Where Did Hockey Originate?

Ice hockey is generally played on an indoor rink.
Ice hockey is generally played on an indoor rink.


Hockey is a team sport with three variations in which two opposing teams can have 6 players each (11 players each if it's field or bandy hockey). Players use a wooden stick with a curved end or a long pole with a long slasher like blade at the end to move a ball or a puck around the playing area. At each end, the net is guarded by a goalie. The three versions of hockey are field, bandy, and ice hockey. Ice and bandy hockey are played on ice but field hockey is played on a grass or special turf. Bandy and ice hockey use sticks with longer slasher type blades to move the ball and puck respectively, and their players wear protective clothing and skates. Scores count when the balls or puck are hit by hockey sticks by opposing players past the goalie into the net.

Hockey Origins

In its modern form, hockey has evolved over the centuries from various early forms. A book called The Origin of Hockey written by Swedish sports historians Carl Giden and Patrick Houda, and Canadian Jean Patrice Martel gives a chronology of events of how hockey and especially ice hockey started. The chronology narrows on three countries Scotland, Ireland, and the US.

Ice Hockey Historical Chronology

Winter of 1607-08

The first form of ice hockey began in the winter of 1607-08 in Scotland. The earliest form of hockey played here was dubbed shinty and was played on ice. An account of this shinty version of ice hockey was written by David Calderwood, a Scottish historian and theologian. Then it was called chamiare or chamie, another word for shinty, in the Scottish National Dictionary.


In 1740, Irish minister Reverend John O’Rourke wrote passages on a newspaper. The passages alluded to a form of ice hockey being played atop the frozen River Shannon where a sheep roast was being hurled in early January. The game was then informally christened a hurling match and crowds watching it seemed to enjoy it.

1745 to 1809

In 1836, Scottish journalist and historian George Penny wrote an account of his father’s narration on how shinty was played between 1745 and 1809 on the streets or on ice by boys at times competitively.


In 1846 publisher Alexander Slidell Mackenzie published an anecdote narrated to him by Admiral Charles Stewart, on how in the late 1780s boys skimmed on skates on a glass surface in Philadelphia while hurling an object.

1783 to 1791

In 1849 a publication by William Alexander Duer covered years 1783 to 1791 in New York. It narrated how around Collect Pond Park and Broadway when it was covered with ice skaters filled both areas.

1796 to 1797

In 1797, Joseph Le Petit Jr, a London publisher, published a picture by Benedictus Antonio Van Assen that showed two boys on skates holding sticks with a puck on the icy ground. The setting was at Isleworth Ait an island on Thames River. The picture was believed to show a winter scene in December 1796.


The book On the Origin of Hockey references happenings in 1803 in Paisley in Scotland. Two teenage boys were playing an early version of it dubbed shinty on ice, and drowned after the ice caved in.

Canada 1872

Although Canada is most commonly associated with ice hockey and it being professionalized, the sport gained popularity in the country around 1872. That was when engineer James Creighton from Nova Scotia moved to Montreal and in 1875, organized ice hockey public exhibition began there.


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