’s 4th most-watched sport, we have gathered a list of 12 interesting facts about the remarkable game of hockey. Read on!
Here Are the 12 Interesting Facts About Hockey You MUST Know!
1. 1875: The Year of the First Indoor Game
Even though several versions of the game have existed throughout centuries, Canada was first introduced to it in the 19th century. This was when British soldiers and immigrants introduced the locals to hockey.
Hence, 1875 was the fortunate year when a King’s College graduate organized the first game of hockey indoors. Played at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Quebec, the two teams consisted of 9 men each. The organizers also took the initiative of using a flat wooden puck instead of the regular puck to minimize the chances of injuries and damage.
2. Montreal Canadians: The Team to Win the Most Stanley Cups!
Ever since the National Hockey League came about in 1917, the team that won the highest number of Stanley Cups was the “Montreal Canadians.” After taking the crown a total of 23 times, the team firmly held its record for many years and is still unbeaten.
Fun Fact: The team rejoiced the most number of wins under the coaching of “Joseph Toe Blake” from 1956 to 1960. Toe Blake also played for the Sudbury Wolves, who bagged the Memorial Cup Championship of 1932.
3. The 2010 Olympics Final Men’s Game Was Watched by Almost 80% of Canada
There’s a reason why the 2010 Winter Olympics event is regarded as the Golden era for hockey in Canada. Not only was it the first event of this sort ever since 1988, but it was also watched by a whopping 26.5 million people in the country.
Interestingly enough, the number accounted for at least 80% of the country’s population back then. After the intense encounter between Finland and the USA in the 1980 Olympics, this was the most-watched game in the history of hockey.
4. Hockey Pucks or Cow Poop Patty?
Legend has it that some of the earliest hockey pucks were made out of fecal matter released from a cow. Yes, you read it right.
Cow poop patty was processed and frozen in a way that it could be used for a hockey puck. It’s safe to say that the early days of the game were definitely some of the most interesting ones.
Fun Fact: Modern day frozen pucks are actually an inspiration from the cow poop days. In fact, the idea behind freezing these pucks was to ensure that they didn’t bounce during play and were safer for the audience as well as the players.
5. Don’t Be a Hockey Puck!
Did you know that the term hockey puck is popularly used as an insult? The origins of the informal connotation go back to the 1995 movie “The Original Toy Story” where Don Rickles’ first coined the phrase “Don’t be a hockey puck!”
However, it wasn’t the first time he had used it. The comic genius often used to refer to his audiences as “hockey pucks” and rile them up in the 1950s when he first started to appear on stage.
6. It’s Among the Fastest-Moving Sports In the World
Speaking of Ice hockey, the game is divided into three periods. Each period is 20-minute long. During these 20 minutes, the players enhance their hitting capacity by firing fast shots.
Moreover, the National Hockey League season witnesses over 80 games played per year with an average team playing three to four times a week. After all, the soaring popularity of the game speaks for itself.
7. Would You Like to Play for a Team?
Imagine being called from the audience to serve as a goalie for your dream team. It seems like a far-fetched idea, doesn’t it?
As the rule states, if two goalies from a team get injured during a game, anyone is welcome to take their position. Yes, you read that correctly. You can play their position even as a fan from the arena.
One of the most recent displays of this rule was witnessed in a 2018 game where Scott Foster was called to fill in for the Chicago Blackhawks’ netminder. The former hockey player for his college team became an accountant shortly after his graduation. However, he left the crowd awe-struck as soon as he was called to fill in for a position in the team.
Fun Fact: Speaking of astounding facts about hockey, did you know that Mario Lemieux from Pittsburgh scored five goals in five different ways in a single game?
During a fateful game in 1988, the player scored a goal in the power play, one on a penalty shot, another one shorthanded, another one at even strength, and the final one in the last second of the game into an empty net.
8. The Ritual of Napping Before a Game
Who naps before a game? You may be wondering.
While some call it ritual, others refer to it as a necessity. Most hockey players prefer to take a nap right before a game. This is because a typical game of hockey isn’t just long but also laborious and being in their best form requires a careful mapping out of the hours to nap.
In fact, in his very own words, Jody Shelley, a renowned ice hockey player states, “Never mess with naps. They’re not just naps but science. They’re absolutely crucial.”
9. Mouth Guards Aren’t Mandatory
This pretty much explains the reason behind so many players being toothless. Well, unless you don’t care about that picture-perfect smile, wearing a mouth guard should be done voluntarily.
However, interestingly enough, the National Hockey league does not oblige players to wear it. Thankfully, 90% of players do it for their own sake and the remaining 10% probably don’t fear losing much.
10. Asian Field Hockey Is As Popular As It Can Be!
It’s rather unfortunate that South Asia hardly has enough hockey tournaments anymore. However, up until the early 1980s, the same continent bagged more world cup titles and Olympic gold medals than the rest of the world. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are among the top countries that play hockey in the subcontinent.
Field hockey is a popular sport in the Asian Games, which are held every few years. This is where a number of countries from the entire continent come together to compete. The most recent one was hosted by Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018.
Fun Fact: The popularity of the game in countries like India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia is all due to the British Army that helped spread it in the former British Empire.
11. 92 Goals in an Ice Hockey Game!
The highest record of 92 goals was nonetheless achieved by the Montreal Maroons. In a game against the Detroit Red Wings back in 1936, the team hit 92 goals, setting a sensational record in the history.
However, this was before NHL moved to online record-keeping. Hence, as per the digital data, the record for the highest number of shots in a game is held by the Tampa Bay Lightning who hit 88 goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets in an interesting encounter in 2020.
12. Bob Orr Is the Highest-Paid Player
Orr was the first ever player to have signed a million-dollar deal with the Boston Bruins. Even though the amount was set to be paid over a course of five years with other terms and conditions, it was still a big deal at the time as there weren’t many seven-figure deals in place. However, back in 1972, Bobby Hull also signed a million-dollar contract that was spread over a period of ten years.
Do you wish to acquire more knowledge about hockey but are short on time? Watch this 60-second video that brilliantly summarizes a number of amazing facts about this sport.
Even though some sources claim that the history of hockey goes back to the Ancient Egyptian era 4000 years ago, the origin of this game has largely remained a mystery. Nonetheless, hockey has majorly evolved over the years, and today, it’s one of the most-watched as well as played sports in the world. From interesting facts about its history to the different ways it’s played around the world, there’s a lot more to the game than what we know.
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!