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.

In response to the violence of the sport and vicious rivalries which had developed in England, The Hockey Association was formed (1875) and some rules were drawn out and implemented. The results were quite positive and more rules such as increasing an umpire’s authority were soon created to improve the quality and safety of the game. This led to the various subtypes and divisions of historic games, and the sport of hockey evolved as we know it today. Organizations dedicated to the adherence of rules and regulations began to form, and worldwide entities began focusing on the coordination of domestic and international hockey competition. During this time ice hockey also evolved as a derivative of field hockey as players adapted to the icy conditions of Europe, Canada and the northern United States.

Types of Hockey
  1. Field Hockey is played on natural grass, sand-based or water-based artificial turf, and the game is popular among both males and females around the world. Field hockey is played with a small, hard ball and players use sticks that are J-shaped and made of a composite of wood, fiber glass or carbon fiber with a curved hook at the playing end, a flat surface on the playing side and curved surface on the rear side. The first field hockey club was created in 1849 at Blackheath in south-east London.
  2. Ice Hockey, a Mark Rivkin favorite, is played on a large flat area of ice, using a three-inch-diameter puck, and two teams of skaters compete for the most goals. Ice hockey sticks are long L-shaped sticks made of wood, graphite, or composites with a blade at the bottom that can lie flat on the playing surface when the stick is held upright and can curve either way. It is believed that ice hockey-type games evolved in the Netherlands and Canada around the turn of the nineteenth century, but the modern game was organized by students in Montreal around 1875. The game is played all over North America, Europe and in many other countries around the world, and it’s the most popular sport in Canada, Finland, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  3. Inline Hockey, also known as roller hockey or street hockey, is a variation of the game and is very similar to ice hockey. Inline hockey teams consist of four skaters and one goalie, and the game is played on a dry rink divided into two halves, with one net at each end of the rink. For rink dimensions and an overview of the rules of the game, see IIHF Inline Rules. Some leagues and competitions do not follow the IIHF regulations, in particular USA Inline and Canada Inline.