Category Archives: Hockey History & Culture

Ice Hockey: Canada’s National Past Time

Think of the United States of old and you invariably come across baseball as the country’s historical national past time. For Canadians like Mark Rivkin growing up involved playing ice hockey after school on backyard ponds, community rinks and local arenas. Clearly the icy weather conditions play a huge role in the evolution of ice hockey in Canada, but it’s the culture of the game as well that make us who we are both on and off the ice. The game will be forever tied to our collective sense of what it means to be Canadian and it is certainly one of our most identifiable icons. Continue reading

The National Hockey Association

In this edition of the Mark Rivkin Hockey Review we wanted to take another look back at the rich history of our fine sport and learn a bit more about one of the first official professional ice hockey leagues. The National Hockey Association of Canada Limited was a pro hockey organization with teams in Ontario and Quebec, and the league is actually the predecessor of today’s National Hockey League. Continue reading

History of the Stanley Cup

The Original Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup

The Original Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup

Continuing on with the Rivkin Hockey Review series delving into the history of the sport we know and love, let’s take a look at the history of one of the world’s most coveted trophies: The Stanley Cup.

The origins of the Stanley Cup can be traced back to a simple thought muttered aloud by Lord Stanley of Preston, Governor General of Canada, during an Ottawa sports banquet in 1892:

“I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup, which would be held from year to year by the leading hockey club in Canada. There does not appear to be any outward sign of a championship at present, and considering the interest that hockey matches now elicit, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held annually by the winning club.” Continue reading

The Sport of Ice Hockey

As noted in Mark Rivkin’s recent post on the history of hockey, ball and stick sports date back to the world’s earliest civilizations. As the popularity of hockey spread throughout the civilized world though, northern settlements sought a way to enjoy the sport even during the winter months; thus the game moved from the field to the ice. The game of ice hockey most likely evolved from variations of field hockey played throughout the ancient world in Northern Europe and North America, and its official origins can be traced to a variety of civilizations, both modern and ancient. In fact, the rink, or the playing area for ice hockey was actually used in a game known as curling in Scotland during the 18th century. But the modern game as the world knows it today can be attributed to a man named James Creighton, who came to Canada from Nova Scotia in 1872, bringing with him sticks, ice skates and a new idea of an organized game which came about from his experience playing a free-wheeling, stick-ball game called ricket, shinny and sometimes hockey. Continue reading

Hockey’s Governing Bodies

Here’s a look at some of the most prevalent governing bodies involved in the sport of hockey.

  1. The Federation of International Hockey, or FIH, is the international governing body of outdoor and indoor field hockey. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland the FIH is responsible not only for field hockey’s major international tournaments like the World Cup, but also aims to encourage, promote, develop and control hockey at all levels throughout the world.
  2. The International Ice Hockey Federation, or IIHF is the worldwide governing body for ice hockey and in-line hockey. Responsible for the management of international ice hockey tournaments, the maintenance of the IIHF World Ranking, controlling the international rulebook and dictating officiating guidelines, it is based in Zurich, Switzerland, and consists of 72 members. Canada (Hockey Canada) and the United States (USA Hockey) are the only members who have their own rulebooks. The IIHF museum is located in Toronto, Ontario, and occupies over 3,500 square feet within the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  3. Although the International Ice Hockey Federation maintains worldwide authority, the organization has little control of hockey in North America, where the National Hockey League (NHL) is the highest hockey organization. Organized in 1917 in Montreal, the nation to which the name of the league originally referred to was Canada, but in 1924 it expanded into the United States. The NHL Board of Governors is the ruling and governing body of the NHL, and each team in the league is a member. The NHL Board of Governors aims to establish the policies of the National Hockey League, uphold its constitution and monitor any changes to the game in North America.
  4. The European Hockey Federation, or EHF, is the governing body of hockey in Europe, and the organization is based in Dublin, Ireland. Founded in 1969, it is the umbrella organization for all European national federations and they organize the Euro Hockey League. The EHF is one of five Continental Federations that are affiliated with the International Hockey Federation.
  5. The England Hockey Board, or EHB, is the national governing body for hockey in England and undertakes a number of roles including strategic direction of the sport, coordination of competition and international team management. The England Hockey Board was officially organized in 2003, now employs over 70 people and is supported by many dedicated volunteers at the club, county, regional and national level. The EHB is also a member of the Federation of International Hockey (FIH), and the European Hockey Federation (EHF).

A Brief History of Hockey

As is perfectly clear, Mark Rivkin Hockey intends to serve as a helpful resource for anyone wanting to know more about the sport. Let’s get started with a brief history of hockey and the origins of the game itself.

The pages of history suggest that games with competition involving curved sticks and a ball may have been played thousands of years before our time. Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and early Irish have left depictions of what today’s athlete can interpret as a game similar to that of hockey. In Inner Mongolia, China, locals have been playing a game similar to modern field hockey, known as beikou, for nearly a thousand years. But the modern game of hockey developed in England around 150 years ago. Continue reading