The Origin of Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is a sport played on an 85’ by 200” sheet of ice. The ice

is divided into three zones, a neutral zone and two attacking zones which

hold the goals. The game starts with six players on the ice: two

defenceman , left and right, two wings, left and right, a center, and a goalie.

There are three referees on the ice at all times. A normal game of ice

hockey consists of three periods each twenty minutes long.

The job of the referees is to call all infractions. There are many rules

in hockey to protect the players and the fans, as well as the fast-paced

image of the game. hockey is the only sport where it is acceptable to fight

and not be thrown out. Normally a fighting penalty ( a major ) is five

minutes long, a penalty such as hooking, holding, slashing, high sticking,

interference, boarding, cross checking, delay of game, too many men on the

ice and obstruction ( all minors in most cases ) result in a 2:00 advantage

called a powerplay for the opposing team. The team that is shorthanded

must look to defend their goal. The majority of goals are scored on a

powerplay.

Hockey originated in Canada, around 1885 at McGill University.

Teams from Ontario, Canada competed for bragging rights. These teams

would form the Amateur Hockey Association ( AHA ). To the team that

won, the Kingston Royals, Lord Stanley of Preston donated a cup.
Lord Stanley’s cup is is now one of the prizes in the professional sports

world.

The AHA would eventually become the National Hockey League

( NHL ) in 1927. The first NHL team to win the cup in the modern playoff

format which consists of four rounds of best of seven series were the

Ottawa Senators. They defeated the Boston Bruins in a brutal series which

saw one player expelled from the NHL for assaulting two referees, and

several players fined $350.00 dollars for what was called wild acts of

intimidation. Before the playoff system was put in place the team with the

cup would choose who they wanted to play against in challenge matches

which often involved non NHL teams.

The older players when the NHL started did not wear helmets, or

much padding, these players were very tough. You were considered a pansy

if you wore any type of helmet. Today all NHL players must wear helmets,

they are mandatory. The average height of an NHL player in 1927 was

5’6”, today NHL players are 6’ in average size. Today’s players are bigger,

stronger, faster and possibly more talented than their older counterparts.

The first big name players were Maurice “the rocket” Richard, Gordie

Howe, Bobby Orr and Vladislav Tretiak, today’s big name players include

the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Dominique Hasek and Eric

Lindros. Wayne Gretzky called the great one revolutionized hockey. He

came along and saved a dying sport. Gretzky’s speed, leadership,

perseverance, determination, heart and will to win are rivaled only by

Michael Jordan in basketball. Gretzky saved a dying franchise ( the

Edmonton oilers ), by winning four stanley cups. this feat is unmatched.

Gretzky is also the NHL’s career leader in goals, assists and points, he is

also NHL the all time leader in playoff points, a ten time scoring title

holder and nine time Hart trophy winner awarded to the NHL’s most

valuable player. He has also been a 14 time all-star and all-star MVP

twice.

Todays NHL seaons are 82 games long, the Detroit Redwings set the

NHL record for most wins in a season with 63 in 1994. The team that

wins recieves a two points, a tie is worth one point and a loss is worth

no points. The Redwings beat the Washington Capitals in the most recent

Stanley cup playoffs. they one in a four nothing ( 4-0) sweep.