How it all began

A brief history of the fastest and most exciting of all pugilistic sports in the world.

It’s best not to think about it too much. The recognisable game of ice hockey however is easier to pinpoint. The stipulation of a puck and first set of rules were written by some university clever clogs from Montreal Canada in the 1870s

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First Game

The first recorded indoor game was on the 3rd of March 1875 and was reported in the Montreal Gazette. Rather amusingly, the Gazette’s report inadvertently highlighted how dangerous it was to be a spectator that night:

  • Hockey is usually played with a ball, but last night, in order that no accident should happen, a flat block of wood was used, so that it should slide along the ice without rising, and thus going among the spectators to their discomfort

Completely safe! They forgot to mention the punch-up afterwards.

The NHL’s Stanley Cup is the oldest championship trophy awarded every year to the playoff winners, unless there’s some bizarre incident to prevent it like a Spanish Flu epidemic.

Champions Hockey League – as we know it now – was formed from an alliance of six European leagues and the IIHF – a sort of hockey glasnost. This amalgamation gave Europe some bargaining power and the ability to spread their wings a little. The simple objectives were to forge relationships with its founding members and compete with the NHL and KHL on the world stage.

In 2008, the IIHF celebrated its centenary year, and as part of the celebration, featured their top 100 stories. Now, it does sound like a bit of an IIHF trumpet blowing ego trip is about to happen, but hold your horses. This media brainwave was a fantastic idea for anyone interested in the history of the sport, and if you’re a fan, you will be. There are some incredibly inspiring ice hockey stories that deserve to be remembered, and they’re free to read on the IIHF website.

"Great Britain wins gold medal" was the headline in February 1936 after the Olympic games in Germany. Hitler was in vogue, war was on the horizon, and the big story was about an Olympic monumental cock-up. Little old Britain beat the favourites Canada – how could that happen? The irony in this story is that Canada complained about the British team fielding illegal players prior to the games. Yep, you’ve got it, those players were instrumental in the win. However, the story didn’t end there. Due to some officiating kerfuffle over the preliminary rounds, Canada found themselves up the losing creek without a paddle.

Whilst nothing can replace the exhilaration of a live game, television channels are airing a lot more live games. The mainstream coverage of ice hockey in Central Europe is lagging a little behind other less dynamic sports like golf, which is a sort of solo hockey played peacefully on neatly cut grass with a pipe and slippers appeal. However, the recent Ice Hockey World Championship was streamed live, and televised all over Europe. All in all, the future for ice hockey fans in Europe is very bright indeed.

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Betting on Hockey?

The EIHL – Elite Ice Hockey League – in the UK has just signed a three-year deal with an online gambling platform provider as a title sponsor. Interestingly, part of the agreement between the two requires a percentage – it could be tiny – of all bets placed to be fed back to ice hockey, which is better than a kick up the backside.

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Top EHL Teams

Every year, the EHL – European Hockey league – brings together 24 of the best field hockey teams from Eurasia. However, it would seem that the truly inspirational stories are to be found at the thin end of the wedge. Holcombe HC was a last-minute entrant to the 2017/18 competition because of Surbiton’s decision to pull out.


The league has 12 British teams that have a sizeable Canadian contingent spread amongst them. A wholesome total of 16 nationalities are currently represented throughout the league teams. Whilst it’s great that ice hockey is doing its bit for cultural harmony in the world, the real benefit is the action on the ice.