Evolution of Goaltending in the NHL
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Evolution of Goaltending in the NHL
Today, the term hockey describes differing games in various parts of the world, but specifically in North America it refers
to as ice hockey. In its origin, hockey is one of the oldest games played. The earliest mention of the sport of hockey dates back
to 1572, when it was on a list of prohibited games. Hockey's birthplace is believed to be in Asia and authorities credit Persia
with having devised
it about 2000 BC. People who perfected the game of polo must have known "hockey on the ground" before "hockey on
Certainly though ice hockey originated in Canada. Two theories have surfaced as to who really came up with ice hockey.
The first credits English soldiers serving with the Royal Canadian Rifles at Kingston, Ontario. They improvised the game at the
rear of their barracks at Tete du Pont, on the iced up harbor on Christmas day in 1855. After sweeping the snow from the ice,
the soldiers tied
"runners" to their boats and, with borrowed hockey sticks, played a match with an old lacrosse ball.
The other theory gives not soldier's credit, but students credit. It tells that G.F. Robertson, of Mcgill University in Montreal first
thought of ice hockey. On a visit to Britain in 1879, he had watched a field hockey match and had greatly been intrigued by it.
Himself being a skilled ice skater, he wondered if it was at all
possible to combine the two sports into one, thereby creating something new and exciting. On his return home, he discussed
the idea with a friend and together they worked out a synthesis of hockey and skating, adding for good measure a few football
rules. Enjoyment of the game proved so great that from an initial experimental venture, it soon graduated at their college to an
invigorating sport of
tremendous speed, leading eventually to the formation of the McGill University Hockey Club. The first theory is the one
believed to be the right one but no one knows for certain the originator of the game. We do know that the term "Ice Hockey"
was the earliest recorded in a game that took place in Montreal. As the Canadians love and knowledge for the game of ice
hockey grew, so did the sport. After various problems between teams playing with different rules, McGill University stepped in
to set up the rules, thus making ice hockey a sport.
The most popular ice hockey league in the world is the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL began November 22nd
1917, and less than a month later on December 19th the first games were held. Four teams took part in the first season: the
Montreal Canadians, the Wanderers, the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Arenas. Then two more teams were added making
the NHL a six team league; the Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. In the 60's the NHL decided to expand the
organization which was limited to six teams and added another six teams making 12 in all and opening doors for more players
to became part of the great league. As the NHL grew into a prosperous league, the game changed from year to year because
of expansion and rule changes so players had to adapt, especially the goalies!
The game of ice hockey is played with 12 players on a 200 feet by 80 feet battlefield of ice. Each team has five players and a
goalie; there are three forwards and two defensemen who form the setup of players of that play the game of hockey. And then
there are goaltenders, the most important position on the ice. Suited up in
their equipment, they are the most essential part of an ice hockey team. But the position of goaltending has really evolved from
when hockey was originated or even since the formation of the NHL. Many different parts of the position have evolved over
the years; the equipment used, the physical and mental abilities of the
goaltenders, the style of play, and the rule changes of the NHL which have forced goalies to change the way they play their
In the early years, goalies were not very well protected. Having to stop frozen discs of rubber was a very difficult job but
somehow goalies where able to manage with the limited equipment that they had. There are five basic parts to goalie equipment
that have been around as early as the NHL are: leg pads, chest-arm
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Ice hockey equipment, Protective gear, Goaltender, Ice hockey, Blocker, Gerry Cheevers, Ice hockey goaltending equipment, Goalkeeper, Jacques Plante
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